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Mar 8

Short-Term Benefits, Long-Term Consequences

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Untitled-TrueColor-63Choices, like yours and mine, often make sense at the moment of decision, but too often impulsive decisions come with unexpected consequences. This is part-6 of the “10 for 25” series on important lessons I’ve learned at TreeHouse.

The Moment Of Decision

I love softball. Several years ago while playing in a softball tournament I was faced with a decision that has affected thousands of people since.

Let me explain.

Late in the game with no one on-base I hit a single into left-center field. As a baserunner I was important because we needed me to score to stay in the tournament. The next batter hit another single. Running hard I was determined to reach third base. The outfielder fielded the ball cleanly and the throw was a good one.

I was faced with a slide or be out decision. Normally it would have been an easy decision as I was wearing softball pants, but they were pulled up because of the very hot August temperatures. The slide would hurt. I slid into third safely, but the right side of my calf had a large abrasion.

Fortunately, the next batter hit a fly ball to the outfield allowing me to score without a play at home plate. But, by then, blood streamed down my leg.

With exposed blood, I could not continue playing, but there was not enough gauze in the first aid box. I could not find anyone with enough of anything – paper towels, napkins, tissues – to sufficiently stop the blood flow.

So, what did I do? I grabbed a handful of the infield clay, dirt and sand and rubbed it into the wound. Caked it. In less than a minute – while my teammates stalled – the wound stopped bleeding and the abrasion looked insignificance but dirty.

We completed the game, won, won the next and won the tournament.

That night I returned home, washed my wound out as much as the shooting-pain allowed and happily celebrated our victory.

Unfortunately – and here is where the story takes on epic significance – the wound was not clean enough. My abrasion became a six-week puss-oozing mess. My short-term game-continuing decision had a long-term consequence.

A Lesson Learned and Shared

One night while looking down at my yellow-puss covered wound I explained to a group of assembled TreeHouse students my softball story. I explained that I was learning a lesson about how often people make decisions with short-term benefits in mind while ignorant of the long-term consequences.

That was fifteen years ago. I still have a three-inch by four-inch scar.

Short-Term Benefits, Long-Term Consequences

How many times have I sat with someone who enjoyed the “short-term benefits” of a decision that left them with long-term consequences? Thousands.

Caught lying to mom about a party reduced mom’s trust for months.

Skipping school for a couple hours, led to weeks of being grounded.

Shoplifting prevented many teens from walking into their favorite store where they were caught shoplifting.

Teens looking for relief from their pain self-injured leaving wounds and more pain, and then scars and regrets.

An impulsive kiss led to a breakup with a hurt girlfriend determined he was a cheater.

Casual-sex has left hundreds of virgins crying about their regrets.

Unprotected sex has left hundreds of unplanned parents crying about their decisions.

#mysilentscream: Choose wisely! Or, you might have short-term benefits and long-term consequences.

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