CASA Blogs

The Compounding Effect of Unresolved Problems

We all are familiar with the compounding effect of interest rates. The longer the term of a loan is, the more money you pay back to the lender. Even worse, if the term is twice longer, you don’t pay twice in interest, you pay more than twice. In other words, it is not a linear problem. And if you skip a payment, the interest keeps compounding even more. The same can be said of in everyday life problems. Let’s create a scale to measure the level of concern caused by a problem. Say zero is no concern, no problem at all; and 1000 is the worst concern, the worst problem you may ever have. Imagine now you have a small problem, for instance, a level-10 problem. Since it is a small problem, you don’t worry much and don’t try to resolve it immediately. You keep going on with your life as if you had no problems. But remember, the concern is still there, and once in a while your mind wanders, goes back to the problem, and it reminds you of the concern, anxiety, or as a minimum, it distracts you for a moment. Since your mind is not one hundred percent present in the things you need to do every day, you will make mistakes. Some mistakes will be small, some will be big. These will cause a new problem, say a problem of level-5, and now you have two problems, instead of one. When you have two problems that are concerning you the compounding effect starts working. You don’t have a concern level-15 (10+5), but a concern level-10 times level-5, that is a concern level-50. What happens is that your mind has now three things to worry about, the two problems and the present activities of life. Even worse, very often, the two problems are related to each other, or are intertwined by a cause-effect relationship. Your mind keeps distracted more frequently than before, and is likely to fall into the next problem more easily. In no time, without you realizing , you will have three, four, five problems, and the compounding effect will accumulate so rapidly that very easily you can reach the highest level of concern (level-1000) and give up mentally. Your brain shuts off, your energy disappears, you anxiety elevates, depression sinks in, and you fall into a zombie state.

How do you get out of the compounding effect of problems? The same way you get our of debt from a bank: pay as quick as possible. That is, tackle your first problem as if it were a big problem, act quickly, and resolve it as soon as possible. Don’t let simple and resolvable problems take over your life. Make a “to resolve” list, and keep it short with no more than two items, two problems at most. If you let it grow to three, four, or more problems, you will fault and begin the bankruptcy of your life.

Good luck resolving!

C.A. Soto Aguirre©

The Four Quadrants of Legality and Ethics

America is known to be among the most litigious countries in the world. Hence, adoration to laws is high, and many times considered to be at higher levels than ethics. Laws are written by human beings, commonly by the legislative branch of a government, while ethics is the moral principle or code that guides any person in his or her daily acts. Those who write the laws are generally representatives of the majority, and are not always looking after the minority’s issues and concerns.
Ethics is in higher grounds, usually coming from philosophy or religion, applies to all of us, and is blind to race, religion, gender, and any kind of categorization of human beings.

There is a picture of four quadrants shown below that should help understand my points.

In the top left quadrant we have acts that are legal and ethical. We don’t argue with these types of acts. For instance, paying back a debt is a legal and ethical act.
In the lower right quadrant we have acts that are illegal and unethical. We don’t argue with these types of acts either. For instance, not paying back a debt is an illegal and unethical act.

The other two quadrants are the interesting ones.

In the lower left quadrant we have acts that are illegal and ethical. Here resides one of the confusions for some people. When they read illegal, they don’t keep reading. They say “if it is illegal, just don’t do it, no matter what.” When Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat in the bus colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled, she acted illegally but ethically. When Mahatma Gandhi freed India from the British he acted illegally but ethically. When Miep Gies hid Anne Frank, the Jewish girl, from the Nazis, she acted illegally but ethically.

Finally, in the top left quadrant we have acts that are legal and unethical. These acts are another source of confusion. Again, as soon as people read “legal” they don’t keep reading. They say “if it is legal, I can do it, no matter what.” However, history is full of unethical laws. It was legal to have slaves; to kill Jews; to have separate water fountains for black people; to jail Nelson Mandela for opposing apartheid laws in South Africa. It is legal to deport an illegal resident mother in America and separate her from her American 2-year-old girl; All these are unethical legal acts.

I hope this short writing helps you think a bit more before condemning any person because he or she is breaking the law. Ethics comes first, laws second. If not, we become herds of people following laws written by the majority that disregards the human quality of each minority sector of our society. All religions have one common principle: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and lawmakers should use this principle when writing new laws and repealing the old ones. If done right, we will all be acting in the top left quadrant.



C. A. Soto Aguirre© 2017