How To Create Real Change In Life: Address Root Cause vs. Effects

One of the key differences between my philosophy of personal development and many self-help coaches is my emphasis on finding and resolving the root cause vs. just dealing with effects. Many self-help materials and teachings out there today only address effects. However, I believe very strongly in addressing root causes to bring about the largest and most sustainable change in the long run. Similarly, this philosophy underlies my content, coaching, and training materials.



那么,如何解决这个长期修复呢?如果您回答”By removing the weed from the root,” you are totally right!

Root of the weed

The same principle applies to our life. For everything we face today, there is a root cause behind it.Understanding the root cause is central toward resolving our issues。词根被删除后,将相应地解决效果。



  • Lowself-confidencetoday (Effect) : Faced a series of setbacks in the past (Cause)
  • 今天的收入低(效果):驱除金钱的心态(原因)
  • Emotional eating(效果):将食物视为舒适出口(原因)
  • Procrastinating在一定任务(效果)上:缺乏对任务的渴望(原因)
  • 空虚的感觉(效果):自年轻(原因)以来家庭缺乏爱情
  • Always late for appointments(效果):计划(原因)过于理想主义

However, many people try to work on their problems by addressing the effects. For example, people who try toincrease self-confidenceby creating confidence through forced behaviors and self-talk, without first understanding why they lack confidence. People who try to increase their wealth throughget-rich-quick schemes和想法,而不是理解为什么它们处于财富水平。当他们的拖延症时,使用纪律来应对拖延的人是由于其他事情。

Many self-help materials are centered on fixing effects too. Want to be confident? Look at yourself in the mirror and say that you are the best in the world! Want to be motivated about a task? Tell yourself that you love doing it and it’s good for you! Want to overcome procrastination? Just do it!

It’s understandable why people are inclined to deal with effects. Effects are what’s most immediately observable, so it’s easy to act on them. Upon doing so, you see an instantaneous change — an impression that you have progressed in your goals. On the other hand, trying to uncover root causes can be tedious, complicated, and at times, scary — to the extent where peoplerun away当他们意识到下面的问题时。有些人甚至可能不知道如何揭示其根本原因。

When you keep working on your problems by working on the effects,您可能会得到一些结果,但它们有限。Just like clearing weed using a mower, more weed will continue to grow since the roots are still there.

Meaning, if you have low self-confidence, you can make yourself feel good for a period of time by using NLP techniques like positive self-talk. However, these are just external actions that sustain a temporary state of confidence as I’ve shared in my article如何增加自信心。Efficacious as they give an instant boost, but not sustainable. Once you stop imposing the external actions, your low-confidence will start seeping through.

If you are a poor person who strikes lottery and gets $1 million dollars, you may be rich for a period of time. However, if you don’t have the consciousness of a rich person with good financial habits and common sense, you won’t be able to maintain that wealth for long. Once you finish spending the money, you’ll be back to your previous state of worth. This has happened tomany past lottery winners

If you are a chronic procrastinator, you’ve probably experienced for yourself that discipline helps curb the procrastination — only for that moment. No sooner do you stop enforcing your discipline does the procrastination bug start taking over you. The feeling of inertia is like a plague that just keeps coming. (I’ve talked about procrastination, its root causes and how to address them at length in myHow To Overcome Procrastination series。)

There is always a reason why things happen— more so than you may realize. It can be recurring life issues like why you keep attracting the wrong relationship partners, why you always seem to have irresponsible and incompetent people as colleagues, or why you’re low in self-confidence, to subtler things like why you’re always late, why you emotional eat, why you lack motivation, or why you have certain character traits like不耐烦。个人成长旅程的一部分是要意识到生活中一切事物的相互联系,从过去到周围的事物,再到自己。

Example: Low Self-Confidence



When we first started, she had the impression that her low confidence was just something ingrained in her. However, as I mentioned earlier in the article, everything in life is an effect of something else. There is a reason behind everything. If you understand what’s the root cause, you can address the effect.

因此,我们开始钻探到原因。我们研究了为什么她开始这种感觉时感到自信,以及导致这一过程的事情。我们发现她的低信心可以追溯到她小时候发生的事件。基本上,她的考试表现不佳,导致老师歧视。随后,她被降级到另一堂课,因为她的成绩不满意。这一事件对她的自我价值造成了巨大的打击,尤其是在新加坡,这是一个痴迷年级的社会 - 这使她得出结论。she was not good enoughbecause she did not perform. Based on this one conclusion, it went on to create even more incidences where she felt that she was indeed not good enough, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

With this realization, we then analyzed what happened in the situation to result in that conclusion. No sooner did we do that did it become clear that her conclusion was flawed. Firstly, the exam was just an assessment of her ability to answer a set of questions at that moment in time. It did not represent her full capabilities and abilities, and should not be used as a gauge of her real worth. Secondly and most importantly, one’s self-worth is infinite and whole. There should be no prerequisite — such as attaining a certain grade, wealth, property, or possession — to be at a level of worth. The only reason why many people think this way is because society has taught us to associate one’s worth with these things. But this isn’t true. I’ve talked about this at length in如何增加自信心

With this flawed belief rectified, we were able to work on the other steps to increase her self-confidence. She since went on to pursueher ideal careerand her relationship with her husband, and it has been a very exciting journey. :)

How to Identify The Root Cause

So finding the root cause is important. How exactly do you uncover it then?

Before you try to do this, realize that it’s not just one effect and one cause. It’s many effects, many causes, and one root cause (or a few, depending on the situation).


It’s: Effect → Cause #6 → Cause #5 → Cause #4 → Cause #3 → Cause #2 → Root Cause.

Whether something is a cause or an effect is relative. For example, a cause of an effect is a cause, but this very cause can be the effect of a preceding cause. Using the flowchart above, Cause #4 is the cause of Cause #5. However, Cause #4 is the effect of Cause #3.



It’s very common to conclude a particular cause as the root cause, especially if you’re not clear on what makes up the entire spectrum of cause and effect. Sometimes you may simply run into a dead end because you can’t think of any preceding cause. The best thing you should do is to dig as much as you can (usingmy brain dumping exercise) and identify the most fundamental cause. Then, act on it. Just doing this can help you create huge change. Over time, as you become more aware, the other causes (if any) will become more obvious to you.

Here are some helpful ways to find causes / root causes:

  • Recognize the root cause is internal.根本原因不是外部的。这总是关于我们的事情 - 无论是我们的观点,信念,个性,选择,行为,甚至是我们的过去。答案不在外面。答案在你里面。您走的深度越深,您就越靠近根源。
  • 确定您面临的问题的共同点。Identify situations when this problem tends to surface. Then, put them side by side and analyze them. Look for the common denominator in these situations. For example, you may discover that you are always getting into bad relationships because你感到孤独。While this may not be the root cause (e.g. loneliness can be caused by other things such as lack of self-love), it’s a possible link to the root cause.
  • 继续问为什么。Never assume that something is the final root cause. Keep questioning why and dig into it. You’ll know something is a root when it gives you an aha and makes you see the situation in a different light.
  • Challenge your beliefs。通常我们认为是正常的很可能不是一个norm. For example, we may think that it’s normal to feel low self-confidence, but is it true? We may think that it’s normal生气and feel ticked, but is it true? Challenge what you write and look for contrasting examples, alternative ways of looking at something. This may help you break to the next level.
  • 提高您的意识。Just growing and raising your consciousness will automatically make you more aware. You will start to see the link between cause and effect, and look deeper beneath the surface.

Of course, it may be a little mind boggling to dig into the reason behindeverything,所以我建议您从您目前面临的问题开始。您的目标面临哪些障碍?什么是负面模式或bad habits还是您想解决的问题?选择一个,然后挖掘它。找出根本原因。一旦这样做,就可以更改效果,而不是一次又一次面对相同的问题。

当你专注于寻找问题的根源,你就会gain higher self-awareness and self-mastery. You’ll begin to see the cause-and-effect link in many situations. And you’ll begin to create big changes in your life, rather than being stuck in patterns and effects. :)

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