The Snowball Effect
This was a great story that I couldn't resist sharing. Adapted from "Principles of Bach Flower Remedies" by Stefan Ball. Stefan Ball is the Director of the Bach Centre.
Jones loved his work. He made furniture by hand and used the best-quality materials because he enjoyed the feel of the timber and the weight of well-made, precision tools. He worked for himself, did not answer to anyone, and made a comfortable living despite the fact that he only earned a humble income. He had found his niche, and he was at peace with the world.
Jones’s brother-in-law, Darren, owns a factory which produces cheap, mass-produced sets of dining-room furniture. He too enjoyed his works; for him satisfaction comes from the hustle and bustle of making deals and running a successful business. He is proud of the fact that his furniture gives value for money. The people who buy it could never afford the chairs and tables Jones made.
One day, Darren came for a visit. At dinner he noticed and liked the dining-room table which was designed and made by Jones. Next day he offered Jones a very large salary – more than double of what Jones was currently earning – to join his firm and take personal charge of the design department.
Jones thought it over. He didn’t want to do it, but he had always found it hard to say no to Darren. It was a lot of money. Reluctantly, Jones accepted the offer.
At first, Jones threw himself into the new job, determined to make a success of it. In the back of his mind was the thought that he would be able to keep making his own furniture in his spare time. But the hours at the factory were long, as was the rush-hour commute to and from work. At the hour he got home, the children were already in bed, and he barely had enough energy to slump in front of the television. The weekends were his only chance to spend time with the family. His tools gather dust in the workroom.
Up to now, he had got on well with Darren. Now that he worked for Darren, the relationship changed. Darren was very pleasant, but he expected Jones to do as he was told and could be fairly abrasive. Jones’ first few designs did not quite work and looked even worse when they had been knocked together out of the fibreboard and cheap pine that the company uses for raw materials.
After a month or so, Jones began to suffer from headaches. He started taking out his frustrations on his wife and family. He hated himself for doing it, but he was permanently on a short fuse and lost his temper before he had time to remember to keep it. A couple of times, he smacked the children – something he never did in the past. Tired all the time, he was beginning to lose confidence in himself as a father and a designer.
Eventually Jones’s health broke down into a series of colds and attacks of flu. He felt sorry for himself – it was everyone else’s fault. He began to hate Darren for messing up his life, and he planned how he could take revenge.
Moral of the story:
~ How easy it is to be unbalanced by things that happen to us in life.
If Jones had taken Centaury (the Bach Flower Remedy to help those who have difficulties saying ‘no’ to others) when the job offer was made to him, the rest of the story would have changed.
On the other hand, if Jones only turned to Bach Flower Remedies when the problems started to build up, he would have forgotten all about the fact that the real cause was his failure to resist someone else’s wishes. Instead Jones will be suffering from a collection of apparently unrelated mental states: guilt for neglecting his children or for not doing a good job; frustration; tiredness; a lack of confidence in his ability to do the job well. After a time, as we have seen, these feelings may be covered up – in our example of self-pity and hatred.
This is the snowball effect. Untreated imbalances tend to build up layers of negative emotion. Once the snowball builds, we lose sight of our path in life and of the original problem. There seem to be so many difficulties that we may be unsure where to begin.
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