The Rule of Collision

The Rule of Collision is a philosophy based on the idea that the world is full of individuals and forces (natural and manmade) travelling on their own paths and colliding with each other at various intervals. It is a realist philosophy that refutes the Law of Attraction, a popular philosophical concept which posits supernatural forces connecting human thoughts with the external world.

The Law of Attraction
Many self-help gurus have made an excellent living touting the so-called law of attraction. This “law” stipulates that by focusing thoughts towards certain goals or objects, the individual will attract those goals or objects towards him or herself via supernatural forces that connect thoughts with the external world. For example, under the law, by thinking about success, and fixating on thoughts that will lead towards success, the individual will actually attract success towards him or herself. By thinking about bad thoughts and fixating on failure, the individual will inevitably fail.

Any realist is aware that such a law does not exist. There are plenty of people who may focus on success, make a plan, stick to it, and still fail in life. There are also people who seemingly just come in to luck, despite the fact that he or she may be preoccupied with negative thoughts. Some are just born in the wrong place at the wrong time, and really have no ability to alter their living situation, despite their best efforts. And, some have their plans cut short by unexpected bad luck, like getting a disease or in to a bad accident.

There is no immutable law that connects thoughts with reality. Simply thinking of something cannot bring it towards someone. However, that does not mean that people are not capable of guiding their lives in the direction that they choose.

The Rule of Collisions
All people are individual actors, navigating their way through their lives like cars through streets. A driver must navigate his or her car around other cars, random objects, and various things that may come in to his or her path. Throw in enough traffic (and some wild driving), and the driver will inevitably collide with other objects. These collisions will alter the car’s course, and force the driver to re-chart his or her path. The driver may have a destination in mind, but that destination will change as the collisions continue to occur. Some of these intervening objects may slow the car’s course, but some will speed things up, getting the driver ever closer to his or her destination.

The roadways of life are full of other people who are navigating along the same pathways. There are also non-human actors, or forces, that will affect one’s journey. Each person or force represents another potential collision that will alter one’s path. These forces are beyond the individual’s control, but every individual will inevitably collide with them as he or she goes through life. The Rule of Collisions is that the individual can only steer him or herself in the direction of positive forces, and away from negative ones, but that one’s destiny is shaped by the paths of the forces that he or she collides with as much as it is shaped by the paths that he or she chooses. One can only hope that his or her collisions will be beneficial, and that he or she will continue to get to desired destinations.

Someone who gets a cold only gets sick because the path of the virus collided with that individual. The path of the virus collided with the individual because the path of someone already infected with the virus collided with that individual. The person already infected with the virus got sick because he had his own collision with another sick person. If it were not for this preceding series of collisions, the person with the cold would not have gotten sick. The only collision that he or she was in control of was his or her collision with the last sick person, but he or she still got sick because of all of the preceding collisions.

One can do all that he or she can to avoid colliding with sick people, but in the end, every person must come to grips with the fact that in the ordinary course of life, there will inevitably be collisions that change our lives for better or worse. An entrepreneur who creates a new product can only succeed because another individual collides with the product and decides to purchase it. A runner who wins a race will only win because his abilities were greater than those of the athletes that he raced against. No matter what happens in life, we are affected by people and forces around us as much as we are by our own thoughts, decisions and actions.

Karma
Karma is the concept that doing kind acts and treating others well will inevitably lead to kindness and good luck in return (and that doing bad acts will lead to bad luck). Of course, there is no magical balance sheet that exists which will ensure good luck to those who do well to others. In fact, there is no guaranty that someone who performs acts that are altruistic will have good luck at all. But, doing good acts will at least make more positive collisions possible than there would be if no good acts were done at all.

Someone who has received a favor will likely remember that favor for a long time. To a person who is raising money for a cause, a simple donation of $10 or $20 will make a serious impact, especially if only a few have donated. An act like this should not be done with an expectation of the good act that will be returned. But, enough good acts in the aggregate will inevitably lead to return favors for the altruist.

A good act will represent a positive collision on the path for the person that has been helped, which will send him or her in a more positive direction in life. This collision will lead to further collisions that may never have been possible without the good act that had originally been done. Once on a positive path, this person will likely have more positive collisions, and eventually, he or she may collide with the person that helped him or her in the past, and be able to return the favor.

The Rule and life decisions
Many self-help books instruct individuals to write down their goals, starting with a vision of where they would like to be in 10 years, and then constructing the steps that will get them there. As things change in the individual’s life, he or she can reassess his or her goals, and write down new action plans. Techniques like this will likely be beneficial to many, as focusing on the direction of a positive life path will often lead towards desired destinations.

However, there is nothing necessarily wrong with a “go with the flow” attitude in life. Every person is able to define his or her own path, and for many, a traditional definition of success may not be what he or she desires. For some, the journey is more important than the destination, and it is the uncertainty over what collisions may occur next that will lead to joy in life. Sometimes, individuals may achieve greater success by taking paths that would not involve traditional routes towards societal definitions of success.

Many business people find success in non-traditional paths. Take the example of J, a person who has achieved great financial success. J had a rough childhood and very little formal education. He was only able to get a job unlocking doors for a living (for people who had locked themselves out of their homes and cars). After a couple years of working for someone else, he bought his own tool kit and put ads in the Yellow Pages. He got responses to his ads, built a steady business, and was able to support himself from door unlocking. He then trained a friend to unlock doors, and hired him to do the work that he once did. He replicated the process in another city, and began managing several locksmiths in multiple cities. He now makes an excellent living from his business. He didn’t start out thinking that he would have a successful business in 15 cities. He simply followed the path that he was on and made decisions that would lead to greater success.

The Rule and the job market
Spending too much time self-analyzing and trying to discover goals can in fact impede an individual’s progress in life. A lot of people may have a dream job or school in mind, and will continually keep working towards that goal, despite the fact that there is no reality of that goal being achieved along their current path.
The job application process is an interesting example of the Rule of Collision in motion. For every job listing, there are the people doing the hiring, the person who gets hired, and several candidates who will not get hired. In today’s job market, a hundred applicants may apply for a position, but only one’s path will collide with the path of the hirer. The winning applicant will likely have a stellar educational background, lots of relevant experience, and a winning personality. All of the other applicants, through no fault of their own, will likely have a deficiency in one of these aspects that the winning candidate does not. The winning candidate chose the path and experienced the collisions that made him or her right for the job.

Sometimes, an alternate path may be required to get an individual to the goals which he or she desires. In a job market with more employers than applicants, any individual will eventually find a job if enough applications are sent out. But, if there is a dearth of employers and an abundance of applicants, many applicants will never achieve their desired positions.

In this sort of environment, many will find success by forcing the collisions that would otherwise not be likely to occur. Rather than sitting at home and applying for jobs that will likely have more qualified applicants applying as well, many will find success by seeking out the person that he or she wants to be in 10 or 20 years directly, and arranging a meeting with that person. Most successful individuals love to talk about how they became successful. Rather than asking for a job upfront, asking for advice on getting a job may be a better strategy. After the meeting, the prospect should stay in touch with the mentor, and volunteer his or her services to assist that person while he or she is looking for a job. The mentor may not immediately have something for the prospect to do, but at some point down the road, if work needs to be done, the mentor will remember the offer. If a prospect forces enough collisions with enough successful people, he or she will eventually find employment.

The Rule and failure
Every individual will inevitably fail at something in his or her life. There is no way to avoid all of the negative forces in the world. There will be people who seek to hurt others for their own personal gain. There will be times when there are no possible positive collisions. And, there will be times when a negative collision occurs which ruins an opportunity. In these situations, the only option is to remain optimistic and to keep trying.

As hard as it is to stay optimistic in these situations, people must always realize that life could be worse. When out of a job and low on cash, there will likely be a family member or friend who can provide a place to stay and some food or cash. For those who have no family or friends to help, there will likely be a government entity or charity that will help. And, even in the worst possible scenario, there is always the option to beg on the street and live off of the kindness of others. Obviously no one wants to be in this situation, but, it is a real situation that many are faced with in their lives.

Whenever things are bad, there is always the possibility that life could be worse. And even if they were worse, there is always a path to success. The person living on the street had a series of collisions in his or her life that led him or her to this unfortunate place. It is important to give to the homeless, even on rare occasions, as anyone could end up in such a situation. Without the charity of others, there would be no hope for the least lucky people in life.

Those who are fortunate enough to have a job or a successful company must always be prepared for the fact that it could all disappear one day.  It is important to be thankful for the good things and life, and to continue to try to progress in life, as there is no telling what collision is around the corner. At the same time, there is no need to settle in life. Everyone lives only one life, and for those who are not happy with their situation, there are always more options out there. Sometimes, the next collision around the corner will be the one that leads to a better path.

The Rule and fate
For many, the thought of a life with random collisions is scary. It would be nice to have predictability in life, to know that just by focusing on something; fate will attract it. However, the reality is that there is no way to predict the future, and life will bring whatever it does.

That being said, when looking back at the past, there is one series of interconnected collisions that make up the lives of all individuals. This interconnectivity is set in stone, and cannot be undone once time has passed. Looking forward; there will also be one interconnected infrastructure that is formed based on the collisions that people will encounter in the future. The collision of paths in the future will be guided by the collisions that have already occurred, together with new collisions that will arise.

To a certain extent, the future is already set in stone; it is just unclear how the pathways will connect. All that is known are the connections that have already been formed via prior collisions. These connections can be used to guide the direction that the individual will head in.

Conclusion
The future may be a scary thing, and there may be good or bad luck in store for each individual. One can only take control over that which he or she has power, which is the direction that he or she is heading. One can focus his or her thoughts and decisions on a certain goal, but it will inevitably be other individuals and other forces that one cannot control that will affect the actual destination. All one can do is remain optimistic, keep moving forward and keep focusing on that which he or she desires. This will not guaranty that one will reach his or her destination, but it will guaranty that he or she enjoys the ride.