How does karma impact an individual? 10 real-life examples

Ever wondered how the saying, “what goes around comes around” applies in your life?

Well, this is more than just an adage. It’s an idea that is very much related to the concept of Karma.

It may sound unfamiliar to some, but the concept is something we all live by.

Karma means “action” in Sanskrit, which refers to a cycle of cause and effect with our habitual patterns of thought and action.

Hence, karma can be both “good karma” and “bad karma.”

Here’s what I mean:

People who are generally positive in thought and action enjoy greater personal happiness, experiences, and success than those who aren’t.

Whether you believe in it or not, karma affects us every day. The following 10 real-life examples illustrate just that:

1) Man’s best friend

Sam’s been with a boutique accounting firm for over 10 years.

For the first 2 years, he was happy; but the remaining 8 were not as rosy. He knew it was a job that paid the house bills, and he also knew he’d been dragging himself to work every single day.

This particular week was hell at work. He’s been pushing 12 hours a day to complete all the reports for the shareholder’s meeting the following Monday.

Come Monday, and he had woken up to the wet kisses of his dog, Panda. When he looked at his clock, it was already 9 in the morning!

His alarm went off and he snoozed it enough times that he ended up sleeping past his alarm at 7:30 am.

He forced himself to get out of bed when his alarm goes off again, grumbling as he shuffles into the kitchen for breakfast. The clock reads 9:07 AM — not good!

Sam rushed his way to drink the instant coffee he had microwaved while fixing the reports he had left on the kitchen counter the night before.

But just then, Panda runs into the kitchen and jumps on Sam. That jump caused all the pieces of paper to fall onto the floor in disarray, and the coffee to spill onto his shirt.

“Panda! What the heck, boy? Look at this mess!” Sam says while Panda licks his face. “You’re in big trouble.”

Enraged, Sam suddenly hits Panda.

He was ashamed of himself. He realized it wasn’t Panda that was the problem, but rather his own pent-up frustration and unhappiness with a job he’s been carrying on his shoulder for years.

“Sorry, boy,” Sam says. “It wasn’t you. I’m just not happy here.”

Panda looked up at him and wagged his tail as if to say it was okay. He came back with a vengeance in full force when Sam most needed it — love.

“No more,” says Sam as he kneels down and hugs Panda tightly, “I’m sorry. That will never happen again.”

Sam knew it was time to leave the company he’s been with for over a decade. He had lost sight of what was important, and he didn’t want to regret not listening to his best friend — Panda.

He called the company’s HR department and resigned from his position that same day. Not a single tear was shed as he wrote his resignation letter — for it signaled happiness in sight.

Somehow, he found himself at peace.

He landed another job within less than two weeks, but this one paid more and had better benefits — not just financial perks either, but also emotional ones too!

It has been two months since, and Sam would come home every night with a genuine smile on his face. He started to experience what it felt like to be happy about work again.

And since then, Panda licked his face and wagged his tail even harder before he gave him the biggest hug ever!

2) The promotion

annie spratt hCb3lIB8L8E unsplash 2 1 How does karma impact an individual? 10 real-life examples

Sara and Ian were best friends from college. They took up the same course, attended the same internship program, and even have the same copywriting job at an advertising agency.

However, Ian stood out more than Sara. He was more creative about his ideas, more receptive to feedback, and more involved in the daily operations of their team.

Sara felt envious and neglected when Ian’s work got more notice than hers. Even if she felt that he was a better copywriter than her, she didn’t think his career would progress faster.

One day, they found out their agency opened up an Associate Creative Director role, and they both applied for a promotion.

Their boss chose Ian because he had more potential in being successful in the role than Sara did at that time.

Sara wasn’t happy about it, and so she held on to her jealousy and bitterness for years. It affected her work and work ethic, which caused her career to plateau.

Sara’s work started to decline. Her clients would get frustrated because of the missed deadlines and subpar work, which resulted in putting her into the agency’s performance improvement program.

Three years have passed since then and her friendship with Ian was never the same. It was reduced to cordial nods and greetings as they passed each other at the office hallways.

Ian was promoted several times over Sara, who never got the chance to become a leader in her years of work with the agency.

She remained as an assistant copywriter for 2 more years before deciding to send in her resignation.

3) The politician

Francisco had a life of hardship before his big break as an actor. There, he found fame and success in doing movies and multiple brand endorsements.

But with his success, he felt that it did not bring him enough meaning. He wanted to be able to give back to his community and truly help those in extreme poverty.

So he decided to run for office.

Francisco won elections two years ago, and he is now even more famous because of his political aspirations.

He created programs to help those in need. He built housing projects, set up feeding programs, and offered free clinics.

He was a man of the people.

Even though being a politician meant less fame and money, Francisco brought more meaning to his life by giving back in ways that really impacted the lives of the people in his community.

After a successful term as Mayor, Francisco went on to continue his life of service and love for others, but this time, as Congressman.

When he reflected upon what made him most proud about serving the city, he said that it was knowing how much people loved seeing their families grow up happy in this place they called home.

4) The school exam

Gina could feel the pressure of her upcoming midterm exams hovering over her. She didn’t think she did well on any of them, given that she was your typical average student.

One day, she found out from one of her classmates that there was a leak in one of the exams. Gina was the only one from her class to know of this leak, and she knew she could either tell others or just take advantage of it.

Gina’s friend asked her what she would do if she knew about an exam leak ahead of time. She told him that she’s fairly certain there were some exchanges, but she wasn’t sure if just taking advantage was worth it to her.

But she decided to take the leaked exam.

Two weeks later, her grades arrived and she got an A-minus.

Here was the problem: Gina had never cheated in school before, and the guilt about what she did was eating her up.

She decided to go to her parents and tell them everything that had happened with the final exams. Her parents, while disappointed, were proud of her honesty.

She decided to admit what she did to her teacher. She got an F for it and was told that she needed at least a B minus to pass.

Finals week came, and Gina made sure to be more diligent.

And when final grades came out, boom! She got a B plus, which was higher than what she would’ve gotten if not for the other person telling her about the leak in advance.

Gina felt good. She realized that honesty is always better than cheating or lying your way through something even if you get ahead in the short run.

5) The service tip

Jerome and Santi were at their usual bar, Rue Bourbon,  for a nightcap after finishing up their weekly photo shoot.

Jerome was the photographer, Santi was his assistant,t and they both felt good about themselves having completed another successful assignment.

Jerome finished off his glass of beer as soon as Santi ordered him a second round, which he drank too quickly this time around because there would be no more drinks until tomorrow morning. Monday mornings are never fun when you have to wake up early for work.

It was around midnight when Jerome tapped his empty glass on the bar to get Santi’s attention.

“I’ll take one more round,” he said, “but after that, I’m cutting myself off.”

Santi asked for the check. After they paid, he saw Jerome take out a $20 from his wallet and inserted it in the black envelope.

“That’s too much,” said Santi, “the bill already includes service charge.”

Jerome smiled and said, “I know. I’m just giving them a little extra tip for being so awesome. The bar’s packed and I’m sure the staff will appreciate the extra tip.”

Santi shook his head and laughed as he walked away.

“You’re such a nice guy, Jerome,” Santi said over his shoulder before disappearing into the crowd of people leaving for home; “thanks for reminding me that it’s okay to show it sometimes.”

Jerome thought about what Santi said as he finished off the last drops from this third beer. He knew how to give back with just a little effort because it was important to him to do so.

He put down the money on top of their already paid tab and started for the door since he had work early tomorrow morning.

As he was about to drive away, the waiter who served their table knocked on his window.

The waiter held out what seems to be a brown wallet, “Sir, you left this on the table.”

“Hey, man, thanks! I didn’t realize I forgot my wallet.”

Jerome drove away, grateful for his waiter’s honesty. The extra tip he gave was worth it.

6) The Stray Cats

kittens cats foster playing 160755 How does karma impact an individual? 10 real-life examples

On a cool Friday night, Jacinta was driving home from her friend’s home. With full blast sounds, she was listening to techno music.

Out of the blue, she saw a stray kitten crossing her way. The next thing she knew the car had stopped and it was screeching to a halt.

She parked her car to the side and got out of the car. She went near the kitten who seemed to be purring like calling out its mother.

As Jacinta picked up the kitten to the side, she noticed 3 moe kittens that looked similar. She suddenly thought that they were left by the mother in search of food and had left them behind.

Jacinta was full of joy when she first saw the kittens. They were so tiny and fragile that she couldn’t bear leaving them on their own with no shelter or food nearby. Not only that, the busy cars could easily run them over.

With an idea forming quickly in her head, she picked up all three kittens- two of which fit into each hand – put them in the passenger seat, and set off back home.

There, Jacinta fed them and put them in a makeshift nesting box out of cardboard, and lined it with a clean rag to keep them warm during the night.

At daybreak, she brought the kittens back to the place where she had found them.

When she parked the car, she found the mother cat sitting in the area where she found the kittens.

Startled, the mother cat suddenly looked up at her with the box in hand.

She knew that the mother cat could bite if she came any closer, so Jacinta decided to set down the box she was holding and step away.

The kittens popped their heads from the nesting box and took a look around. When they saw their mom coming over to them, they jumped out of the box and ran up to her. Jacinta smiled; she had done her part.

Jacinta couldn’t tell if the mother cat was thanking her or not, but it felt like she did as she purred at Jacinta in appreciation.

She felt amazing.

7) The absentee dad

Roger has been an alcoholic since his son, Lance has been 8 years old.

Alcoholism ran so deep in him that when his son would come home from school, he’d have the TV remote on one hand and beer on the other hand.

When Roger finally realized he needed to cut back on his drinking because Lance was old enough to notice it, he couldn’t even do that. He had always depended on alcohol for socializing before this point, so how could he now?

For all of his childhood, Lance had been missing out on being able to go fishing with his dad or learn how to play catch with him.

He had missed out on so many memories that could have been cherished and shared between father and son, but instead, he was left to watch his dad drink in front of the TV while he played video games alone.

It wasn’t until 15 years later that Roger began taking steps into getting better for himself.

He’s now been sober for 3 years and has been thinking about connecting with his son.

One day, Lance came arrived at home from a long day at the office. Now, 36 years old, he was married with 2 kids, had his own home, and worked as a branch manager at a local bank.

He found a man sitting on his porch, who seemed to have the resemblance of his father. But this man was different. He was clean-shaven and well kept.

“What are you doing here?” asked Lance.

“Hi, son. I saw you were listed on the yellow pages, and I took a chance to come over.”

“I don’t mean any disrespect,” Lance said, “but what made you think you could come to my home and expect that I would want to see you?” Lance finally as anger boiled inside of him.

Roger looked down at his hands and then back up again.

“Listen,” he said as he stood up from the porch. “I have a good life now because I got sober after being an absolute mess all those years. And I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t take a chance to at least see how you were doing.”

Lance stood there, silent.

“It made me realize how self-absorbed I had been my whole life,” Roger said. “All my decisions just revolved around what I wanted at any given time, without even thinking how it would affect you.”

The air couldn’t be tenser as they stared into each others’ eyes.

“Dad,” Lance said, “you weren’t there when I needed you to take care of me. I needed my dad.”

“I’m sorry, son.”

“I’m sorry, too, Dad.” Lance took a few steps back, “I have to go.”

Roger was left standing alone in front of Lance’s house. He looked down at his hands again. They were shaking from what had just happened with his son.

He couldn’t help but feel a sense of shame, regret, and embarrassment at his own appearance.

A few minutes later, Roger found the strength to start walking away from the porch.

As he reached his car across Lance’s house, he took one last look and drove off into the night.

8) The math teacher

Ms. Rodriguez was a 6th-grade math teacher. She was known for her patience, kindness, and creativity in the classroom.  The students loved her.

One day, a new student named “Nick” came to class. During the first few weeks, Ms. Rodriguez notices that Nick seemed to struggle with focusing on the lesson and communicating his thoughts verbally in class.

She took the initiative to have a few one-on-one sessions with him after class. She saw how he worked diligently without complaint until it clicked what he needed to do next–just like magic!

She learned from another teacher that Nick had been dealing with some personal issues lately and questioned if this could be causing his behavior change in school?

She also observed how happy and excited he looked when they were solving difficult problems together during their time together each week.

Ms. Rodriguez decided to give Nick a certain amount of time each week where she would tutor him after school. She did this for the remainder of his time in her class, making remarkable progress on his math skills!

The semester was finally over, and Nick was able to score an 80 on his report card. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a huge improvement from his previous scores.

On the last day of school, as Ms. Rodriguez was clearing up her desk in time for summer break, she found a card underneath one of her lesson journals.

It was from Nick.

Dear Ms. Rodriguez,

Thank you for helping me pass Math this year. I know you didn’t have to tutor me every day after class, but I appreciate you for making time for me.

It hasn’t been easy for me at home, but our sessions somehow became a good distraction. I’d like you to know that things are a little better, and I’m doing okay.

Have a great summer and I hope to see you around next year!

– Nick

As she read the card and realized what he was thanking her for, it made her so happy to know that she helped him in some way.

9) The parking ticket

caspar rae MBPgdHD SA unsplash 1 How does karma impact an individual? 10 real-life examples

Monday was errands day for Ed. He was scheduled to drop off his dry cleaning, pick up some groceries, and make some payments at the bank.

It was only a few minutes before he’d go over his meter parking, so he decided to rush to his car to avoid getting a ticket.

He was waiting to cross the street at a stoplight when an old lady walked up next to him.

She put down two heavy bags full of clothes, sighed and turned to Ed, and smiled. Her smile couldn’t hide the tiredness of her face.

As the light turned green, Ed started to walk ahead so he could get to his car in time.

And for some reason, he turned around and looked at the old lady. She struggled to walk with the bags and didn’t seem to get past a few feet.

She’d never cross the street it in time, he thought.

At an instant, Ed stopped, turned around, and went towards the old lady. He took the bags, offered his arm for her to hold, and helped her cross the street safely.

“Bless you, my boy,” said the old lady. He smiled and replied, “you’re welcome.”

He checked the time — he was already a few minutes late for his parking ticket, but he let it go.

As he approached his car, he saw the meter maid next to his car writing up his ticket.

“Hi ma’am, that’s my car. Sorry about that” Ed said as he patiently waits for the ticket to be handed out to him.

“I saw what you did to that old lady,” the meter maid said. “That was really nice of you.”

Ed smiled, “Thank you, ma’am. It was the right thing to do.”

“That won’t excuse you from that ticket, you hear?” The meter maid pursed her lips, “Now that wouldn’t be the right thing to do, either.”

He helps up the ticket in his hand and replied, “No, no, of course not. I’ll deal with this right away.”

Ed got in his car. He took a second look at the ticket and put it in his wallet.

He drove down the street with a smile on his face. He felt as if he just won the lottery by doing a good deed for the day.

10) The single mother

Louise had three kids. She was a single mom who worked two jobs.

No doubt here schedule was crazy. But even then, she made it a point to cook their favorite dishes, check their homework, and clean their house.

One Friday morning, Louise felt different. Her throat was itchy and she could hardly speak. She thought she had a cold.

A few hours later, Louise decided to bring herself to the emergency room to have herself checked. She found out she had cancer.

Louise had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation for the next year, which took a huge toll on her body – and their finances.

Eleven months later, after going through all the treatments and finally getting out of the hospital, Louise felt like herself again.

However, cancer left its scars, too. She couldn’t work anymore and she was stuck at home without any income coming in aside from Social Security.

One morning, Louise woke up to her children at her bedside with a tray of her favorite breakfast, bacon, eggs, and toast.

“Good morning,” she said. “You’re early today. What day is it?”

“It’s Sunday, Mom,” replied Stella, her eldest of 16 years.

“We have a surprise for you,” said Knoll, her youngest daughter.

Louise smiled, “Oh really? I love surprises! Especially if they come from you.”

“Good,” said Matt, her only son. “Because this surprise will definitely knock your socks off!”

He took a deep breath. “We didn’t tell you, but since you were diagnosed a year ago, we started a GoFundMe account online to ask for help with your treatment.”

“And as of today,” said Knoll, “we were able to raise one hundred eighty-six thousand dollars.”

Stella opened her mobile phone to show her mom the exact money in her bank account.

She said, “You’ve been taking care of us, and you’ve done a great job, Mom. We know it hasn’t been easy, but you’re so strong. We wanted to do something for you.”

Louise was speechless. At that moment, she felt more love than ever.

“We want you to know that we love and appreciate what you’ve done for us,” Stella said. “This money can’t compare at all to the love, time, and care we’ve taken from you over the years. It’s our turn now.”

Louise couldn’t keep her tears from rolling down her cheeks.

“My children. Thank you.” She said with a smile. “You all are my angels on Earth.”

The takeaway

Karma runs deeper than the universal law of cause and effect. It’s energy derived from your habitual patterns of thoughts and actions, which can affect you positively or negatively, regardless of your intention.

In more practical terms, karma states that what goes around comes around.

You get what you give.

If you give out good and all that is good, you will receive back more of the same. Similarly, if you give out bad and things that cause destruction, you will also only receive those in return.

Let me elaborate further:

The energy you create with your habitual patterns of thoughts and actions today will affect you in the future.

Love, compassion, anger, and jealousy – these patterns of habit form part of your karmic life, and they affect how you live and what you think about yourself and others.

Ultimately, it’s all about how well you can control your own life, despite

the habitual patterns you possess.

So if you don’t like the effects you’re getting in your life, you need to change the cause.

That’s right.

Karma shows that we have the freedom to decide what happens to us. It’s our intentional actions and thoughts that govern our lives.

Pick up new habits, or unlearn them. It’s up to you.

If you’re more in tune with your habitual patterns, you can focus on those that bring about negativity and make the conscious decision to change them.

That way, you’ll be transforming your karmic life for the better.

What are your thoughts? Does karma exist for you?

How do you think your own karma affects your life right now?

In case you want to dedicate some energy and time into developing your relationship with yourself, I recommend checking out this particular free masterclass by Rudá Iandê. He’s a very profound teacher but also down-to-earth and practical. I would highly suggest taking the time while it is still available.

Frankie Pascua-dela Pasion

Frankie Pascua-dela Pasion

Frankie was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She is a graduate of Humanities from the University of Asia and the Pacific. Frankie is a seasoned Customer Success and Human Resources professional. She is also a certified Life Coach and Career Strategist. She helps people young and young at heart to simplify their lives by creating emotional awareness. She also loves working with people who have a genuine interest in breaking their inner limits through their journey of self-discovery and authenticity in their personal and professional lives. Frankie’s recent venture into writing is fueled by her passion for human connection and meaningful relationships at home, at work, and basically everywhere. She enjoys the research, discovery, and reflection that go into each article as much as she writes about them, in the hopes that her words resonate with, and give perspective to her audience. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn: Frankie Pascua-dela Pasion

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.