I used to have friends. Now, I guess I still do. But I rarely see them. I have mostly isolated myself.
I am entirely responsible for this situation. I didn’t call my friends and rarely emailed them. It started when I was living abroad and over time, we ended up being in contact less and less.
I could have acted differently and the outcome would have been different. But I made choices. I wasn’t that conscious about them at the time, but nevertheless I made those choices. I spent more time with my family and also on my own, reading, playing games, watching films.
Now I could say that others are responsible for this situation. I could say that my friends didn’t keep in touch with me. Or that my wife and family were asking for too much of my time. Or that it was because I was living in a foreign country: it was all inevitable.
In the past, I might have called out others or external events as the cause for this situation. Not anymore. I decided to take full responsibility for my life and what happens to me. I accept that my actions influence the likelihood of specific events taking place. And my reactions to those events are under my control.
We are where we are today because of our past decisions and actions.
If you were not aware of it, take your time and let it sink in. Think about all the small and big decisions that you have made in the past and how they have shaped your path. Realize you are in control of your life.
Even though external events also influence our path, we can still control that path. As Jimmy Dean said: “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination”.
Now, you might disagree and claim that it is external events that mostly shape your fate. If that’s the case, I don’t think you’ll get much out of reading the rest of the article.
But if you’re ready to take full responsibility and if you’re not 100% happy of where you are today, now is the time to change.
You’re The Boss
Taking full responsibility for your life means not making others responsible for your fate.
Stop saying that you didn’t have enough time in your life to accomplish what you wanted to. And stop saying that you’re not where you want to be now because of your environment, your life circumstances or your skills.
Now you can blame others for something that happened to you. But you have to take responsibility for your life. Like Hal Elrod explains in his book The Miracle Morning: he wasn’t at fault for the terrible car accident he was involved into and he can blame the drunk driver that crashed into him, but he took responsibility for improving his life after the crash.
There is a tendency in our society to play victims and to blame everyone else and everything for our circumstances. This is encouraged by social networks and even the media. It goes like this: the economy is bad, the world is in a political turmoil, unscrupulous individuals are responsible for the mess, successful people are lucky, and so on.
I strongly encourage you to take a step back now and think about your life. If it’s all about external events, then how come people with similar (or worse) circumstances to yours have had very different outcomes in their lives (for better or worse)?
Don’t be like everyone else, take the bull by the horns and be the boss of your life!
Practically, that means letting go of the past and focus on building your future:
- Look at where you are now. What’s working well and what needs fixing in your life?
- Decide where you want to go, what person you want to become.
- Then make a plan on how to get there and take action.
Take small steps first, focus on one thing at a time. Get results and build up your confidence. Then, raise your standards!
Think of your journey like a fantasy novel. You are the hero and you are about to embark on an epic quest. There will be grave dangers ahead (procrastination), monsters lurking (your fears), but through your bravery you can defeat them all and save the princess (your life).
So wear your armor if you need, take your horse with you, but fulfill your destiny and never turn back! Embark on this adventure, don’t stay hiding in your room like a coward.
To inspire you, here’s the story of Anthony Burgess and how he reacted to his life circumstances.
When Anthony Burgess was 40, he learned that he had a brain tumor that would kill him within a year. At that time he was broke and had nothing to leave behind for his wife. As he knew he had writing potential within him, he decided to write novels in hope that his wife would get royalties. He started typing, not knowing whether he would be able to finish his novel to publish it.
He wrote frantically for the whole year and finished five and a half novels by the end of the year.
In the end, Burgess didn’t die. His cancer went into remission and disappeared. He ended up writing more than 70 books during his whole life, including A Clockwork Orange. Without the death sentence he might have not written at all, who knows. But he decided to react to his life events in a committed and achievement focused way.
If you had only one year to live, what would you do? How would you react?
Like Anthony, we all have greatness inside. What are you waiting for to bring it out? Are you going to keep blaming the environment for not getting the life you want?
Your life is a journey, a story of challenges you have to overcome to grow and realize your potential. So, take control of it.
What’s your story and what are the epic goals you’re going after? Share them below.