Take Life Into Your Own Hands
“There are two primary choices in life: To accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” — Dr Denis Waitley
Look around you. What do you see? I don’t mean literally but figuratively. What is missing from your life right now? What would make your life complete? Putting aside the restrictions of the current pandemic, think of something you’ve wanted that hasn’t happened yet? There’s a mistaken belief that when we get what we want, we’ll be happy. Experience has taught me that yearning for something absent in my life, rarely improves it. There must be a deeper desire to change our circumstances, aligned with our core values.
If we want things to change, it must begin with us. Sometimes, it may arise from frustration with the way things are, or realising something is missing. For example, if we are lonely, we might want to be in an intimate relationship to compensate for our loneliness. But are we making the right choice, or are we trying to fill a void that can be achieved another way? For instance, we might take up a hobby or lend our support by volunteering to a charity, where we find deeper meaning and purpose. Here, we may or may not attract a relationship because that is not our chief aim. Our intention is to alleviate our loneliness and be around like-minded people.
For example, think about trying to fix a problem which didn’t turn out as planned? Did you consider alternative solutions, or were you fixed on a particular outcome? What I’m trying to say is: We must keep an open mind and explore other possibilities, if we want to change our life. Lamenting how things are, without taking action is a recipe for disappointment. It requires taking life into our own hands and searching for solutions. We may not know which outcome is best until we road test it. So, trying to cure our loneliness by way of a relationship comes with its problems. Similarly, giving of our time through volunteer work also has problems, but the benefits are greater.
Align With Your Core Values
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” — Jim Rohn
Regrettably, life isn’t as well-organised as we like it to be and there are benefits to this, which we may not appreciate. But, if we consider our actions as potential learning experiences, we cannot win or lose. In which case, we adopt an optimistic outlook when a situation does not play out as expected. Are you happy with this idea, that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re learning important lessons and not beating yourself up? Life can be an imperfect school, where each experience is a springboard towards further growth and expansion. We mustn’t view our experiences as win or lose because that puts pressure on us to succeed. And as you know, success is the by-product of repeated failures and losses.
I can relate to this because in my 20s and 30s, I made so many mistakes and thought I was cursed or doomed for failure. But looking back, I can see how those experiences had to happen, since I gained the wisdom and knowledge not to repeat them. So, whatever is missing from your life, consider three alternative solutions. Don’t be quick to jump to the first one that comes to mind. Take your time to test drive it, as ideas on paper or consulting with friends and family. You might not take any action because sometimes doing nothing can be a blessing in disguise. I would encourage you to journal your thoughts on paper, before committing to a particular path.
To improve our circumstances, we shouldn’t believe life will undertake it for us. It requires a strong desire, aligned with our core values and exploring various options. Even then, there is no assurance we have made the right choice, since life offers no guarantees. Therefore, become curious about the process and see your decisions as pieces of a puzzle coming together. It requires being patient, curious, and not fixed on a particular outcome. We ought to keep an open mind and a soft heart, so life can bring us what we need at the right time.
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