Monday, September 30, 2013

Take Control of Your Life

I see it a lot.  I hear it almost every day.  "It" is people complaining about their lives and the role government, employers, "the rich", unions, banks and other people have played in making their lives the way they are.  It's sad, really.  It's sad because of two things.
  1. As I have said before, each of us is where we are in our lives because of the decisions we have made up until right now.   Period.  If I want my life to be different from this point forward I must learn to make different decisions.
  2. It overestimates the influence outside forces have over my life while underestimating the influence I have over my life.  Consider the following questions:
    1. If the party you favor comes into more political power, what difference will that make in your life if you continue to do things like you have up until now?
    2. If employers become more of how you think they should be, what difference will that make in your life if you continue to do things like you have up until now?
    3. If "the rich" are able to keep more (or less) of their money, what difference will that make in your life if you continue to do things like you have up until now?
    4. If unions, banks and other people change and do things the way think they should, what difference will that make in your life if you continue to do things like you have up until now?
The answer to those questions is "not much."  Think about this in terms of finances.  There was a time in this country, when the tax rate on the highest income earners was greater than 50%...and 60%...and 70%...and 80%...and yes, even greater than 90%.  And, yet, people became wealthy anyway, under each of those rates.

Or, think about this:  There have been well-funded schools with a largely white, upper middle class student body that turned out well-educated graduates who were prepared for college life.  There have also been well-funded schools with largely white, upper middle class student bodies that have turned out an amazing number of poorly educated graduates who were prepared for neither college life nor life in general.  There have been both poorly funded and well funded schools that had student bodies consisting almost exclusively of truly poor minorities that produced well-educated graduates who excelled academically, not only in high school but in Ivy League universities.  Likewise, there have been those who produced poorly educated and ill-prepared graduates.

There have been people raised in horrifically dysfunctional families who eventually had healthy, happy and functional families of their own.  Likewise, their have been those from solid, stable families that turned out to be grossly dysfunctional individuals.

None of this is to downplay the influence of many factors on how a person's life turns out.  Certainly, it isn't to ignore the fact that some people will have to work much harder than others to overcome the obstacles they face. Rather, the point is that the single greatest factor is a person's choices; a person's decisions.  To give my take on an often heard quote, successful people make a firm and lifelong commitment to doing what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.

The idea that your your life is the way it is because of outside influences is a trap.  If you accept it, you will remain trapped in your life, the way it is now, until you either change what you choose to believe or until you die.  This idea says that the stuff around you must change before your life can change.  It says that your life can only change when the right combination of people, events and circumstances come along.  Here's the question:  What if those people, events and circumstances don't show up?  What will you do, then?  The answer, if you continue to buy into this trap, is "not much."  However, if you choose to change what you believe about how to go about changing your life the answer to "what will you do?" becomes "whatever it takes!"

Please, take control of your life.  Make decisions that take you where you want to go.  You do not have to remain where you are.  Regardless of how your life is right now, remember this: You do not have to live that way, anymore.

Change your mind...change your life

Stay tuned...

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