As Chief Influencer here, I feel entitled to administer the occasional lecture. Some would say my lectures are more like rants. So be it.
Have you ever known a person who seems to have bad things happen to them again and again and again? You know – their relationships constantly fall apart, every job they get comes with a horrible boss, it only rains in places where they stand, and killer bees are attracted to them like they’re made of sugar?
And when those things happen, what is the first thing that comes out of their mouths?
“It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything. Why do these things keep happening to me?”
Be honest. Do you ever see shades of that behavior in yourself?
We all have hardships in our lives. I could run down a laundry list of horrible events in my immediate family ranging from unemployment to childhood death… but I won’t. Because if you think about it, we all have negative events to deal with in our lives.
I want to share with you one of the greatest “ah-ha” moments of my life – and one that can give you a fresh, positive outlook on your life as well.
A Part of My Life I Don’t Talk Much About
In a particularly dark time in my life, I had a job I hated, a boss I hated more than the job, and money problems that to this day put a huge knot in my stomach when I think about them.
I couldn’t see a way out, and I had lost all sense of hope that things would ever change for me.
At some point during my despair and self-victimization, I asked myself, “Why do all these terrible things keep happening to me? What the hell am I putting out there to deserve all this?”
The question answered itself. The primary cause of all my problems was, in a way, what I was doing to myself.
Why ‘Responsibility’ Is More Empowering Than ‘Fault’
Random bad things do happen. Unfortunately, sometimes murderers randomly kill, hurricanes decimate cities, and planes, cars, and trains crash. So yes – there are real-life innocent victims. It’s a real thing.
But that dark day long ago made me realize something…
Whether you succeed or fail – whether you’re happy or miserable – it’s very likely the result of a decision you yourself have made.
I had a horrible job with an evil boss. I chose to accept the job offer. I had money problems – which I also had no small part in creating. That day I realized I had no right to frame myself as a victim when I could just as easily have made better decisions.
The moment I realized I could just go to the nearest mirror to see the cause of 99% of my happiness or misery, things began to change for me.
How Taking Responsibility Leads to Power
A funny thing happens when you come to grips with the fact that your own bad decisions are to blame for your misery. You realize you’re in control. If your bad decisions led to bad things, then you have just as much power to make good things happen by making better decisions, right?
No one is really pulling your strings. You’re the boss.
Your job sucks? Maybe you took the wrong job. That being said – you have three options.
- Whine, complain, and tell everyone who will listen how bad it is so they can feel depressed, too.
- Suck it up, realize it’s maybe not so bad, and take it upon yourself to make it better.
- Decide that it really is that bad and make a better decision: Put all your effort into finding a better situation for yourself.
That’s it. Those are the only options for you – and you are the one who gets to choose.
The same goes for your money, your relationships, your health, and so on. You really do have the power to control the direction your life takes by making better decisions.
It’s a matter of taking responsibility (and credit) for your own decisions.
You’ll Still Make Bad Decisions, But…
This isn’t magic – and it’s not some kind of touchy-feely self-help talk. You’re still going to make bad decisions from time to time. Bad bosses, dishonest people, and economic recessions will continue to exist.
But when you know deep down that you have the power to change – to make a better decisions – you’ll be nobody’s victim.
When you find yourself in a bad situation, try following these steps:
- Ask “What decisions have I made to put myself in the path of this negative situation?”
- Ask, “How might I have chosen differently?”
- Ask, “Now that I’m in this negative situation, how can I turn it around to be more positive?” (see the three choices above)
- Realize that given some time and effort, you and you alone can make a new decision and learn how to overcome adversity by turning a negative situation into a positive one.
The next time you find yourself feeling like a victim, be honest with yourself and analyze how your decisions might have put you in this situation. Once you’ve honestly accepted the blame and resolved to make better decisions – pat yourself on the back for doing something many people never do: taking responsibility.
I want to hear from you now!
Have you ever caught yourself embracing the ‘victim’ mentality? How do you avoid it? Tell me in the comments.
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