Goals: Take Charge of Your Life

01/03/2023by dang tin0

Take charge of your life

“A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man is what he makes of himself.” By Alexander Graham Bell

When I was 21, I was broke and living in a small one-room apartment, in the middle of a very cold winter, working on a construction job during the day. I usually couldn’t afford to go out of my apartment in the evenings, where at least it was warm, so I had a lot of time to think.

One night as I sat there at my small kitchen table, I had a great flash of awareness. It changed my life. I suddenly realized that everything that happened to me for the rest of my life was going to be up to me. No one else was ever going to help me. No one was coming to the rescue. I was thousands of miles from home with no intentions of going back for a long time. I saw clearly at that moment that if anything in my life were going to change, it would have to begin with me. If I didn’t change, nothing else would change. I was responsible.

The Great Discovery

I still remember that moment. It was like a first parachute jump. It was both scary and exhilarating. There I was, standing on the edge of life. And I decided to jump. From that moment onward, I accepted that I was in charge of my life. I knew that if I wanted things to be different, I would have to be different. Everything was up to me.

I later learned that when you accept complete responsibility for your life, you take the giant step from childhood to adulthood. Sadly enough, most people never do this. I have met countless men and women in their 40s and 50s who are still grumbling and complaining about earlier unhappy experiences, and still blaming their problems on other people and circumstances. Many people are still angry about something that one of their parents did or did not do to or for them- twenty, or thirty, or even forty years ago. They are trapped in the past and they can’t get free.

Your Worst Enemy

The greatest enemies of success and happiness are negative emotions, of all kinds. It is negative emotions that hold you down, tire you out and take away all your joy in life. It is negative emotions, from the beginning of time, that have done more harm to individuals and societies than all the plagues of history. One of your most important goals, if you want to be truly happy and successful, is to free yourself from negative emotions, and fortunately, this can be done, if you learn how.

The negative emotions of fear, self-pity, envy, jealousy, feelings of inferiority, and ultimately anger, are mostly caused by four factors. Once you identify and remove these factors from your thinking, your negative emotions stop automatically. When your negative emotions stop, the positive emotions of love, peace, joy and enthusiasm flow in to replace them, and your whole life changes for the better, sometimes in a matter of minutes, or even seconds.

Stop Justifying

The first of the four root causes of negative emotions is justification. You can only be negative as long as you can justify, to yourself and others, that you are entitled to be angry or upset for some reason. This is why angry people are continually explaining and elaborating on the reasons for their negative feelings. However, if you cannot justify your negativity, you cannot be angry.

For example, a person is laid off from a job due to a change in the economy and declining sales in the company. However, the individual is angry with his boss for this decision and justifies his anger by describing all the reasons why his being laid off was unfair. He can even get himself so incensed that he decides to sue, or get even in some way. As long as he continues to justify his negative feelings toward his boss and the company, his negative emotions control him and absorb much of his life and thinking.

However, as soon as he says, “Well, I’ve been laid off. These things happen. It’s not personal. People get laid off all the time. I guess I’d better get busy finding a new job.” His negative emotions vanish. He becomes calm, clear and focused on the goal, and on the steps he can take to get back into the workforce. As soon as he stops justifying, he becomes a more positive and effective person.

Refuse to Rationalize And Make Excuses

The second cause of negative emotions is rationalization. When you rationalize, you attempt to give a “socially acceptable explanation for an otherwise socially unacceptable act.”

You rationalize to explain away or put a favorable light on something that you have done that you feel bad or unhappy about. You excuse your behavior or actions by creating an explanation that sounds good, even though you know that you were an active agent in whatever occurred. You often create complex ways of putting yourself in the right by explaining that your behavior was really quite acceptable, all things considered. This rationalizing keeps your negative emotions alive. Rationalization and justification always require that you make someone or something else the source or cause of your problem. You cast yourself in the role of the victim, and you make the other person or organization into the oppressor, or the “bad guy.”

Rise Above the Opinions of Others

The third cause of negative emotions is an over concern or hypersensitivity to the way other people treat you. For some people, their entire self-image is determined by the way other people speak to them, talk to them or about them, or even look at them. They have little sense of personal value or self-worth apart from the opinions of others, and if those opinions are negative for any reason, real or imagined, the “victim” immediately experiences anger, embarrassment, shame, feelings of inferiority and even depression, self-pity and despair. This explains why psychologists say that almost everything we do is to earn the respect of others, or at least to avoid losing their respect.

No One Else Is Responsible

The fourth cause of negative emotions, and the worst of all, is blaming. When I draw the “Negative Emotions Tree” in my seminars, I illustrate the trunk of the tree as the propensity to blame other people for our problems. Once you cut down the trunk of the tree, all the fruits of the tree, all the other negative emotions, die immediately, just as when you jerk the plug out of the wall that lights up the Christmas lights in the tree, all the lights go out instantly.

Responsibility Is The Antidote

The antidote for negative emotions of all kinds is for you to accept complete responsibility for your situation. You cannot say the words, “I am responsible!” and still feel angry. The very act of accepting responsibility short-circuits and cancels out any negative emotions you may be experiencing. The discovery of this simple but powerful affirmation, “I am responsible” and its instant ability to eliminate negative emotions was a turning point in my life, as it has been for many hundreds of thousands of my students.

Just imagine! You can free yourself from negative emotions and begin taking control of your life by simply saying, “I am responsible!” whenever you start to feel angry or upset for any reason.

It is only when you free yourself from negative emotions, by taking complete responsibility that you can begin to set and achieve goals in every area of your life. It is only when you are free, mentally and emotionally, that you can begin to channel your energies and enthusiasms in a forward direction. This is why, without the acceptance of complete personal responsibility, no progress is possible. On the other hand, once you accept total responsibility for your life, there are no limits on what you can be, do and have.

Stop Blaming Others

From now on, refuse to blame anyone for anything – past, present or future. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Buddy Hacket, the comedian, once said, I never hold grudges; while you’re holding grudges, they’re out dancing! From this point forward, refuse to make excuses or to justify your behaviors. If you make a mistake, say, “I’m sorry,” and get busy rectifying the situation. Every time you blame someone else or make excuses, you give your power away. You feel weakened and diminished. You feel negative and angry inside. Refuse to do it.

Control Your Emotions

To keep your mind positive, refuse to criticize, complain about or condemn other people for anything. Every time you criticize someone else, complain about something you don’t like, or condemn someone else for something that they have done or not done, you trigger feelings of negativity and anger within yourself. And you are the one who suffers. Your negativity doesn’t affect the other person at all. Being angry with someone is allowing him or her to control your emotions, and often the entire quality of your life, at long distance. This is just plain silly.

Remember, as Gary Zukacs says in his book, Seat of the Soul, Positive emotions empower; negative emotions disempower. Positive emotions of happiness, excitement, love and enthusiasm make you feel more powerful and confident. Negative emotions of anger, hurt or blame weaken you and make you hostile, irritable and unpleasant to be around. Once you decide to accept complete responsibility for yourself, your situation, and for everything that happens to you, you can turn confidently toward your work and the affairs of your life. You become “the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.”

Hello, Mr. President!

In a study done in New York some years ago, researchers found that the top 3% of people in every field had a special attitude that set them apart from average performers in their industries. It was this: they viewed themselves as self-employed throughout their careers, no matter who signed their paychecks. They saw themselves as responsible for their companies, exactly as if they owned the companies personally. You should do the same.

From this moment forward, see yourself as the President of your own personal services corporation. View yourself as self-employed. See yourself as in complete charge of every part of your life and career.
Remind yourself that you are where you are and what you are because of what you have done or failed to do. You are very much the architect of your own destiny.

You Choose, You Decide

You have determined your entire life up to now by the choices and decisions you have made, or failed to make. If there is anything in your life that you don’t like, you are responsible. If there is anything that you are unhappy about, it is up to you to take the necessary steps to change and improve it so that it is more to your liking. As the president of your own personal services corporation, you are completely responsible for everything you do, and for the results of what you do. You are responsible for the consequences of your actions and your behaviors. You are where you are and what you are today because you have decided to be there.

In a large sense, you are earning today exactly what you have decided to earn, no more and no less. If you are not happy with your current income, decide to earn more. Set it as a goal, make a plan and get busy doing what you need to do to earn what you want to earn. As the president of your own career and your own life, as the architect of your own destiny, you are free to make your own decisions. You are the boss. You are in charge.

Develop Your Own Strategy

Just as the president of a corporation is responsible for the strategy and activities of that corporation, you are also responsible for the personal strategic planning of your own life and career. You are responsible for overall management strategy, setting goals, making plans, establishing measures and performing to get results. You are responsible for achieving certain outputs, for the quality and quantity of the work that you produce, and the results you are expected to get.

As president, you are responsible for marketing strategy, for self- promotion and advancement, for creating your image and packaging yourself to be able to sell yourself for the very highest price in a competitive market. You are responsible for financial strategy, for deciding exactly how much of your services you want to sell, how much you want to earn, how rapidly you want to grow your income year by year, how much you want to save and invest, and how much you want to be worth when you retire. These numbers are entirely up to you. You are responsible. You are responsible for your people strategy and your relationships, both at home and at work. One piece of advice I give my students is to “choose your boss with care.” Your choice of a boss is going to have a major impact on how much you earn, how fast you get ahead, and how happy you will be at your job.

Make New Choices, New Decisions

By the same token, your choice of a mate and friends will have as much or more to do with your success and happiness than any other decisions you make. If you are not happy with any of your current choices, it is up to you to begin taking steps to improve or change them. Finally, as president, you are in complete charge of personal research and development, personal training and learning. It is up to you to determine the talents, skills, abilities and core competencies you will need to earn the kind of money you want to earn in the months and years ahead. It is then your responsibility to make the investment and take the time to learn and develop these skills. No one is going to do it for you. The unavoidable truth is that no one really cares as much as you do.

Become A “Growth Stock”

To take this analogy a little further, see yourself as a company with a stock that trades on the market. Is your stock the kind of stock that people could invest in, confident that it will continue to grow in value and profitability in the months and years ahead? Are you a “growth stock” or has your value leveled off in the marketplace? If you have decided to be a “growth stock,” what is your strategy for increasing your income 25% – 30% every year, year after year? As the president of your own life, as the spouse or parent in your own family, you owe it to the important people in your life, to be on a growth curve, to be continually increasing in value, income and profitability as the years progress.

Take The Wheel of Your Own Life

From this point forward, see and think about yourself as the master of your own fate. See yourself as completely in charge of your own life. See yourself as the president of your own personal services corporation. See yourself as a powerful person, completely self- determined and self-directed. Refuse to whine and complain about things that happened in the past, which cannot be changed. Instead, orient yourself toward the future and think of what you want and where you are going. Above all, think about your goals. The very act of thinking about your goals makes you positive and purposeful again.

Determine Your Locus of Control

There is a large body of psychological literature that revolves around the concept of “Locus of Control Theory.” In more than 50 years of research, psychologists have determined that your “Locus of Control” is the determining factor of your happiness or unhappiness in life. Here is why.

A person with an internal locus of control is a person who feels that he or she is in complete control of his or her life. This person feels strong, confident and powerful. He or she is generally optimistic and positive. He or she feels terrific about him or herself and feels very much in charge of his or her destiny.

On the other hand, a person with an external locus of control is a person who feels controlled by external factors, by their boss, their bills, their marriage, their childhood problems and their current situation. They feel “out of control” and as a result, they feel weak, angry, fearful, negative, hostile and disempowered. The good news is that there is a direct relationship between the amount of responsibility you accept and the amount of control you feel. The more you say, “I am responsible!” the more of an internal locus of control you develop within yourself, and the more powerful and confident you feel.

The Golden Triangle

There is also a direct relationship between responsibility and happiness. The more responsibility you accept, the happier you become. It seems that all three –responsibility, control and happiness- go together. The more responsibility you accept, the greater amount of control you feel you have. The greater amount of control you feel you have, the happier and more confident you become. When you feel positive and in control of your life, you will set bigger and more challenging goals for yourself. You will also have the drive and determination to achieve them. You will feel as if you hold your life in your own hands, and that you can make it into whatever you decide to.

It Is In Your Hands

The starting point of goal setting is for you to realize that you have virtually unlimited potential to be, have or do anything you really want in life, if you simply want it badly enough, and are willing to work long enough and hard enough to achieve it. The second part of goal setting is for you to accept complete responsibility for your life, and for everything that happens to you, with no blaming and no excuses. With these two concepts clearly in mind, that you have unlimited potential and that you are completely responsible, you are now ready to move to the next step, which is to begin designing your ideal future.

Take Charge of Your Life:

1. Identify your biggest problem or source of negativity in life today. In what ways are you responsible for this situation?

2. See yourself as the President of your own company. How would you act differently if you owned 100% of the shares?

3. Resolve today to stop blaming anyone else for anything and instead accept complete responsibility in every area of your life. What actions should you be taking?

4. Stop making excuses and start making progress. Imagine that your favorite excuses have no basis in fact, and act accordingly.

5. See yourself as the primary creative force in your own life. You are where you are and what you are because of your own choices and decisions. What should you change?

6. Resolve today to forgive anyone who has ever hurt you in any way. Let it go. Refuse to discuss it again. Instead, get so busy working on something that is important to you that you don’t have time to think about it again.

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