If there is one thing I have been amazing at in my life, it’s been my ability to play the victim! All to often when things didn’t go my way, it invariably wasn’t my fault. There would always be a mitigating circumstance or bad luck that meant things didn’t go my way. I didn’t realise that I could take control of my life until relatively recently.
In my younger years, I had plenty of opportunities to take a different path and I chose not to. More importantly, I didn’t realise I even had a choice in the matter. I thought things happened to me in life and that’s the way it was. All I could do was react and not get to bogged down by the onslaught.
At school, I didn’t get the best grades but I had plenty of time for computer games. At university I partied alot but missed lectures and felt really stressed at exam time. In the early days of my career, I put off doing tasks that I thought were boring but had more than enough time to socalise with friends. These situations found me with average grades, often stressed out, tired and with poor performance appraisals at work. Knowing my potential to do better, I heaped a load of judgement on myself that I could and should be doing better. That seemed to make this worse; I wanted to get away from my judgement so went back to distracting myself with things such as TV shows and socialising!
What changed for me
When I started to take my self development journey more seriously, I came across the concept of being an owner vs being a victim. I realised that I had spent the majority of my life being a victim of my circumstances. When something went wrong, I blamed anything but myself and never took ownership or control over my life. What changed was that I suddenly became aware that I had the power to be something other than a victim. Whilst I may have intelectually known I could do something different, until this point it had never really occured for me to take control of my life.
From this new understanding of ownership, blame became less important, what that mattered was, “How do I want to proceed next?” As the controler of my own destiny, I became less bogged down at looking at why something went wrong. I saw that the past was only a learning tool to adjust from and move fowards. As time went on, I found myself making less of these mistakes. Even when I did, there was less judgemental thinking, in its absense more compationate towards myself. It was less about blame and more about acceptance that I’m doing the best I can.
One thing I did differently
At work and in my personal life, focus shifted away from what I thought would make me happy. Instead I moved towards what I wanted to get done. I broke down my goals into smaller and smaller tasks that were much easier to achieve I downloaded a task list app on my phone and started working with it. It wasn’t a perfect system but it was a lot better than what I was working with previously. By using my phone, I always had my task list in my eye sight and my previous source of distraction became a tool to help me focus.
Prior to this, I had tried using task lists on multiple occasions and always failed. I had built up a story that I just wasn’t good with task lists. Because I wasn’t any good a them it made sense that I shouldn’t bother trying to stick with them. The reason I stopped using them was because of a deeply rooted belief. I didn’t think they were fun and I found them particularly tedious. I didn’t like that idea, I wanted to do things that were fun and that would make me happy. That’s why I always shifted back to watching TV and socilaising with friends.
This time round however, the task list has stuck. When something doesn’t quite work out right, I learn and adjust and improve the system. For me, it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.
Take control of your life
You don’t have to use a task list or follow an online 10 step guide to achieve happiness. Look back at some of the times in life where you felt helpless or a victim. Ask yourself the question, “What could I have done differently?” You will find at least one answer if not a multitude of them. These answers will help you do things differently moving forward. When the answers come from you, they are much more likely to stick.
Don’t play the victim and take control of your life. It’s within your gift to change the course of your life just as it’s been your choice to play the victim. If you do, you will be a lot happier for it as you will be creating the life you want, not being a passanger of where life is taking you.
If you have enjoyed this post please please comment below or feel free to contact me, I’d love to have a conversation with how this mindset could change your life. This post follows on from a post I wrote about the thought feeling connection (click here) as to why I was doing things that I thought would make me happy. I post additional content on my Instagram page (click here) so feel free to stop by there to stay up to date with my latest content!