We live in a world of constant change. The only true constant in this life is change. Think about what your life was like seven years ago. Chances are it was quite different than it is today. Seven years from now, it will likely be completely different than it is now.
- How did your life get to where it is today?
- What forces were at work?
- What forces will change your life in the coming years?
- What will those changes look like?
How we answer the first three questions will have a profound impact on the answer to the last question. There are two main types of forces that we can focus on: internal forces and external forces. Internal forces are those things within us: our thoughts, choices and actions. External forces are those things outside of us: circumstances, the actions of others, etc. The main distinction is that internal forces are those things over which we have control, and external forces are those over which we have little or no control.
Chances are, our lives became what they are today because of a combination of these two types of forces. However, it is almost always the case that the internal forces have the greatest impact by far. Our thoughts, choices and actions are not only capable of directly shaping our lives, but they also influence the external forces to which we are exposed.
There is tremendous power in this realization. As I had written as step 2 in How to Change Who You Are:
Realize that the life that you have today has developed into what it is because of your thoughts, choices and actions. This is an empowering realization as what naturally follows is the realization that you have the power to build the life you want tomorrow based on your thoughts, choices and actions today.
How To Take Control Of Your Life
By focusing on those things that are within our control, we are able to focus our energy where it really matters, rather than wasting our energy on things outside of our control. Here is a list of ideas on how to maintain that focus and exercise control over our lives:
- Avoid blaming other people, institutions, circumstances, society, etc. for your conditions. This will leave you powerless. Even if you feel you have been wronged by someone else’s mistakes, carelessness or ill intent, focusing on their part will only weaken you. Look at what you can do to fix the wrong and prevent it from happening in the future.
- Don’t waste your time and energy waiting for or expecting political, social or economic change to make your life better. As individuals, we have little influence on these things. We can each do our part to change the world, but we have to be prepared for a result that is not aligned with our values or desires. Other people will have different values, desires and points of view that may influence the world in a different direction. When we shift our focus on the power we have, we usually find that the political, social or economic issues we may feel compelled to change are not as significant in our day to day life as the things we do have control over, such as our relationships, spiritual growth, the message we share with others, etc. And in that way, we can usually do much more to change the world.
- Always look for and own up to your part in any conflict. It is your responsibility to take ownership for your part in a conflict. It is not your responsibility to identify the parts others play in a conflict. That is the their responsibility whether they choose to take it or not. When you identify your roll, you identify your influence over the situation and empower yourself to make change happen.
- Practice gratitude. The simple act of gratitude helps us identify our desires that are being fulfilled, and in doing so, we identify our power to multiply those desires. Gratitude puts us in a positive frame of mind which motivates, energizes and propels us toward our desires.
As the world continues to change and our lives inevitably continue to change with it, our power to shape those changes is rooted in our willingness to take responsibility for our own lives and to recognize our own power. God did not place us here as powerless beings to helplessly drift with the changes. Like God, we are creators. We create our own lives, and our creation has a ripple effect throughout the universe. Whether you choose to take responsibility for it or not, your presence is changing the universe. It’s up to you to decide to direct that change by taking responsibility for the state of your life or to deny that responsibility and allow your power to drift haphazardly.