Monday, July 29, 2013

Does Everything REALLY Happen For A Reason?

Okay, time to vent about a commmon (moronic) saying (there are hundreds floating around out there, eh?)  I recently heard a phrase that is tossed around cavalierly that most people misunderstand because they have a (unaware?) victim mentality.

On the surface, this saying seems fairly innocuous - "Well, everything happens for a reason".  99.9% of people intend this to mean that some cosmic force making things happen and that we don't have control/influence.

What a load of...uh...garbage.  (For this post, I'm making up for curse words with gratuitous parentheses!)

Yes, it is true that everything DOES happen for a reason - but not in the "it's out of our hands" kinda way.  Think about it: Things do happen because there is a cause!  And other than freak circumstances, that cause is our (or someone else's) behaviors.  Change those behaviors and you change what happens as a result.

Why don't people say "everything happens for a reason" with this accurate meaning?  Notice when this phrase is spoken - typically when something happened that was unfortunate.  I think it is a (intellectually dishonest) way for people to feel better about those bad circumstances.  It's certainly easier than to embrace the natural consequences of controllable behaviors.  Instead, we would all benefit from acknowledging that we have influence over the behaviors that cause the outcomes - the first step to actually doing something constructive towards improving our circumstances.

Yes, yes, yes - often times those behaviors are those of other people.  How do you control their behaviors?

You don't.  You may be able to influence them (if it's worth the effort), but you can't control them.  What you CAN control are YOUR behaviors.  You can choose to distance yourself (a behavior you control) from the negative behaviors of other people.  Doing so will result in much better natural consequences.

After all, as the saying goes: "Everything Better consequences happen for a reason" (...your choices/actions!)

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

Monday, July 15, 2013

What's Next For You?

Feeling "stuck" - or like you aren't realizing your potential?

Maybe you need something "pulling" you to your future?  Maybe you need to clarify what you don't want as much as what you do want?

The most successful people have both: 1. Some kind of "north star" that provides a purposeful reason to move in a particular direction in their life and 2. Boundaries that keep them on track. 

For the first part, consider developing a "next goal" that guide your decision about what steps to take each day/week/month to move you in a direction that is best for you.  Otherwise, you end up taking random choices/actions that lead...wherever you end up.  Hint: Wandering is NOT a productive long-term life strategy.

Another thing that helps prevent wandering is the second issue: boundaries. It's been said that "a worthless, dead swamp is just a river with no banks".  Having something to guide your "water" so it is productive and alive is critical.

(Cue wails from naysayers whining "But we don't want to live some boring, pre-determined, robotic life!")

Consider this: It's important to realize that having some kind of plan does NOT mean being restricted to everything being planned.  Life is too unpredictable to expect everything to go according to plan.  The most successful people create a "plan as of now based on what I know about the current circumstances - while being open to any opportunities that pop up that align with my definite dreams/desires" approach.  Having and working the initial plan, but always being aware of Life's surprises/options as they become available on the journey.

This allows you to realize your optimal potential - taking advantage of life's "surprises" when they happen, but in-between those moments, forging ahead towards goals you know you want (resisting those things you know you don't want!)

But it requires you to consider, decide, and take action!

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!