There is large polarity in people who think they have no control over their lives, and those who think they control everything. I believe both are extremes and thus inaccurate. The question then becomes, what is the proper balance?
There are those who will blame all their failures on their circumstances. And there are those who will say that we are exactly where we are in life because of every single decision we made in our lives. I think circumstances do play a role. About one percent. Decisions play 99%.
A circumstance is what happens to us. A decision is what we decide to do about it. A decision, in effect, then creates new circumstances. It’s a cycle. It can be a vicious cycle if we don’t know how to make good decisions, for then we are at the prey of all circumstances. We become prey to our circumstances when we forget that we have decision making power to change some of our circumstances or the power to cause new circumstances to be (at least in the realm of possibility).
The flip side is that no matter how good we get at making quality decisions, there will always be new circumstances that will push and challenge us. Thank God. That’s what makes life interesting.
Again, easier said than done. What helps me remember is the quote “Success is a journey, not a destination.” When I find myself in a place where I am dissatisfied with certain aspects of my life, I tend to think that my quality decisions of the past didn’t help. That’s bad thinking. Those quality decisions did help me to have a successful journey. Because it wasn’t a destination, I need to make new quality decisions to change what I am not happy with now. It’s time to continue the cycle in the direction I want, rather than let those pesky circumstances take over again.
I found myself in this trap not too long ago. And my awesome sister helped me. She reminded me of the quote I already knew. Timing is everything. That’s why it is so important to share good things with others, because when you need them for yourself, people will give them back to you.
Like a good sister, she also went the extra mile. She drew up a beautiful “Certificate of Success” which had a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Success is: to laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Here’s another strategy. Be responsible. Responsibility is the feeling of accountability that allows us to create results, rather than use our circumstances as an excuse to justify our lack of results. Why are we responsible only for certain things? Usually at our work and with our family. Why not hold a level of responsibility to our friends? A responsibility of having integrity and desire for them to become better people. Why not hold a level of responsibility to our neighborhoods and communities? And here’s a concept. Why not hold a level of responsibility to ourselves? To be our word. To keep our promises. To make our lives complete and to live life fully. That is called integrity. We are all responsible for the quality and depth of our own lives.
Let's love the world together...
Danish Ahmed, blind visionary