"Does Life Happen to You?" from Tinybuddha.com
by Declan O’Flaherty
Declan lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is a plasterer, printer, and inventor but most importantly, a thinker. His passion is to constantly work on himself through meditations, mental exercises, visualizations, and affirmations.
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~Shakti
Does your life just happen to you?
Would it be safe to suggest that a lot of people wake up each morning, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch television, go to bed, and repeat the same course of events Monday through Friday without ever being fully conscious of what they’re doing?
The list of events listed above may differ for some people but the point is still the same. Does life just happen to you, or do you consciously plan your days ahead?
Do you live your life on automatic pilot for the most part?
Take an inventory of your daily routines and ask yourself if you are in the same situation emotionally and physically as you were last month, year, or even decade.
It’s very easy to dismiss such a notion of being on auto pilot for a large portion of your life. But if you don’t consciously create your desired outcome for a prosperous, successful, and happy life, then you are not living up to your true potential.
I know we all have certain responsibilities we must attend to on a daily basis, and I am certainly not suggesting we ignore our responsibilities and go chasing our dreams without attending to these first. What I am saying though, is you also have a responsibility to yourself.
The question you need to ask is whether or not you would respect the decisions you have made in life if nothing had changed in the next 10, 20, or 30 years. No doubt your life will be different in 30 years–but will it be from you taking control or because life just changed (as it does) and you coasted along on automatic pilot.
I have met many people who are not living up to even close to what they are capable of. The worse thing is that they don’t make any effort whatsoever to change their circumstances. They obviously want to have a better life, but it’s as if they’re hoping things will magically get better for them further down the line.
There are also a lot of people who convince themselves that life is so hard and that good things only happen to a select group of people, or that some people are just lucky and life favors some and not others. Fortunately this is not the case at all.
We are all the masters of our own destiny, and if you put the work in you will undoubtedly see positive results.
Changing your life for the better is not about completely changing everything at once. The first step in creating a better life for yourself is to be consciously aware of the direction you are heading.
The choices you make have consequences and the thoughts you entertain affect the choices you make. So the best place to start if you want to change your life is to change your thinking.
When we really and truly take full responsibility for our thoughts and subsequent actions, we can never blame anyone or anything for the way our life is today. It’s not what happens outside that affects our lives; it’s the reaction we have to what happens outside that affects our lives.
Imagine two people looking at any given situation but both have a different reaction to it. How these two people see the event will determine their experience. Thus, the experience creates a different reality in the mind of both people.
That’s how life works: our interpretations and experiences are a direct result of our reactions. If we believe that life is hard, then guess what–it will be.
If we want to change our lives for the better, we need to start with ourselves, and the first step is by controlling our thoughts.
If you haven’t made a conscious effort before to monitor your thoughts then you may not realize that your mind makes up its own stories and you are not in control until you actually take control. I’m going to suggest a powerful exercise that I have used for myself.
For 30 days you must make a conscious effort to challenge your negative thoughts to create a stronger sense of control over your future.
Every time you notice a negative thought, replace it with a more positive perspective.
Whenever you notice that you are doubting yourself, do the same as above and replace with an opposite and positive thought.
A couple of times each day, stop what you are doing and notice how you are feeling; then ask yourself what you were thinking. What you are thinking affects how you’re feeling.
Don’t criticize anybody for any reason, either in person or in your head. This is one of the biggest energy-destroying, negative thought processes a person can have; and almost everybody does it on a day to day basis.
Make a conscious effort every day to praise somebody for even the simplest of things. Just a simple comment to somebody can create their day. Depending on the comment, it can also destroy their day. Words are powerful, and they can change lives.
These exercises help me become more conscious of my mind to get a better understanding of how often it limits me when not monitored. If you stick to this exercise and make the effort to work hard at each step, you will see changes. Our thoughts have no power other than the power we give them.
Your conscious mind couldn’t care less whether you think negative thoughts or positive thoughts, but it makes a huge difference to you and your life. You are not your mind, you are the person who can control what the mind thinks. Take responsibility for your thoughts and then take responsibility for the life you create. One thought, one decision, one action at a time.