For a long time, I was unhappy. I was fat, broke, and miserable. Maybe I was depressed, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, I didn’t like my life, and I wanted something better. I waited and waited but nothing ever improved.
Eventually I hit bottom. I wasn’t willing to allow myself to sink any lower, so I decided to make some changes.
I started by taking control of my finances. I began to read about saving and investing. As I read, I put what I learned into practice. It didn’t happen overnight — in fact, it took years — but I paid off my credit cards and put money into savings. Today, I’m debt-free and have a substantial nest egg.
After putting my financial house in order, I decided to take control of my fitness. I began to read about exercise and nutrition. As I read, I put what I learned into practice. Again the changes happened slowly, but they did happen. Within a couple of years, I had lost fifty pounds and put on muscle. More importantly, I’d changed my eating habits and made exercise a part of my daily life.
It’s been said that success breeds success. That was certainly true in my case. Each positive change I made helped me to understand that I could make other positive changes. I realized that nobody cares more about my life than I do. If I want to be happy, I need to be in charge of that happiness. I can’t wait for anyone (or anything) to bring it to me.
I am responsible for my own well-being. And you are responsible for yours.
As children, we’re conditioned that we need permission to do things. You need permission from your parents to leave the dinner table or to go outside and play. You need permission from your teacher to go to the bathroom.
Even as adults, we often feel we need permission. You need permission from your boss to leave work early. You need permission from your spouse to hang out with your friends instead of cleaning the bathroom.
Like many folks, I grew up with an external locus of control. I thought my fate was largely determined by the people and events around me. This wasn’t a conscious belief, but it was always there, underlying everything I felt and did. As a result, I waited for things to happen. I needed permission to take risks or to try new things.
That’s no longer the case.
I’ve spent the past ten years reclaiming my life. I’ve shifted to an internal locus of control. I’ve come to realize that I’m in charge of my own destiny, and that it’s my responsibility to live a life I love. This means that I need to:
- Avoid excuses.
- Ask for what I want.
- Own my decisions.
- React constructively to adversity.
- Collect (and take advantage of) opportunities.
- Let go of the things that no longer work.
- Ignore the opinion of others.
- Act — even when I’m afraid.
If you’re unhappy, nobody else is going to make things better for you. You have to make things better for yourself. Concentrate on the things you can control, and use that control to fix the other things that are broken. This will grant you even more control over your future well-being.
You live in a world of your own creation. You have the power of choice. You create your own certainty. Live your life as you want to live it, and do so without regret. Give yourself permission to do so.