Most of us have blamed our behaviors, choices and, perhaps, even lives, on someone else at some point in our lives. We think if only we had better parents, a kinder spouse, more friends, grew up in a better neighborhood, etc., our life and how we step into our life would be different—better. Sometimes we can hold on to this story for our entire lives, constantly blaming our lack of success, poor relationships, low self-esteem, etc. on circumstances “beyond our control.” We can hold on to resentment at our parents, anger at a life-altering event and be bitter about what we feel is unfair until the day we die. Somehow we fool ourselves into thinking that holding these feelings takes the onus of the trajectory of our life off of us. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way; nothing and no one determines our fate except our choices and ourselves.
There are countless examples throughout history of people who suffered tremendous hardship, pain and abuse only to go on and thrive in their lives. There are as many examples of people who were born into loving homes with all the advantages possible, who went on the struggle most of their lives. There are some kids who grow up with so much money they don’t know what to do with it who end up not being able to create a healthy, successful life for themselves. There are other kids who grew up homeless and in poverty, who use these circumstances to drive them to succeed.
Our circumstances do not determine who will become, how we will walk in the world or whether we will succeed or fail. Regardless of the environment in which we were raised, the friends we hung out with or the events that happen along the way—ultimately we determine where we end up. Although everything that happens to us in life influences us, none of it determines us. The difference between the kid raised with a silver spoon in his mouth, who blames his wealth for his floundering and the kid who blames her tenacity and success on her struggles with growing up homeless is in large part how they frame their stories. There’s a famous quote that says, “What the mind believes, the body achieves”—the wealthy child believed his wealth condemned him…and he played that belief out for most of his life. The child raised in poverty believes poverty strengthened her and gave her determination and fortitude…and she lives that belief out every day.
Often the biggest obstacle to creating the life of our dreams is…us. Sometimes all we have to do to change our lives is to just dare to get the hell out of our own way. We have to stop blaming our parents, our spouses and our “bad luck” and instead look at how we’re sabotaging our own success. When we have the courage to not only look at our side, but change it as well—that’s when magical things happen.
Challenge: If you’re not happy about how your life or relationship is going, change it, don’t explain it. Get out of your own way. Change your thinking, change your actions, change your life.