When I graduated from college I entered the real world. I was hesitant as I spent my college days having fun, rather than preparing for the years after.
When I graduated I was looking for a way to avoid the normal path of finding a job related to my degree to start building my career. So I kept working my retail job and looked into graduate school.
But this strategy was flawed. It was more about procrastination for me. It was about avoiding the difficult process of job hunting. It was about avoiding rejection when I was not chosen for an open position. It was about being able to stay out later and sleep in, not having to start work early in the morning.
At the time I was getting worse at managing my finances and my health. Both started to spiral out-of-control. I came to realize that I was very overweight from eating fast food and drinking too much alcohol. I was poor due to increasing expenses, a small income and a growing credit card debt. All of these were due to the fact that I made choices that put me there.
But if you would be able to go back and interview me at the time, you would probably hear a bunch of excuses and half-baked concepts around things being unfair.
I didn’t take any responsibility for my situation and felt it was forced upon me. I blamed the poor economy, the inability for hiring managers to see the value in a candidate, the flaws in the system etc.
I eventually snapped out of it. I ended up starting a company and learning that I have complete control over my situation. Things felt forced upon me at the time but it was actually due to numerous decisions and mental models I held that kept me trapped.
This wasn’t some magical thought that popped in my head and changed everything. It was more of a slow turning, where I would see over and over again something that contradicted my beliefs.
I started to realize that this wasn’t forced on me; it was me who chose exactly what I had. It was me who had to change in order to have any real success and freedom in my life.
So if you find yourself in a place where you think all of the bad things in your life are because of someone or something else, pause for a minute. There are certainly bad circumstances and bad luck that we all deal with from time to time. But in order to get past that and reach success, you will have to abandoned those notions about others controlling you and start to take complete control of your life.
To do this you have to take complete responsibility for your current situation. It might be difficult but if you can, it will unlock the ability to change.
You will see the control you do have in your life. That means that you will also start to see where you can make different decisions to get different results. This is empowering. This provides hope where you might otherwise feel hopeless.
Seeing your part clearly and taking full responsibility for your life opens you up for improvement. You can start to change the path forward. You can envision what you want out of life and then start working to achieve that dream. But if you can’t see that you have total control then you will always be waiting and hoping for someone or something else to come in and save you, and unfortunately that probably won’t happen because your decisions are pushing away from success not towards it.