It’s My Life

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” –Brian Tracy

The difference between people who succeed and those who do not really boils down to one thing: accepting responsibility. Successful people accept responsibility for the outcomes in their lives–regardless.

Like Tracy says, you may not be able to control what happens to you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t control your life. You can. You can control, as he says, your attitude about it, and you can also change your reaction to it. But if you don’t accept that responsibility, if you don’t take control of your life, you’ll likely never be successful, and dare I say it, never be happy with your life.

It sounds simple, but it’s actually quite difficult. It’s easy to say, “It’s my life! I’m in charge!” But it’s much harder to really begin to think and act that way.

I always teach my students that we change our behaviors by first changing our speech. Because the way we talk affects the way we think, and the way we think affects the way we feel, and the way we think and feel affects the way we behave.

To be successful, then, we must begin to embrace the language of success on a regular basis, such that we change not just our word choice but also our internal dialogue–the way we think. When we think like successful people, when we think like people in charge, we will feel empowered–like people in charge of their own lives. And then we will begin to take more and more purposeful actions towards success. We will behave like the successful people we want to be. We will behave like people in charge of their own lives, people responsible for what happens to them, people who can control their attitudes about the negative things in their lives. And we will see more and more success.

Of course, it’s much easier to surrender that control to someone or something else, to believe that life–the good, the bad–just happens to us, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s easier to pass the buck, and in many ways, our society teaches us that’s the way to go. “It’s not my fault; it’s ” is a familiar refrain. But if we take that easier route, we shouldn’t be surprised to find we have difficulty achieving our goals, achieving the successes we want for ourselves.

If we’re ready to change, it starts with language: it’s my life; I’m in charge.” And making that language a habit. Because that’s how we’ll change the way we think from “there’s nothing I can do about it” to “I have options that include X,Y,Z.” That’s how we’ll change feelings of powerlessness to feelings of power, and how we’ll change the outcomes in our lives.

Easy-peasy, right? 😉

I always tell my students: ” If there’s one and only one thing you learn this semester, it should be this.” And I hope some of them do learn it.

And I try to embrace the lesson as often as possible myself.

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1 Comment

Filed under Higher Ed, My Opinion, Teaching & Learning

One response to “It’s My Life

  1. Love this so much. In my teaching days I learned that people in poverty often feel as if they aren’t in control so their actions aren’t very important. You DO have to teach the opposite.


    Sent from my iPhone

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