CAN you really take control of your life or is this just a catchy headline designed to grab your attention?
Do you want to take control of your life or should you just go with the flow?
The answer is yes, yes, yes and a bit of a no.
More on that in a minute but first let’s deal with the ‘no’ bit because there’s always someone who’ll say ‘no’ to any question. So I’ll say up front – of course you can’t control everything in your life but that’s not to say you can’t take control of your life. I’ll explain.
I’m not daft or naive and I’m not living in cloud cuckoo or woo-woo land (appealing though that might sometimes sound). No, I am well and truly placed on the terra firma of real life where things happen to us outside our control.
Sad, bad and good things happen in life. People get ill, people get hurt, people fall in love, relationships fail, loved ones die. Whether the result of the natural order or the consequence of human input, all are part of the experience of being alive.
BUT this doesn’t mean everything is outside your control. This is a bit of ‘no’ rather than a full-blown no because even accepting things happen outside your control you can still take charge of your reaction. Of course you’ll grieve and be upset, but you can have the emotional resilience to allow you to feel it, cope with it and move on with life in time.
Taking control includes your reaction and response to things you can’t change. It’s about shifting your perspective until you can accept them and move on. I’m not saying it’s easy to do, but that is ultimately the choice we all have.
Now that’s been said let’s look at why you should say a great big yes to taking control of your life.
Do you absolutely love your life and think everything about it is totally amazing and just how you want it to be?
Have you reached where you want to be in your career or business? Have you achieved what you want to achieve? Are you as fit or healthy as you want to be? Are you happy and fulfilled?
If so – congratulations, why are you reading this?
If so, like most people, there’s something you want to change in your life.
It might be one thing, a specific aspect of your life like your job, career, weight, husband (maybe that’s a bit harsh), your income, creativity, confidence, business, and skills. Or maybe you’re after a major shift and want to make big life changes.
Whatever it is, however big or small, the notion of taking control lies at the heart of change. Taking control is critical to getting change in your life.
Not in an aggressive macho domineering type of way but from a place of realisation and acceptance that you have the ability to take charge of your life.
It sounds simple and may seem like stating the obvious, but unless you’re at a point where you realise it’s up to you and nobody else to make the changes you want, you’re living life on other people’s terms. You’re fulfilling others’ expectations of you rather than your own expectations of yourself.
If you’re familiar with the word efficacy you’ll know it means ‘the power to produce an effect’. I love this word! I like the way it sounds when spoken out loud and what it means. This is what taking control of life is about, – knowing you have the power to produce an effect.
It’s the fundamental concept that you have belief in your ability to influence events affecting you. So is often called self-efficacy in this context, and Dr Pratt and Dr Lambrou sum it up nicely:
“When you have self-efficacy, it means the source and centre of control in your life is internal, not external. Misfortunes and other external influences cannot completely throw you, because you see yourself as being at the ‘cause’ rather than at the ‘effect’ of circumstances. You cannot always ‘fix’ the circumstance or solve the external problem, but you can always shift how you perceive it.”
Pratt, G. and Lambrou, P. Code To Joy, 2012, Harper Collins, p.137
If you don’t believe in your ability to influence what happens to you, you risk a victim mentality where things are done to you. In this victim role there’s something or someone else to blame for how things are in your life. There are circumstances or people responsible for stopping you living the life you want. While at best there may be good reasons for thinking this way, or at worst it’s a convenient excuse for not doing what you want, it wont get you any nearer to the life you want.
It doesn’t have to be like this if you take on board that within you lies the power to make the decision to do things differently from how you’ve done them in the past.
“Taking control means taking responsibility for your life – not in a boring, dull or dutiful way but in a joyful exciting and freeing way. “
Taking control starts and ends with you.
Do you want to experience the liberating effect of taking control of your life?
Are you ready to be empowered to change your life?
Follow these steps to start today.
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