Events are happening in all of our lives, at all times. We interpret these events and add our meaning to them, as a result of our experience, conditioning and beliefs. You could say that the meanings we apply to events become our frame of reference to make sense of what is going on.

Some people see things half full and others see them half empty. Both points of view are valid, but one is more empowering than the other.

At one time in my life (I suspect like many other people too) I felt very disempowered and felt that life and events around me were responsible for how I felt and how my successful career was falling apart. In other words I took no responsibility – it was out of my hands and in the hands of everyone else.
Sadly this road leads to one of being a “victim”, disempowerment and possibly depression or worse.

I now term this kind of spiral as one of being insignificant. Insignificance often leads to two unfortunate states. One such state is apathy – “why bother to do anything when I have no personal power?” Another major state that can occur is frustration. At least frustration can lead to a sense that something has to be done. When you reach a point of frustration and say enough is enough then change can happen. When locked in apathy it is literally a moribund state.
Victor Frankl wrote an outstanding book called “Man’s search for meaning” (1959) based upon his experiences in a German Concentration Camp. Most of us cannot imagine the horrors that he witnessed personally on a daily basis. He observed however that “hope” was essential for survival, but so many fellow prisoners slipped into apathy.

By remaining in a state of insignificance and apathy it is a form of complete suppression. The longer you suppress and accept an undesirable situation the harder it is to break free of disempowerment. In fact you may have to relearn empowering things like hope, joy, happiness and love. Fortunately we now know that our brains do have “plasticity” so you really can “teach an old dog new tricks”. Many stroke victims have to do just that – they rewire their brains so that they can regain their lives back. New neural pathways must be created.
OK so there has been a lot of focus in this article on apathy and disempowerment, now what are the real keys to starting on the road to empowerment? Well Frankl quite clearly puts “hope” as an important step in the right direction. Can you attain a sense of being hopeful? If that is a stretch from where you are right now, ask yourself, has anyone else in my situation found way out? If the answer to that is yes – it can help turn your own beliefs around. You can research, read and often listen to their stories and “model” the steps they took.

The rocket fuel to change and ultimately arriving at achievement is knowing your WHY. I meet so many people who when asked what they have or would like to have as goals, trot out things like “a new car, a new house, money, travel” etc. These things may be true, but often they are the “consumer society” ideas of what you should want. In other words they are someone else’s dreams and goals implanted in your mind (yes advertising really does work!).

To get to your real why, any achievement or goal has to be authentic to you. The attaining of what you want will lead you to the real why, not just to the thing or object but to the actual “end state” you want – it may be freedom, security, self respect, happiness or some other “feeling state”.

So I hope you can see that to break free of insignificance and apathy, you have to find a way to have hope and from that new empowering vantage point, work on your real emotional, driving reasons to attain achievement and significance

Author's Bio: 

After a successful career in Retail Banking, became a consultant working for many international blue chips around the world. Now focusing on human capital and individual development through coaching and mentoring.