It’s not what happens to us in our lives, but what we do with what happens that makes the true difference. This is a notion, a truth, that has its roots in 100% responsibility, and this is precisely why many people do not believe or agree with it and often respond with anger to it.
When you look at your life, you have to understand that you must take all the responsibility for where you are right now. Your current situation is the product of your thoughts and actions up to this point.
As an example, someone not in agreement with this notion might say, “But wait a minute, that’s not fair! I wasn’t given a fair chance growing up. Don’t you know that I had an awful childhood? My father was an abusive alcoholic, and I spent most of the time being terrified. It scarred me, marked me for life. This terrible situation has meant that I cannot properly relate to other people. I fear people, I fear confrontation of any sort. I just keep remembering back to how awful it was growing up. How am I responsible for that?”
The answer is that this person is not responsible for what happened. He is no more responsible for what happened to him than is the man whose house is ripped apart by a tornado is responsible for the tornado.
However, he is totally responsible for how he handled the situation, what it meant to him, and what he did with it. He has decided that it means he fears and can’t relate to other people, that he’s scarred for life, and that he constantly dwells on the situations of his childhood. This has been his response, and it has caused his life to take a particular direction.
What he needs to do is to accept full responsibility for his response and his current situation, and look to change the meaning of the experiences of his childhood. The great thing about this is that he does get to choose what it means to him. He can choose to make it an empowering experience or a destructive one.
Most people don’t understand that they actually do have a conscious choice in such matters. They fumble through life, continually reacting to what happens to them, ever at the mercy of their emotions and negative thoughts. And they wonder why they’re sad all the time and nothing ever works out for them.
The example I used above was not just one that I made up. I described my own life in this example. For many years, I went around just as I described in the previous paragraph until I gained the awareness that I could change things.
My childhood experience is now a precious gift that I use to help others who wander around in darkness as I once did. I understand where such people are coming from, and I have the knowledge that the future does not have to be like the past. I have a unique perspective from which to help people because of what I experienced as a child.
You can’t change the wind, but you can change your sails.
From this moment, you now have the awareness that you can change your emotions (sails) around any situation (wind) that has occurred in your life, and you can change the meaning to something that serves you and takes you in the direction you truly desire to go.
Dante Petrilla has been studying the success literature for the past decade and used the techniques and skills he learned to turn his own life completely around. He transformed himself from a depressed person to a happy person once he learned to direct the focus of his thoughts and emotions. The one thing he found that made the techniques he learned so effective was the use positive affirmations to install them into everyday thinking. Dante is also a writer who enjoys writing in the personal development area.
Dante is also a memory training expert, and has written the book How to Memorize Anything with The Secret of Your Perfect Memory which is available on Amazon. He is also in the process of turning this into an audio book, which will be available in the near future.
Dante is an AUNLP certified life coach and NLP Master Practitioner, member of the American University of NLP, and also a Global Sciences Foundation member. He is now making a deeper study of NLP in order to implement what he has learned on his journey so that he might impart that knowledge and help others.