Who’s in charge of your life?

I don’t know about you, but I was told from my earliest days that I needed to become “the master of my own destiny.”

I always struggled to make sense of that statement.

First of all, destiny? Really? That seemed like some relic of a superstitious age. But increasingly and ironically, I realise that the first step toward becoming such a master is to recognise that we are NOT the master of our own destiny.

“What?! But I can do whatever I want in my life, with the right technology and intelligence!”

Wrong. But this is deep stuff, so it’s best for another time.

For now, let’s pick at my own hypocrisy and misunderstanding around this idea.

Yes that's me...

Aw… Look how innocent he is. Oh how things have changed…

I was brought up to believe that if I sufficiently distanced myself from others, materially, emotionally and mentally, then I would be in charge of my life.

One a level, this is true. But is that what is actually happening here?

You see, we are, all of us, dependent. Nature feeds us, clothes us, shelters us.

We are brought screaming and crying into a world that takes away some of the automatic nurturing that we enjoyed in the womb.

We don’t like that very much, so on a less than immediately obvious level, we can fall into the trap of seeking the comfort of the womb throughout life.

As we get bigger and bigger, even into our “prime”, we search for more ways to be dependent, so unrecognised as such that we often don’t realise.

But here’s a wake up call!

So I’m going to get a job and then I’ll be the master of my own destiny… Nope, now you’re dependent on an employer.

So I’m going to drop out of the “mainstream” and do things my own way… Nope, now you’re likely even more reliant on those around you or the public services you already use in abundance.

Not that I think people shouldn’t use crutches from time to time – certainly they should! If we tried to constantly walk on a broken leg, it would not repair.

HOWEVER, it should be a conscious decision.

Instead most people will trade their mother, for the nanny state, for an employer, for friends, for their addictive tendencies, or for another of the many tasty nipples we are given open access to.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

It may be that it is indeed impossible to truly be the master of our own destinies in the world we have created.

Yet, there are degrees of control you can have over your life.

You can choose how you respond to your emotions. They’re your emotions. No one else “made” you have them, so stop blaming them for it.

You can choose what thoughts are allowed to cycle around your mind. Patterns of thought are often heavily influenced by the types of input we allow into own mind. Do you watch crap on the TV, or read heavily biased opinions in the papers? Then it’s your own damn fault!

You can choose how to conduct your material affairs. Do you eat as well as you know you should? Do you move as much as you know you should? Do you keep tabs on your finances as often as you know you should? Honestly? There’s probably at least one “no” in there, so again, it’s up to you.

Photo by Severin Höin on Unsplash

No one else is responsible for you.

I can’t even help you. Which may sound like a silly thing for me to tell you, since I this is how I make a living.

But fundamentally it’s true and I speak for every other guide, coach, mentor etc.

The only person who can help you is you. The words may come from my mouth, but it’s your ears that are ready to hear them. They wouldn’t if they weren’t.

My role as a guide would be redundant if everyone realised that. But they won’t.

Why? Because it’s so deceptively simple, that we just cannot wrap our confused noodles around it.

The truth is I would love to make myself redundant in this role. I believe the world would be a much better place if I didn’t need to do it.

But until that is the case, it is my job to support you, over time, in having this simple truth dawn on you.

Repeat after me: “I have everything I need at all times.” Say it again and again.

But you’ll – oh so subtly – convince yourself that this cannot be true. “Look at my finances, look at my home, look at my relationship”, I hear you say.

So I’ll keep on whispering the truth and as it gradually drops in, your life will gradually get better.

Photo by Ricardo Aguilera on Unsplash

Give this exercise a try this week

Look for how you are not taking responsibility for yourself and reclaim as much control as you can.

Step 1 – Are you having trouble with someone in your life? Why? You see often when we are blaming and complaining about others, we are – in that exact moment – doing the same thing to someone else or are clinging to some unhelpful self-righteousness. So think about the last person you complained about. Are you seeing a part of yourself in them that you don’t like about yourself?

Step 2 – Do you recognise that the media solely distributes opinion? There’s very little, if any deep truth in it. Not that the people involved know that. They are convinced that opinions are the gold we all need! So stop it, right now. There’s no more need for you to digest this crap. Commit to going without any media – books, TV, movies, radio, music etc – for a week and notice the results in your life.

Step 3 – Do you know how much money you’re going to have at the end of each month for the next 6 months? If not, how can you possibly make reasonable decisions about how to spend/save money as needed to move you forward toward this great destiny you want to be the master of?

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

A final thought, then I’ll leave you to it.

Take responsibility for yourself as much as you can. It may take some time, but you can do it. Perhaps with a little accountability.

This search for mastery goes a long way. Would you like to start your own country (half joking)? Are you ready to become one of the few adults in our society right now?

Whatever comes next, I wish you well.

Best wishes,
David Schofield