How much control do you have over your life and its happenings? Our lives are largely governed by outside forces; the four main forces being: where we live, where we work, whom we come into contact with and what we do in our free time.
If you were to take the time to consider each of these factors, you’d come to notice that, more likely than not, each of them came about somehow as if of their own accord. Consider where you live. Chances are that you are either living where you have been living for most of your life — where your parents decided to live — or you are living where your job/career took you.
The same goes for your career. You are most likely working a job that circumstances allowed you to work. It is rare for people to land their dream job; we usually settle for what is either available on Craigslist or what one of our friends was nice enough to hook us up with. Our friends aren’t even entirely chosen by us. Life threw people our way and because it was convenient at the time, we made friends.
This is all a bit disheartening, especially when considering that many of us feel as if we have little to no control over our lives as it is. This, however, is not to say that we cannot have any control over our lives — simply that most of us choose not to.
The general population is living their lives by default. We make smaller, less important decisions every day — such as what to eat or where to party, but even these decisions are governed by availability. In a sense, this is how life throws things — people and situations — our way.
Such opportunities are presented to us and we generally gladly accept, wanting to avoid having to struggle in order to search for alternatives. It makes sense. We all have so much to deal with as it is, that when life gives us a handout, many would think it stupid to refuse.
And that’s fine. If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. The problem arises when we come to realize that although squeezing lemons is fine and dandy, we never actually wanted to open up a lemonade stand. This is when we become aware of the conundrum: should we continue making lemonade, knowing that doing so will continue to bring us whatever prosperity we are currently experiencing, or should we follow our dreams and find something that will make us significantly happier?
It seems like a no-brainer. If we can be happier, more fulfilled, doing something other than what we are doing now — whether it be where we work, live or whom we hang out with — than we should pursue it, right? Then why is it that most of us refrain from change? Because we are afraid of it.
Change and uncertainty are joined at the hip. We may have a job that isn’t extraordinarily satisfying, but if it is stable we are likely to refrain from dropping it for the unknown. The same goes for our city of residence. How many of you can honestly tell me that the city and neighborhood — or even country — that you live in is the exact place that produces the most happiness within you?
Is there really no other place on earth imaginable that you could see yourself being happier living in? The truth is that you will never know until you try. This, of course, brings along uncertainty — and yes, it may turn out to be a negative experience. But since when has the of fear failure been a good enough reason to deter following your dreams or continuing the pursuit of happiness?
If you don’t try, then you will never know. This is where the concept of control comes in. Control is not always having the ability to create change for the better; it is the decision to create change. Control is having the guts to change different aspects of your life with the possibility of worsening your position within them.
Getting past your fears and taking control of your life, dropping whatever it is that needs to be dropped in order for you to progress in your life is not only admirable, but it is smart. Most of us claim to be searching for answers, searching for a meaning and a purpose.
How exactly are you searching? Searching actively requires change. You must experience different things, situations, people, homes, jobs, ways of life in order to claim that you are actually doing any searching. Staying stagnant and fearing change is not searching; it is conceding defeat and waving that white flag.
I am sure that you have some great friends. Just as I am sure that they are decent people. However, that does not mean that you can’t find friends somewhere else that better fit your needs and show you a different side of life. We often make friends and then keep them, not bothering to make new ones.
We think that because we have a handful of friends, there is no need to find new ones — so we stop looking. We stop interacting with people and we stop learning about the way that others see the world. A group of friends tend to develop a similar view of the world — a single view closed to alteration. There’s not only one version of the world — there are numerous versions. If you are not completely happy right now, then you need to change worlds.
Your life does not to be a long chain of accidents. You do not need to accept what life throws at your feet. Nothing worth having has ever come freely. If you are in a bind and are looking for a handout, then by all means -- if life throws you a freebie, take it.
However, understand that life is being nice — but never too nice. If anyone has ever found his life calling by complete chance, I have yet to hear of it. Life will often help you stay afloat, but you, yourself must be the one taking the reins and deciding where it is that you want to end up.
If you are unhappy then the only thing that you can do is grow a pair and dive into change headfirst. Be smart about it, do some research and plan, but once things look good, make sure to take that first and most important step. Life does not need to be an accident. You have the ability to control certain things; you just need to have the courage to do so.
Paul Hudson | Elite.
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