The cause is always greater than the effect. So you either have results or you have reasons why you don’t have the results. These days it’s a whole lot more common to make excuses for failure, than it is to hear people talking about the great results they have.
You’ll hear people (on the reason side of the equation) saying, “Oh, you know, I can’t do this because my partner won’t let me.” “I can never be that because I can’t afford it.” “I’m not smart enough.” “I’m not rich enough.” “I’m not good enough.” “I didn’t go to the right school.” “My VCE results weren’t high enough.” … Whatever it is – these people are usually pointing fingers and creating blame – “It’s your fault that I didn’t do it, it’s all because of you, you don’t pay me enough, …you don’t do enough, … you don’t teach me, …you can’t show me.” Then they complain how tough it is when things don’t turn out the way they wanted them to.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that you start to believe the stories you tell yourself about life. If you keep providing yourself (or others) with reasons why you couldn’t achieve your goals, complete your tasks, or whatever the problem is, your unconscious mind starts to believe it and you fulfill your own predictions.
The other side of the coin is the people who take responsibility for the things that happen in their life. You might hear these people say, “Even though my partner isn’t keen on me doing this I have shown him how important it is to me and he has agreed.” or “I’m smart enough to figure out how to get what I want if I work hard.” Or even, My VCE results weren’t high enough to get straight into the course I wanted so I found another way to prove my ability and get accepted.”
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is actually a very empowering process because it enables you to move beyond your past and become a creator not a victim – but it’s not a passive process, it requires action. A lot of people get into affirmations, and visualising outcomes in the way it talks about in “The Secret”, and Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” – and these are an important part of setting and achieving goals … as long as you take the ACTIONS needed to fulfil them!
I recently had a woman call me up and say, “I put a goal in my future, how come it didn’t happen?”
So I asked, “What action did you take towards that goal?”
“Nothing. I just sat and waited. I sent out good thoughts.”
Sometimes things can manifest that way, I’m not denying that it’s possible, but usually if something’s worth having you have to put some energy into it.
We all have two choices to make in our lives, and those choices will pretty much determine how satisfying our lives are. We can Cause things to happen in our world, or we can experience the Effect of outside forces. We can either be a Creator, or a Victim and it really is our choice to make.
Now, if we’ve made our choice, that doesn’t mean we are stuck with it forever. I was working with a person who had been sexually abused when she was 9 years old, and 40 years later she could still summon all the anger, shame and grief she had felt 40 years earlier when the abuse had happened. I want to be really clear here, sexual abuse is not something I would ever condone, and I’m passionate about fighting it, but this person had held onto all that negative emotion for 40 years – and do you know who she had damaged most? Herself. She had hyperthyroidism and a lot of other physical manifestations of her anger, grief and shame.
I believe strongly that there is a close connection between what happens in our minds, and what happens in our bodies because I saw this client’s health improve dramatically when she let go of negative mental emotions. When she consented to let go of all the negative emotions – anger, shame and guilt – from her past and recognise that they were binding her to it, both she and her doctor noticed improvements in her thyroid condition – as well as many of the other dis-eases which had plagued her.
Look, terrible things do happen to people – things we can’t change – and events that have terrible consequences. But we always have one part in our control. We can choose to hold onto the grief, shame, misery etc. or we can choose to let them go. If we hold onto them, we make ourselves a victim and bind ourselves to the perpetrator or to the event. If we let go – and I do mean ‘let go’ not ‘suppress’ – then we can remain the creators of our lives and walk free.
Nelson Mandela is probably one of the greatest examples of this in our time. He suffered terribly under Apartheid South Africa and he could have promoted a culture of victimisation and revenge. Instead, he did his best to move his country forward to create a new future and a new identity. It was a creative and courageous act – that we can imitate on a smaller scale.
Life is tough, and it can be very, very painful but we all have choices. If your life isn’t looking the way you want it ask yourself: “Am I making excuses about the things I’d like, but don’t have – and explaining why I don’t have them, or am I setting my goals, and then taking action to make them happen?”
Maybe they won’t happen as fast as you’d like them to, but they will arrive a whole lot faster than they will if you sit there and complain.
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