Many people want to take charge of their life, but simply don’t know how to. It’s one thing to understand that taking charge is important and another thing to actually do it. If you’re looking for tips that will help you, keep reading!
I wasn’t always in charge of my life. For my first 16 years, other people and circumstances ruled everything. I had no control whatsoever and my life looked, well, out of control.
I was sailing in the sea of life without a captain and was knocked around from side to side, crashing and tumbling when strong winds came. Without direction, without resources, with no captain and no crew to support me, every breeze turned into a storm.
For every two steps forward, I took one step back. Even when I made progress, I still felt I was going nowhere.
Changes first began when I learned the first lesson of taking charge: Responsibility.
Before you continue reading, stop and ask yourself, “What do I feel and imagine when I think of the word ‘responsibility’?”
For me, when I first started, the answer was: heavy, hard, taking blame, grownups, too much, burden, etc. And my view of responsibility affected how I behaved. I didn’t really know what responsibility meant, so I tried to push it away from me.
I took no responsibility and got nowhere.
At the age of 16, I was unwell, a troublemaker, had no friends and got bad grades. At home, I fought with my parents and my siblings. My life was a very unpleasant ride. I hated every second of it.
And then, I woke up!
I realized that all I did was blame others for everything that didn’t go my way. I was like a baby.
Babies cry every time they need something and they can’t get it themselves. Unfortunately, many grownups are still babies. If things don’t happen the way they want, they cry. The problem is that the more we cry, the more helpless we feel.
I was on an automatic pilot. I was stuck. I had negative thoughts.
I was a baby until the age of 16, when I started taking responsibility. Instead of resorting to crying and blaming, I asked myself, “What can I do right now to make things better for myself?”
Have you heard the phrase, “seek and you shall find”? Well, I asked the questions long enough and the answers started coming. I felt powerful!
Better or bitter
With responsibility, and the good things that happened to me within a short time, I learned the second lesson: Choice.
In life, we may not control what happen to us, but we can always control what we do about. At any point in time we have the choice, to take the bad things that happen to us and choose to be bitter or better. We can choose to be bitter and go into baby mode and cry. Or we can take the situation and learn from it, use it as an opportunity to be a better version of ourselves.
I changed my life from whining to winning, from surviving to thriving, from complaining to complimenting, from taking to giving, from looking backwards to looking forward, from comfort zone to exploration. Life took a turn for the better. I changed path, left the old version of me behind, and made room for the new me.
I experienced joy, friendships, academic success and wonderful relationships at home. I had a boyfriend (I still have him), I published my first poetry book, I was a class representative, a school captain and the editor of the school newsletter.
I even got a scholarship for excellence. I was chosen to represent my country in a youth delegation overseas. And I was healthy.
This new path opened up to me in a very short time. I took me 10 weeks to change the direction of my life. Yes, 10 weeks!
I remember making the decision after I received a letter at the end of Term 3 telling me that I could not continue to attend school the following year. By the end of Term 4, my life had changed completely, and I finished high school with flying colors, and continued to higher education.
Success breeds success
Only when I was on the good side of life, I learned the third lesson in life: Success.
You see, on the dark side of life, I thought some people are just lucky. They’re born to the right parents, at the right time, with the right name, the right amount of money, the right siblings, with talents, skills and beauty. I was jealous of others for all the things they had, and I didn’t.
I created the story of being a victim of circumstances and used it to comfort myself every time I failed. And every time things didn’t happen the way I wanted to. As long as I thought like that, success was not part of my life.
What happened as soon as I experienced success was amazing. It was like dominos.
Every small success led me to another success. I first conquered my literature exam. Then, chemistry. Then, I passed biology and then physics. And when I entered the following year, with confidence from these successes, I experienced some form of success roughly every two weeks.
The problem was that I had to be successful to understand that success breeds success. I couldn’t get it when I was failing. From that moment on, I knew that all I needed was to accumulate successes and that even the smallest successes added up.
I set small goals for myself every day. Read a book, summarize a class, collect articles for a newsletter, attend a school captain meeting, go to the movies, babysit to make some pocket money, clean my room, make dinner, help a friend, enjoy a party, and so on.
I ticked every little thing I achieved on my goal list and felt powerful. The more success I ticked, the more successful I became.
When I was 18 years old, someone very close to me died. His name was David. He was an old man and I loved him very much. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye and the loss was so big that I learned the fourth lesson: death.
All personal development theories, religious and spiritual traditions tell us to remember death. They don’t want to scare us. They want us to appreciate life.
I was afraid of death, and when David died, I realized that the real fear was not of dying but of not truly living.
I kept asking myself years later, “What would David do if he had an opportunity to live another year, another 5 years or, like me, another 60 or 70 years?” And I realized that since we never know when we’re going to die, we must live life to the fullest while we can.
Sadly, I’ve already had reminders of the importance of remembering death several times since, like losing a baby. Every time, I understood again that the reason we need to remember death is not to be afraid, but to learn to appreciate life. By remembering death, we can choose to make the best of it.
In my book In the Outback with Jasmine Banks, I explored the concept of remembering death. In the book, journalist Jay Banks gets the chance of a lifetime to interview the dying world-famous author Katherine Johnson.
In her wildest dreams, Jay could not predict the unusual encounter with Katherine Johnson would shake her and make her question every important aspect of her life. Suddenly, every action, feeling, relationship and choice is cast in doubt.
Recently, I took a part in a summit called “It Starts with You: How to create the life you desire, live joyfully and release limiting beliefs, hosted by Faiza Sheikh-Mian.
It All Starts with YOU!
I’m currently collaborating with Faiza and 20 other experts. We want to help people thrive, not just survive, nourish their mind, body & soul, find their power within and let go of limiting beliefs. This will help you create the life you want and transform your reality.
The summit is totally FREE, and everyone can register and enjoy a range of inspiring gifts donated by the experts.
The summit is amazing, and every speaker shares how to fully step into connecting with your best self, live in possibility and shift mindset in order to reach positive overall wellness.
I believe that now, during the COVID-19 outbreak, when there’s so little certainty, it’s a great opportunity to step forward and take charge of your life. The many tips and strategies covered in this summit should make this much easier for you.
So go ahead and register right now, because the event only runs for 21 days and it’s already started. You can watch it from anywhere in the world and claim your FREE gifts full of insights.
Remember the lessons: responsibility, better and bitter, success breeds success and remember death. They’ve helped me take charge of my life. I hope they will inspire you to take charge of your life too.
Happiness is a choice,