The beginning of this year is like no other. And January 2018 will be the same – like no other start to any other new year. The country is on edge as we move into this new year, uncertain of what will happen next.
And the same is true of life. What exactly is coming next? Will this be the year you experience a breakthrough in your health, your job, your relationships or with your children?
Do you have control over what comes next?
If what’s coming is a tsunami, tornado, hurricane or earthquake then the obvious answer is – no, you have no control.
But what about the rest of life? What about your finances, investments, income level, relationships, health, stress or the myriad of other things that occupy the mind? Do you have control? Do you FEEL like you have control?
The reality is that you both have control and have no control. How that’s possible is an interesting fact of life that has been the truth since Adam took his first step.
In the first place, yes you have control. Psychologists and behavioral scientists have found an equation that helps them help more people and will help you enjoy more success.
Your thoughts create feelings.
Your feelings drive your actions.
Your actions predict your success.
But, while simple, it isn’t always easy. For instance, if your thoughts are at the root of your success in any area of life – how do you change your thoughts?
If your feelings drive your actions, how do you spark the motivation you need to take the right actions?
If actions predict your success, then how do you find the courage to take the right action?
The reality is that you DO have control over much of what happens in your life through your actions. When you make a decision, take an action, there are consequences. Sometimes the consequences are positive and sometimes they are negative. Sometimes the results are what you anticipate, and other times the results are completely different from what you expected.
This is the second part of the equation. This is the part of life over which it appears you don’t have control, but in reality you still do.
How you react to what happens also determines your future. So, although it appears you had no control over the results, you do have control over your reaction. If there’s a hurricane, fire or earthquake, you don’t have control over the incident – but you do you have control over what happens next.
For example, you want a promotion at work. You do a LOT of research to find what works and what doesn’t to get your boss to notice you. You do all the right things and then some. You research the company, suggest new marketing strategies that garner the company new customers.
In other words, you do it all. The logical result is that you’ll be noticed in a reasonable amount of time and get a promotion.
But the actual result is that your boss is now threatened by your ambition and finds a way to promote someone else, or worse, gets you fired.
It isn’t the result you expected and not the one you hoped for – but it is your current reality. How you react to the situation will determine your success.
Do you bury yourself in your current job and forget about a promotion? Do you quit and start your own business? Do you look for a better job?
What you decide, how you react, is exactly what determines your future.
Two years ago, my youngest son was struggling with being angry – all the time – at me. I was in a bad place myself, so I didn’t react well at all. Instead of stepping up and setting boundaries for him, I retreated and let it all go.
Finally, I realized that I wasn’t doing myself or him any favors, and sought help. Three visits with a therapist was all it took for me to see the light and step up to the plate. Six months later he was a completely different young man and this Christmas we enjoyed the best three weeks together we’ve had since he was 12.
Of course, he matured in those years as well. But, if I had continued to abdicate my role, I’m not sure how it would have all turned out.
I didn’t have control over his teenage angst, but I did have control over my own actions – which in turn affected his actions.
The question now is – what’s next? What comes next week, next month and in the next six months will determine the success you experience in the next year. Not all actions have an immediate reaction – but you can be sure that every decision you make has a consequence you’ll experience.
The important part of the equation is to control your thoughts and control what you’re thinking. How you do that is a challenge for another day. But, knowing the path that leads to success is the answer to half the problem!