We are the masters of our own destiny – or Are we?

Lots of quotes can nowadays be found, telling us we can explain anything we’d like to. But question is: “Can we?”

Let’s start with the reason behind these quotes. Nowadays we are more aware of the possibilities we actually have. We are no longer “victim” or “puppet” from experiences from the past and/or our surroundings. We are able to break free from any routines we happen to have get stuck in, we just need to be aware we can actually do so and know how to.

Recently I was in a discussion having to do with “free will” and if we actually have “free will”. One of the reasonings behind this had to do with the limitations we have because of physical reasons and/or our experiences from the past. Personally I wasn’t too thrilled with how this was discussed, since it gave the impression that once we get to experience something, we cannot shake loose from it and I do not believe this to be true. Even more so, I would say we can break away from the past, if we get the appropriate help to get us moving in the right direction.

This being said, there are also a lot of people who will never make the attempt to change anything and simply say things cannot be changed, since circumstances cannot be changed or the people themselves do not have the energy (anymore) to make any change. These are the people which have basically given in to their fate, being unfair and unchangeable, making them destined for everything but happiness and fortune.

In the discussion the example was mentioned of the few people who actually were physically hurt and managed to accomplish their dreams anyway, like for instance being able to walk again after having become paralyzed. If we were take this example a bit further we see that a number of people who are stuck in the most difficult of situations (for instance because of physical limitations) are the most determined to get everything out of life possible, whereas people who basically are able to accomplish (almost) anything, when setting their mind to it, do not.

Question is what the difference in mentality and mindset is between the two kinds of people. What does one decide to get everything out of life, even when physically restricted or mentally “damaged” (I’m talking about having had certain difficult experiences in life here), while others who have not had much to deal with, throw in the towel when they see the tiniest of obstacles?

The most influencing factor would probably be the surroundings and what they have been taught growing up about potential possibilities. When one has learned they will never be able to accomplish anything, one might not be able to think otherwise, until someone wakes them up good/hard enough. This person might even be more at ease feeling there are no other possibilities, than to have to get moving and push him- or herself into the wheels of motion, leading up to possible change.

The lack of willingness to change also seems to apply to those who have not been raised disbelieving in themselves. These people may not have ever been around people who went that extra mile to accomplish something, but they also have not been programmed to disbelief in themselves. Still they will not make the effort to challenge themselves into improving themselves and/or their circumstances.

One can now ask the question: “Why would people be comfortable being in a situation they actually do not want to be in?” Or better yet: “Why would people remain in a situation they are anything but comfortable about?” Could it be that most/a lot of people are actually more comfortable with staying in a “familiar” situation as opposed to taking the effort of changing anything? Basically what’s being suggested here is that a situation which is known, even when uncomfortable, is to be preferred over changing circumstances, even if this could lead to a definite improvement.

Reading this, one could immediately get to talk about “the lack of guarantees”, as an answer to why not change, when the circumstances are anything but ideal. The more optimistic person, with drive, would probably answer: “This may be so, but it can only get better from now on. And what’s there to loose by taking a chance?” The answer to that could be “loss of energy”, actually meaning: “Being confronted with any trouble having to do with making an effort”. Most people are rather in their comfort zone of “nothingness”, then having to deal with new situations, new decisions and having to think about their own actions and with it their own responsibilities, when it comes to making choices in life.

Does the lack of change and feeling limited actually have to do with past experiences or could it be this has to do with the “lack” of past experiences? The reason for asking this, is that it’s these people who have experienced a number of things, are the ones who are willing to give it their “all”, just to improve their life somewhat. It seems that once people have experienced difficult situations they are more likely to do “whatever it takes” (note I’m not talking about hurting others or influencing them in a negative manner), to make a difference in their own or someone else’s life.

So if I were to ask you which “group” you belong to, what would you say? Would you rather stay in your “known comfort zone”, however uncomfortable this actually might be, in comparison of taking life into your own hands? Or are you one of those people who indeed get “excited” by the mere thought that we just might be able to be(come) “the masters of our own universe”? If you are part of the last group, you might want to read on and take some mental notes.

One of the most powerful things one can do, is to experience in the mind what it is like to be in the new (wished for) situation. It may not even be obvious what this new situation could be, it’s about knowing that change somehow is possible and the current situation does not have to be a permanent one. If this image or visualization brings feelings of excitement and/or happiness, this is a good indicator it might be time to start changing your life, however small this change might be.

Once you decide to makes changes and get to experience the benefits and/or positive effects, this can give you the confidence and boost to make another change, maybe in the same, perhaps in another area. The changes themselves may not have to be that significant, but the fact that “change is possible”, is. And all these changes combined can make for a bigger change ever thought possible.

When I started this piece I asked the question whether or not “we are the master of our destiny”? I would like to respond: “We are more then we give ourselves credit for”. The choice to make a change, or better yet to have the guts to (try and) make a change, is ours to make. And yes, there will always be limitations of some sort, some big, others small, but don’t ever let this stop you from experiencing in your mind, what you would like your (possible) future to be like. Even when it won’t ever happen, it will give you the energy and the drive to make changes in your current life, leading up to your life being better than it was before or better yet, ever thought possible before.

I’d like to end this story with a final quote from the previously mentioned discussion on “free will”: “To make truly free choices, we’d need to be starting with a clean slate for each decision. That, of course, is impossible.” This may be true, but the effects of any event(s), how worse it/they may have been, can be limited to a certain degree. The emotions may not be taken away entirely, nor any physical effects, but the way to deal with these emotions and the choice to let them affect you for the remainder of your life, are something which most certainly can be influenced and dealt with.

Depending on the effort you are willing to put into things, you can start by making small changes, taking tiny steps, leading eventually up to bigger steps. And although these steps may never let up to that one big dream or goal, just being busy with the journey leading up this goal, is already worthwhile of every small step or battle. After all, this will support you to no longer be the victim to what ever it is ever happened to you before and even better, making sure this will never ever happen to you (having this influence) ever again.