There are only two true choices in how we see our lives.

10615323_445372818939342_3519928434108261667_nAs Yoda explained: “There is no such thing as TRY. There is only DO or NOT DO.”  To “try” and do something is to admit that you have already failed. You can’t try to pick up a coffee cup. You either pick it up or you don’t. And so it is with life. You either do things or you don’t. And it is our own choice to do or not do things in our lives. No one else’s. We are 100% responsible for all our choices. That includes our happiness.

But, you say: “People do things that make me sad or unhappy.” It is certainly true that peoples’ behavior can make us feel sad or unhappy. But no one does sad or unhappy “to” us. That would be confusing the behaviour with our response to it. Now, I am not suggesting that we should not become sad or unhappy as a result of someone else’s behaviour. What I am suggesting is that how, and to what extent, another person’s behaviour affects us is entirely up to us. No one else controls our reaction to another person’s behaviour. If we feel sad or unhappy it is not because someone has done something to us but rather because we have let them make us sad or unhappy. If you choose to “let” someone “make” you unhappy you are surrendering your power over to them – you are letting yourself remain a victim.

Now, you may become a victim as a result of someone else’s initial actions or behaviour. How long and to what extent you remain a victim is a choice – your choice. This may be a hard pill for many people to swallow. Many would rather blame their condition on someone else. They would rather stay where they are, even if they are in pain and hurting, than choose to be responsible and take action on their own to change the situation. This is not to say that actions to change would necessarily be easy or without discomfort. Often they are far from either. But in taking action, in choosing, you are empowering and asserting yourself. So right now you have a choice:  will you see yourself as powerless – a victim; or, will you see yourself as powerful and successful?  There is only DO or NOT DO! The choice is yours and yours alone.

Gregg is a retired Commander, Royal Canadian Navy. He combines his nearly 42 years of Naval experience in Command, operational, and staff appointments afloat and ashore, nationally and internationally with his expertise as a Board Certified Master Coach, trainer, and educator. He conducts seminars, workshops, and courses, as well as 1-on-1 and group coaching focused on Leadership and Communications excellence.
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