You are where you are today largely because you wanted to be there and made choices that got you there. Your life is the collective result of your past behavior.
Whenever I say that in a goal setting workshop, I get pushback. No one wants to accept responsibility for their less-than-idyllic life. It just has to be someone else’s fault — because it’s too painful to accept the alternative.
But it is only in accepting ultimate responsibility for our own lives that we embrace the power to change them.
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
What you’ve done in the past is the very best indicator of what you are going to do in the future. The results you’ve gotten in the past are the best predictors of the results you’re going to get in the future. If they aren’t the results you want, change in behavior is the only thing that will change your results.
When I was in college, I majored in musical theater. (Eventually I changed the major and graduated in business, but that’s another story.) When I performed somewhere, I could usually count on someone coming up and saying something like this, “Wow, I’d give anything to sing like you do.”
I realize this was a compliment, and I took it as such, but it started to annoy me. It seemed to assume that my ability to sing had just dropped down on my head one day from the sky and that the other person just hadn’t been quite so lucky.
In response, I started to say, “Oh! Who are you studying with?”
“Who is your vocal coach? How long have you been studying?”
“Uh, I’m not taking voice lessons.”
In other words the person would “give anything” to be able to sing, as long as the “anything” didn’t require any work, money, frustration, or sacrifice. To be more accurate, they think it’d be really awesome if the ability to sing would magically poof into existence.
So the people who would “give anything to sing” don’t really “want” to sing in any practical sense. Because if they did, they would take the steps to learn to sing. Rather, they actually do what they want to do. Whether that is painting or gardening or watching TV or hanging out — whatever it is they choose to invest their resources in other than singing.
Now I understand that things come into our lives — sometimes devastating things — that were not of our own doing and which we have no power to solve. Believe me, I know this from personal experience.
But it is still within our power to choose how we will respond and where we go after the experience. As a song I once heard says, “Start Where You Are.” Take wherever you are today — with whatever circumstances you find yourself, and look forward. Start creating the results you want, today.
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