How much do you really own your life?
What we mean when we ask such a question is: To what extent are you involved and participating in your own life? To what extent are you responsible for your choices and actions in your life?
Imagine there is a fun fair taking place right now. Were you the one who came up with the idea for the funfair, and brought together a team to organise it? Or did you hear about the fun fair from a friend, weighed all your other options this weekend (going to the movies, attending a bridal shower, spending time with friends, etc), and then decide consciously to be at the fun fair? Or were you just walking by the funfair, heard the joyous laughter, and felt drawn towards it? Or, are you at the funfair, but really not enjoying yourself, and did not know how you ended up there?
The events in our lives can be classified the same way. So look at the things you’re doing in your life right now – whether it be a job, a relationship, a friendship, a family or a role in a team. What level of ownership and involvement are you at for each of these things?
Level 0 – I do not want to be involved
Level 1 – I’m not sure whether I want to be involved in this
Level 2 – I will do the bare minimum to get by
Level 3 – I am actively involved, and will find solutions to problems proactively
Level 4 – I am fully committed and will stake my life on the success of this endeavour
There are certain things we do in which we have full ownership and are 100% involved – these are the things we truly care about, things that align with our core and our personal values. There are also things that we are involved in where we have an active support role; we care about the outcome, but not so much that we would put everything into it. In other instances, we are involved with something but do the bare minimum to get by – this could be something whereby the exchange is purely transactional, perhaps it is a job we do not really care for, or a relationship we feel obligated to continue. In the last instance, if we do not know why we are involved in something, it would be good to examine why we are involved in the first place, what is keeping us there despite our confusion, and if this is really not the right thing for us, what prevents us from making a better decision about our involvement.
We use this model to examine activities and roles in our lives, we can also use this model to examine a life itself. In your life, you will go through different stages of growth and ownership.
- I have no control over the things that happen to me (victim)
- I influence the outcome of things around me (agent)
- I create my own circumstances, things happen because of me (creator)
So which stage are you at right now? You might be at a different stage for different areas at your life. For example, you could be a creator in relationships, and an agent in your career. To move up from one stage to another, put active energy into solving whatever problems come up, and take initiative to create results. Then you will become a creator of your life and a master of your own destiny.