Can you imagine getting into a car not knowing where you want to go? You could have the driving skills of Lewis Hamilton and it wouldn’t matter. You still won’t know where to head. All the talent in the world is useless unless you take control of your life.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
How to take control of your life
1. Pick a destination
Many people planning a vacation will look at pretty pictures of various places. Then they’ll pick a destination to travel to next. It’s the same for life. The mental pictures you look at could be the lives of successful people, or a vision of how you’re going to change the world.
It’s okay to have more than one destination. Most of us will travel to more than one place in the world over a lifetime. The important thing is that you can only go to one place at a time. You can have a long list of dreams to achieve in your life. Just know that you can only focus on one to three goals at any one time.
2. Get a roadmap
Few of us are foolish enough to go on a driving holiday without a map. Yet that is how we go through life. You may know where you want to go, but have no idea where you are now and how far away you are from your destination. We just hope that one day we will wake up to the life of our dreams. That is like keeping your foot on the accelerator hoping you end up in Hawaii, not realising that Hawaii is surrounded by water and you won’t get there by car.
Your roadmap for life will come from autobiographies of successful people telling the story of how they got to where they are. Self-improvement books also offer various strategies you could choose. Most importantly, and the advice of well-chosen mentors who have been where you want to go and are willing to lead you there.
3. Plan your route
There is usually more than one way to get to wherever you want to go. Part of the fun in planning a vacation is deciding which road to take, and where to stop for a rest. You usually also take a detour now and then for the sheer enjoyment of viewing the scenery.
Your life journey is much the same. You may want the same success as another person, but for you the route to that destination may be different. You can choose a method that gets you there faster, or take a longer time so that you can stop along the way to enjoy the process. Or you could even go off the beaten path and try a strategy that no one has used before.
4. Enjoy the journey
You’ll spend a lot more time on the journey than at the destination. Once you reach a goal, you’ll probably set a new goal very soon. It’s human nature to always want something better. We were born to grow, not to sit and stare. Enjoy the sense of achievement when you reach your goals, but also take delight in the journey.
Enjoy the friendships you make along the way, the first-hand experiences, the lessons learnt, the patience acquired, the insights into human nature, the understanding gained about yourself.
Take control of your life, and love your life
When you get to wherever you wanted to go, you’ll look around and appreciate being in a new place. But even more, you will look back on the journey it took to get there, breathe a sigh of pride and satisfaction, and say to yourself, “I’ve come a long way.” And that, my friend, is what makes the journey worthwhile.
For more examples and strategies, read Take Your Life Back: How to Stop Letting the Past and Other People Control You.