Life can be awfully challenging. It’s surprisingly easy to become confused by what you’re doing and unsure of where you’re going, whether in your professional or your personal lives. At times, your internal GPS can throw you so far off course that you find yourself far from where you need to be in order to feel comfortable, to feel as if you’re moving forward, to feel as if you’re in control.
What can you do to take back control of your life? How can you find your way out of the maze and back to the path you want to be on? If you really want to be the captain of your ship, here are some of the most valuable lessons you can learn.
1. Map out what you desire in life
If you don’t know where you’re going, you may not end up where you want to be. Make a map of your dreams, goals, and values and how you want to feel in all the key areas of your life – from love, friendships, livelihood and finances, to health, spirituality, fun and leisure. Not only will this give you a target to aim for, but the very Universe itself will start to bring you people, gifts and circumstances that match up with what you’ve specified. Sound like magic? Not at all: the power of positive thinking is backed by science.
2. Listen to and heed your inner voice
Let your own thoughts and feelings guide you when making decisions about what to do and where to go. Your well-intentioned friends, colleagues, mentors and other people may try to “help” you by making decisions for you. The danger is that by not taking responsibility for yourself, you’re putting yourself in danger of giving others permission to take charge of your life. And there’s an enormous price to pay for giving your life away in this manner. It’s simply not your life any longer; rather, it’s someone else’s projection of what your life should be.
3. Be more self-aware and present
Most of us are only truly present about 10 % of our lives. The rest of the time we’re mentally wandering around, preoccupied with daydreams, circular thoughts, vague worries about the future, or reactions to the things we see on our smartphones and TVs. We’re not really connected with the vibrancy, beauty and magic of the world around us, which makes us feel shallow and empty.
Try being present more often throughout the day. Notice the little things: the breeze, the sunshine, the sounds around you, the tastes and smells, the beauty of a flower, the motion of your body as you walk or run or dance. When you’re present, you’re in control. Not only do you experience the richness of life, but you also choose how you respond to things, instead of reacting on auto-pilot.
4. Appreciate the adventure that is your life
Living in fear of what you can’t control will do you little good. Appreciate the adventure of not knowing what might happen next. Yes, you lost control of things there for a while. But think of how that period in your life helped you grow and learn.
You made it through a difficult situation. Give yourself credit for every step forward. By acknowledging your achievements, no matter how small, you regain trust in your ability to control your destiny. You empower yourself to take the next step. Other events will continue to occur in your life, both good and bad; you have no control over that. But you do have the ability to control how you respond. Even if an event seems unbeatable, remember: you’ve been there before, and you know can handle it.