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Are You In Charge of Your Life?

By Roger Ellerton

How do you live your life? At cause or at effect? It is important to be aware of this distinction. It is the rare individual who always lives his or her life at cause; however, far too many of us live a large portion of our lives at effect - responding to the whims, desires or emotional states of others.

Being at cause means that you are decisive in creating what you want in life and take responsibility for whatever you achieve. You see the world as a place of opportunity and you move toward achieving what you desire. If things are not unfolding as you would like, you take action and explore other possibilities. Above all, you know you have choice in what you do and how you react to people and events.

If you are at effect, you may blame others or circumstances for your bad moods, for what you have not achieved or for the disarray of your life in general. You may feel powerless or depend on others in order for you to feel good about yourself or about life. You may think, "If only my spouse, my boss, my co-workers, my parents, my children understood me and helped me achieve my dreams or did what I wanted or what is best for me, then life would be great." If you wait and hope for things to be different or for others to provide you with results or happiness, you are at effect, or a victim of circumstances. And really, how satisfying is that? How satisfying do you think it is for others to be around you? Believing that someone else is responsible for your happiness or your different moods is very limiting and gives this person mystical powers over you, which can cause both you and the other person a great deal of anguish.

Being at cause means you have choices in your life - you can choose what is best for you while ensuring the choice is ecological for those around you, in your community and your society. That is, you consider the consequences of your actions on others, while not taking responsibility for their emotional well-being. Believing you are responsible for the emotional well-being of someone else places a heavy burden upon you and can cause a great deal of stress.

Those who live their lives at effect often see themselves as victims with no choices whatsoever. The truth is that they do have choices but have chosen not to take action. They are simply reactive to whatever is thrust upon them.

Emotions such as guilt, fear, anxiety and resentment are the result of being at effect. People at effect tend to blame others and do not take responsibility for their actions. Emotions such as these can wear heavily on a person's body and life, and can be the root cause of many physical and personal issues.

Do I always live my life at cause? No, not a chance; the great majority of the time I do live at cause. When I don't, one of the following usually comes to mind: 'There is no failure only feedback' or 'There are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states'. Then using various personal growth techniques, such as those from NLP (neurolinguistic programming), I am able to explore other ways to achieve my outcomes or ask others for help, without being a victim to their answers.

Each morning when you get up, you can either ask yourself, "I wonder what my day will bring," or "What do I choose to bring to my day?" The choice is yours.

Roger Ellerton is a certified NLP trainer, certified management consultant and the founder and managing partner of Renewal Technologies Inc. This article is an extract from his book 'Live Your Dreams - Let Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for Coaches, Managers and You.'
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