In 1875 William Ernest Henley wrote these final two lines to his poem Invictus:“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
These final lines serve as a powerful reminder and beg to ask the question, “Are you the captain of your soul?”
Are you in charge of where you are going?
It is probably safe to say that over 95% of people are followers, not leaders. They are in the boat, but without a destination they simply go where the wind blows them. They do the same thing today that they did yesterday. They get up, they get ready for work, they get the kids out of bed, they go to work, they pick up the kids, they come home, they eat dinner, they watch some TV to unwind, then they go to bed. Each day they get up and repeat the process all over again until the weekend comes.
They are making a living and they are surviving, but they are missing the opportunity to make their life.
The tragedy here is that if you don’t know who you are and if you can’t define yourself or your dreams, then the world will decide for you. Your daily Monday through Friday pattern will constantly repeat and with each repetition it will become deeper and deeper ingrained in your subconscious until you expect nothing else. You give nothing new and you gain nothing new. Nothing simply equals nothing.
We all have divine potential and we are each the captain of our own soul. But we must change the way we think. We must be a part of that top 5% (or less) that takes responsibility each day for what happens and occurs in our life. Every day we must think and we must do, or it will be done and decided for us.
Too often people give away their accountability and instead turn to blaming others. They hold everyone else responsible for their current situation or for how they feel at any given moment. They are constantly playing the victim instead of the victor. They point fingers, but what they don’t realize is that the more they point outward, the more they are giving away their own freedom.
It is crucial to remember that you are responsible to write your own book. At any moment, you can take the pen out of the world’s hand and write it yourself. Even in the middle of what feels like a tragedy or disaster. Freedom is not something on the outside; don’t wait for someone to come by and give it to you or to give you permission to have it. It’s on the inside. It is up to you to develop it and expand it.
Here are eight tips to get your freedom back:
- Have a vision. Have an idea of where you want to go, who you want to be. See it clearly and see it daily.
- Love. Know who you love, who loves you and what you love to do. These are the things that will motivate you for more.
- Make a travel plan — a plan for your life that will ultimately get you where you want to go
- Establish good habits that will move you towards where you want to go and are congruent with your plan.
- Stop unproductive habits that are keeping you in the same place and keeping you from growing. Ask yourself, is this relevant to my personal development or is it hindering my growth and simply wasting my time?
- Be accountable for your choices, your decisions and your results.
- Expect to make some mistakes and when you do, realize it does not label you a failure. Mistakes are nothing but lessons learned and experiences that will lead to future growth. Failure can only be achieved by giving up.
- Surround yourself with likeminded people that will support you and your growth.
When I was going through graduate school I had a couple of jobs where I worked on different assembly lines during the graveyard shift. For a short time I worked in a cheese factory. My job was to pack the cheese into boxes at the end of the assembly line. I challenged myself to do it as quickly as possible and continually came up with new challenges to keep my mind active. In this manner, I had fun, but I believe I was only able to do so because I knew the job was temporary. This would not be my long-term career.
I met amazing people at that job, but I was shocked to learn that many had been there 10 years, 15 years and some as many as 20 years. They had given up their ability to empower themselves to realize anything different than their present situation. I believe these were intelligent people with unrealized ability and potential. However, they found security in their routine, they found comfort in knowing just exactly what was expected of them to keep their job and that was enough. They no longer believed they could be anything more.
To transform ourselves we must think differently. I love what James Malinchak says we must do in order to achieve the success we hope for:
- You must change your mindset
- You must increase your skillset
- You must get off your assets!
Make a decision now to think differently. Commit to dedicate time to develop the skills that will take you where you want to go. Surround yourself with likeminded people that will support you and encourage you to achieve more than you are currently expecting from yourself.
You have an unquantifiable amount of potential within you. No matter what your age or current situation you can and deserve to constantly seek growth, freedom and fulfillment. YOU are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul!
Up only! Because the only way to the next level is up!