ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
(the wind is never favourable to those who don’t know where they are going)
The above quote from Lucius Annaeus Seneca c (4 BC – AD 65) says it all and is still very relevant today and is a key factor in promoting your personal, professional, and spiritual development.
To explain, I will use the example of a sailing boat on an ocean. If the vessel lets the wind take it in whatever the direction it blows who knows where it will end up. Whereas if there is a charted course, the sails can be adjusted to take advantage of the wind to move it along its planned route towards the destination. Metaphorically speaking we are a boat and the wind is the people, situations and circumstances we come into contact in our everyday life and unless we control how they affect us who knows where it will lead us. When this happens, our reactions are the effect rather than the cause. In reality, in order to grow as people, we need to be the cause not the effect.
Like the boat in the wind we have to be in control rather than be controlled by what happens around us, which in fact, confirms the realisation previously stated that it is not what happens but how we respond in order to achieve our goal.
However, that can be easier said than done. Over the years of our life, and especially for the first seven years, our brains are hard wired to other peoples beliefs, traditions, cultures and are also the things that happen to us. This “hard-wiring” of our brains often means we react to circumstance as our brains look for patterns. We are literally programmed to act in certain ways. The deeper these programs are embedded the less conscious we are of the reactions it causes.
We begin to believe we are our reactions – well, the second fact you need to understand is YOU ARE NOT your reactions. Your reactions are the effect of being out of control. Circumstances are the cause your reactions are the effect. To be in control of you personal, professional or spiritual growth – YOU must be the cause, and then the conditions around you are the effect. You are in control – the organ grinder not the monkey.
A simple yet affective strategy for personal change
Now you have the realisation that it is not what happens but how you respond the key is to take control of of your life rather than let it control you. I present a simple yet effective strategy to apply in every situation. It is simple but sometimes you may need a helping hand especially for deeply held embedded early programming also know as habits.
The six-step programme to personal freedom and spiritual growth
- Stop the habitual or reactive response
- Open your dominant emotion(s)
- List alternative opions
- Examine all the options
- Take informed Action
- Stay focused