A person who is at cause in his life knows that he creates his own destiny. He realizes that he is responsible for what his actions may bring. A person who is a victim of life thinks that life happens to him. A victim’s mentality fails to see that in any circumstance, there is a blessing waiting to unfold. The concept is basically, “Who’s in charge of your life experience? You or your circumstances?”
There’s an Australian motivational speaker named Nick Vujicic who was born with tetra – amelia syndrome, a rare disorder that meant he was born with no arms or legs. Despite that, Vujicic graduated from college with a double major in accountancy and financial planning, became a motivational speaker (addressing over 3 million people in 24 countries), wrote a book (Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life), and started his own foundation for people with disabilities.
I don’t think most of us would say that Vujicic’s circumstances positioned him for huge success, and I think most of us would be hard – pressed to say that our own circumstances are more difficult than his. When you run into someone like him who has overcome enormous odds (and there are thousands of examples), it’s pretty obvious that circumstances aren’t the key factor to a flourishing life.
We aren’t victims of our circumstances. Our circumstances are just the hand we’re dealt. It’s how we choose to play the hand that makes or breaks us. But people with a victim mindset don’t see this. “If I only had a better education/nicer parents/wealthy sponsors, then I could put my life together!” It doesn’t work that way, and people who succeed understand this. As Nick Vujicic says, “Have you ever felt trapped in circumstances, then discovered that the only trap was your own lack of vision, lack of courage, or failure to see that you had better options?
The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions. They are not there to run us over.” A variation on victimhood is when people blame other people for their fate. “If only my boss would listen to me.” “If only the government didn’t have so much red tape.” “If only my business partner worked harder and did his part.” The problem with staying in the mindset of a victim is that you are powerless. Changing other people (unless they are eager to be changed) or getting them to act differently is almost always a losing battle.
The only place that you are powerful is in changing yourself. People who flourish know this. When something goes not according to plan, they focus on what they personally can do to turn it around, not what others could or should have done. They double check their own attitudes and actions to see how they might have contributed to the issues rather than pointing fingers and waiting for someone to rescue them or the situation. They recognize their own responsibility in creating the situation, their choice in how they feel and experience the situation, and their power to create something different. This is the mindset of being “at cause.”
Despite the odds, some people succeed and flourish because they turn their struggles into inspirations in achieving victory.