TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE…
Today’s episode is inspired by another one of our listeners; This letter comes to us all the way from Australia! I knew we had listeners in Australia but this is the first letter I have received from down under.
Luke from Australia is a 28 year old professional fire fighter…but it wasn’t always so. In Luke’s letter he told me that seven years ago he was a huge partier…every weekend and every other weekday that’s all he and his friends did…was party and have fun, drinking and carrying on and all the other activities you might imagine would go along with that lifestyle. Luke said he was a university bum who was cruising through life with no direction or purpose.
After one of these all night binge party’s it all came to an end when Luke got arrested and thrown in jail. For the next three months he was living in terror and uncertainty because he had court looming over his head and if he were convicted, it would seriously alter his future in a negative way because his chances for employment would be nil. He was also in torment from the embarrassment and pain he caused his parents.
It was during this time that Luke made a promise to himself. He promised himself that if he beat the conviction and got a second chance that he would not waste it….he would work incredibly hard and do his very best, to be his very best, and redeem himself.
Luke got the second chance he had been hoping for, and he went to work changing his life. His close friends became his biggest obstacle because they didn’t understand why he didn’t want to party his life away anymore. In spite of that peer pressure, he prevailed.
He spent the next five years finishing his degree, and then he was able to gain entrance into the fire brigade. In Australia, that is a very difficult thing to do. It is a coveted position that tens of thousands of people apply to each year. It usually takes four years and has an impossible 7 stage recruitment process…but Luke kept at it, he persevered,and ultimately got the position he set out to.
Luke thinks that if he had not gotten arrested when he was 21, that he wouldn’t be where he was today. He credits that seemingly negative experience with causing him to gain a new perspective, a perspective that he needed, in order to be successful.
I think Luke is exactly right, and thats the topic of today’s episode; Using bad experiences, turning them around and making something good out of them.
If Luke would not have gotten arrested that night seven years ago…he might still be partying! Sometimes it takes something huge to make us wake up, look around, and see whats going on. Not everyone does though.
There are plenty of guys that were in Luke’s shoes who just used that bad experience as an excuse to party even harder. Luke went the other way, Luke became a better man because of it.
I can relate to his experience because I got arrested for driving under the influence when I was 23. I had a wife and three small kids at the time and it really made me feel like the most worthless man who had ever been born, I was ashamed beyond measure. I could have easily became depressed and felt sorry for myself and blame my circumstances and situations and continue on spiraling downward.
Instead I got my act together, kind of like Luke did. I started making a distinction between the things that were important and the things that were not. I stopped drinking completely for four years and focused on my new priorities.
So…bad things happen to all of us. All of us at some point in our life will be faced with a heavy burden of our own making. Or we may have some other external tragedy to deal with.
Some of us will prevail, like Luke did, while others will begin a long slow circle around the drain of life.
Whats the difference? Why will something like this make some guys better and make other guys worse?
It’s kind of obvious to me. There is one thing that guys who are beaten by their circumstances never do, it’s a thing that all of the guys who succeed do. That thing is to become personally accountable for your actions.
Guys who succeed and become better from adversity are the same guys who own their mistakes, the same guys who are accountable for all of their actions both good and bad, They are guys who take charge.
Guys who allow themselves to be beaten by their situation never, ever take responsibility for what they have done. They blame everything else; the establishment, the government, other people, the economy, their job, their spouse…whatever. And because they never take responsibility it never occurs to them that they have the power to change it, how could they? They are victims of their circumstance, and you can’t change anything you have no power over.
For some people, being personally accountable comes naturally to them because of how they were raised, the environment they grew up in. For other guys it is not natural…for the same reasons. But it is something that anyone, regardless of your history can adopt.
Being personally accountable is a habit, a way of thinking that can be applied to every situation big and small. It starts with you seeing the benefit of it, and then deciding thats what you want to become. You walk around with the notion in your mind that everything is your fault…the good things, the bad things, everything. Now you are paying attention.
When you pay attention you quickly notice that everything you do has an effect, now you can take charge. If you want good results, you do good things. If you do bad things then you get bad results.
In Luke’s case, and my case, once we owned the thing we did and became accountable for it, then the right path suddenly becomes pretty clear…before that happened we weren’t even aware the other path existed, we couldn’t see it. It took something big and scary and bad to wake us up. It made us take charge.
Sure there are some terrible things that happen that you are not responsible for in any way. So how do you be personally accountable when something like that happens? Something you had no control over? First, you recognize that you had no control over it, and then, you become personally accountable for how you react to it, that becomes your job in that situation. That’s how you take charge of something that’s beyond your control.
I’m telling you…living a life as man who is personally accountable has some amazing benefits. Right now some of you listening are probably going through something crappy and horrible. I’m sorry about that if you are, but you have an opportunity…look around and determine if you are responsible for this situation, if you are then become accountable for it, realize if you caused it, then you have the power to start changing your life. If you aren’t directly responsible then it’s an opportunity to be accountable for how you are dealing with it.
I’m going to wrap it up right there. Thanks Luke for writing me a letter, and congratulations, tell the nice folks in Australia I said hello.
If any of you out there have questions or a story to share like Luke did, just write me a letter…be like Luke.
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Alright guys, head out into the week ahead being personally accountable for everything you do, take charge of your life!. If that becomes a habit, then it will be a little easier to be a better man today, than you were yesterday.