How To Create The Circumstances You Want

How To Create The Circumstances You Want

16.05.2018 Off By Lambert Patterson

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

I’ve always loved this success quote, because it takes a common perspective on life – namely, that life is a series of events you have to react to – and turns it on it’s ear. In reality, where you end up has less to do with your circumstances than with where you decide to go in spite of your circumstances.

The decisions you make in the thick of today’s circumstance are the defining factor in what your circumstances will be in the future.

You do this by deciding that you’re going to overcome today’s circumstances, no matter what they are.

But this is easier said than done. It’s easy to let the circumstances of our day – our current financial picture, our current relationships, our current motivation levels – and see them as the defining factor of where our life is headed. It’s a simple thing to let yourself be discouraged by all the things that are going wrong and feel that you can’t easily stage a turnaround.

But “easier said than done” doesn’t get us out of responsibility.

Even though it’s not easy, no one is going to change your life except for you. Only you can create your own circumstances. But to create the powerful circumstances that you want to call your future – in spite of the challenges you face in today’s circumstances – you have to understand a few fundamental things about how circumstances work.

And to understand how circumstances work, you’re going to have to “unlearn” a few of your preconceptions about them. I’ll refer to these preconceptions as “myths” since they aren’t true (but seem true!). Then I’ll drill down to the rules about how they really work. I’ll call those rules the “Laws of Circumstance” here because I don’t have anything snappier to call them (oh well).

Myth#1: My circumstances prevent me from doing what I want to.

Law #1: A circumstance is a fact. A circumstance with an opinion is an excuse.

This is a tough law to swallow, because we all like making excuses. Excuses help us get out of taking action as well as help us get out of feeling guilty about it. We even have a spiffy word to get us out of calling it an excuse: “rationalization.” But it’s still an excuse, because it’s basically a less painful way of telling ourselves that the situation is insurmountable, and there’s nothing we can really do about it now.

Of course, that’s a load of crap. We might say something like, “I wish I had the time to start a business, but I’m already working two jobs (or I have two kids to take care of). I just don’t have the time.” Listen to the message of this statement: I don’t have the time because I have two jobs (or two kids).

Here’s the problem: one is not necessarily linked to the other.

It’s a fact that you have two jobs, or two kids, or whatever. But that’s all it is – a fact. In reality, all it is saying is that for a certain number of hours a day, you are dedicated to your work / your kids, and that those hours are off limits. That’s a plain, emotionless fact – and nothing more.

But when you add opinion to the mix, you get into trouble … into rationalization … into excuses. You start to see this fact as the defining factor that dictates what you can and can’t do. And that tends to stop you in your tracks.

You become saturated with the emotional equivalent of a brick wall – the feeling that because of X, you can’t do Y. And you don’t take action – or worse yet, you take a halfhearted action and don’t it follow through to completion (leaving you feeling even more disempowered).

And that’s the danger of rationalization.

It keeps you in a disempowered state of mind and makes you feel that there’s no real chance for improvement, because you’re taking your circumstance (fact) and taking it to a less than logical conclusion.

I say less than logical because we generally don’t use real logic when dealing with circumstances – in other words, we don’t ask ourselves how to change those circumstances, or how to work around them.

We say “I don’t have time because I’m working two jobs” and stop there, rather than apply logical thinking to the situation: How can I free up time elsewhere? or How can I change my job situation so I’m not working so many hours?

The most malicious part of rationalization is the sudden stop it puts on our creative juices, our ability to work ourselves out of a situation. Our excuses literally excuse us from taking the (often difficult) action of “rising above our circumstances.” We all do it – I do it, you do it … but you’ve got to stop doing now (or, at least begin the process of stopping!).

So how do you do this?  You basically decide you’re not going to take no for an answer when it comes to your goal. When you decide that – and I mean you make a firm commitment not to settle for leaving your goal behind – you can rise above your current circumstances and create new ones.

It’s not a matter of “working harder” – it’s a matter of working until it gets done, period. Circumstances (facts) are not supposed to prevent action (but they do because of the emotion we attach to them).

Check out the dictionary definition of circumstances:

  • A condition or fact attending an event and having some bearing on it; a determining or modifying factor.
  • A condition or fact that determines or must be considered in the determining of a course of action.
  • Look at both of these definitions. Neither of them says our common view of a circumstance: something that prevents us from getting what we’re after. Both of these definitions call circumstances a condition or fact that forces you to have to adjust to it as you follow through on your course of action.

Let’s apply this right away in your own life with a simple but extrordinarily effective exercise:

  • Consider one circumstance that you feel is the “brick wall” preventing you from getting the goal you want.
  • Now, imagine that you had no choice but to accomplish your goal. Imagine it as a life or death situation.
  • Brainstorm as many ways as you can to work around this circumstance or negate it entirely (even if it’s not an easy thing to do). Take your time doing this, because remember – you absolutely have to make this goal happen. Your “circumstance” cannot be used as an excuse.
  • Get cracking. Now. Your goal is waiting.

I truly hope that you don’t blow this exercise off – because it’s easy to do. You’re may be telling yourself, “This won’t work,” or “I don’t have the time to do this,” or “i don’t think I can pull this off …”

Just keep in mind that those thoughts are a load of … well, you know. Your mind is going to fight you with excuses and rationalizations because there’s that part of you that resists the possibility of failure, or resists the challenge of hard work … but you have to tell that voice to shut up. You have to stand up to it.

Myth#2: My circumstances make things harder to accomplish.

Law #2: Circumstances are strength training exercises designed to make you more powerful.

“No pressure, no diamonds.” – Thomas Carlyle

This quote really hammers home a timeless truth about circumstances. We tend to want to view problems as things that make things harder on us, when the opposite is true – they are actually incredible opportunities to push past our limits, and become stronger. And that strength will serve us exponentially as we move forward to our goals.

Remember that old 80’s movie The Karate Kid? The New Jersey teenager, Daniel Larusso, asks this Japanese neighbor Mr. Miyagi to teach him the secrets of martial arts for an upcoming karate tournament. So Mr. Miyagi agrees – then promptly puts him to work sweeping his yard, painting his fence, waxing his car.

Daniel got pretty ticked off at this … here he was asking for martial arts training and he was given the gruntwork of taking care of Mr.Miyagi ’s property. Finally he gives up and says “I’ve had it!” He tells Mr. Miyagi that if he’s not going to teach him how to fight, he’s out of there. He’s tired of working on things that have no bearing on his goals for the future.

And here’s the part of the movie where everything became clear. Miyagi throws a punch at Daniel and suddenly his arm flys up to block it – exactly as it had a thousand times before as he painted the posts of Miyagi’s fence. He tried to trip Daniel with his foot, but Daniel pivoted out of his way without thinking – exatcly as he would have moved if he was sweeping Miyagi’s yard.

Finally, it clicked. Miyagi had Daniel doing grunt work to train him in the basics of movement that would prepare him for greatness in the ring. Because he toughed out the work in front of him, he would have the skills to use in the arena.

Now, your circumstances are no different. You may have things that seem like roadblocks in front of you, things that are getting in the way of you reaching your goals … but they aren’t roadblocks. They are tests. They are the challenge you face to create more discipline, more courage, more staying power, more creativity … everything you will need to meet your goals in the future.

Think of it this way: How do you build muscle? By lifting weights. Heavy weights. And when you get used to them, you increase the weight. That’s the only way to do it.

So take another look at your circumstances. What if you stopped looking at that situation as a roadblock and instead decided to take it as a challenge you are destined to work around? Decide for yourself right now that it’s not an obstacle – it’s simply a weight, one you will find a way to lift, no matter what.

The pressure is on in your life because there’s a diamond in the making. So leverage that pressure and find out how to what’s currently challenging you into one of the best things that ever happened to you. Get to it now. You’ll thank yourself for it.

So here’s your homework:

  • Consider one circumstance that you feel is the “brick wall” preventing you from getting the goal you want.
  • Now, imagine that you had no choice but to accomplish your goal. Imagine it as a life or death situation.
  • Brainstorm as many ways as you can to work around this circumstance or negate it entirely (even if it’s not an easy thing to do). Take your time doing this, because remember – you absolutely have to make this goal happen. Your “circumstance” cannot be used as an excuse.
  • Get cracking. Now. Your goal is waiting.