Control Your Life

Future and life choices are made by you everyday. You have control of committing to a more positive lifestyle.

Maybe you feel that you do not have the ability or the opportunity to control your life and your future. You may very well have some disadvantages to overcome. Regardless of what your particular obstacles may be, there are many people who have had those exact same obstacles, or worse ones, who have overcome those obstacles to become successful in life. The fact that others have overcome your obstacles is proof positive that you can too.

If you continue to do the things you've always done, you can only expect to get what you've always got. Whatever change happens, will work against you. Opportunities will pass you by. Only by first changing your own actions and behavior can you create other desirable changes in your life.

There are five very simple things you can do to get a grip on what kind of success in life you want and how you can go about getting it:

1. Positive Directions Most people spend more time planning a weekend activity with friends or a vacation than they do planning their futures. In fact, most people never really think about directions at all. They get up every morning and routinely go to work for terrible reasons. Terrible because the typical reasons are to put food on the table, pay bills, everybody else does it, or because they have to. In ten or twenty years, you will feel trapped. Going to work should be a means of accomplishing many other appealing, rewarding goals.

Positive direction means choosing directions that are most likely to lead you to the kind of life and lifestyle you want. One direction you could take is spending all your free time hanging out at the local bar, watching sports, drinking beer and spending all your money. That is a direction and it is going to take you toward a destination.

Or taking two nights a week of your free time and using those to go to classes or seminars or the library to learn some new skill and setting aside even a small amount of money from each paycheck. This too is a direction.

It is obvious which is the positive direction and the one that will take you somewhere. But, what you may not have given a lot of thought to is the idea of sitting down and choosing certain destinations, things you want to accomplish, things you want to have, and then deciding on certain positive directions most likely to lead there. You can do that.

2. Education There are certain facts of life relating to education that are just always true. You may not like these facts, but they affect you. You can accept them and then change directions and do things to make these facts of life benefit you.

Government studies clearly demonstrate that people with high school diplomas earn as much as $8,000.00 more than those without diplomas. In a 40-year career that equals $320,000.00. Also, the number of good jobs that you just cannot get without a high school diploma keep increasing. Above a high school education, more career training are known to make an income difference of $25,000.00 to $100,000.00 or more in a working career. Above that, an Associate Degree is known to equate to about $10,000.00 a year more income; as much as $400,000.00 over a lifetime of work. Simply, more education equals more income and more varied options and opportunities.

3. Association There is a principle of success called the power of positive association. It basically means that you either hold yourself back or improve yourself based on the people you hang out with the most, because their values, ideas, and directions are always influencing your own.

A proven fact of life is that a strong family environment is an advantage. If you happen to have a good relationship with your parents or parent, siblings, and your family life has included helpful values, then you do have an advantage. As an adult, peers are just as important or more important in association. "Peer pressure" comes in both positive and negative forms. It is here that you need to ask yourself how your group of friends affects the directions in which you want to go. Everybody needs a support group. The group can include family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers and mentors. It must feature people who share your directions or who have already traveled successfully in the directions you want to go.

4. Beginning There is a certain process to success, an order of steps you have to go through, bases you have to run in order. To begin you have to get into the game. It all seems to start with gainful employment. A job. Even if is not the job you want, the job you've prepared for, or the job that seems like it naturally points toward the kind of job you want. Any job is better than no job. Employment is better than unemployment. The way you get into the game is with a job.

One study of business managers, executives, and other employees revealed three behavioral characteristics they looked for in any and every job applicant. These are showing up, being on time, and being ready and able to work. Any job gives you the opportunity to demonstrate these three things and establish a reputation for these three things. If you are employed, you cannot make the mistake of taking it lightly and drifting to negative thinking by not showing up, being late, and just going through the motions. The best way to get a better job is to out-perform the one you have. If you are unemployed, it would be better to re-think your position and get in the game rather than sit on the sidelines waiting for the right job. You can't score if you aren't playing.

5. Lifelong Learning Many people have the idea that once they graduate from high school, they can stop learning. This is reflected in the fact that the majority of adults get all their news and information from television and not reading, never visiting the library or bookstores. Many people have learned how to be taught, but have not learned to enjoy leaning on their own. Successful people are usually involved in lifelong learning. They tend to continually read and improve in their career areas.

Libraries contain a vast amount of information for the curious and open mind. And it is all free of charge. Magazines, books, and reference materials as well as computers can assist you in gathering information. Library staff members are there to help you if you a new to using computers or need to find anything.

Statistics provided by the US Government and the Department of Social Security (1999).

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