“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Austrian physicist Viktor Frankl
Controlling your outcomes, by choosing opportunities, and taking responsibility for both is key to getting where you want to be and achieving success.
One of the most interesting parts of human personalities is our tendency to almost always blame someone or something else. Even the most self-deprecating or humble among us can shift blame and decide that their shortcomings or failures are the fault of others.
Tying into that shifting of blame to others is also a willingness to let our attitudes and moods be affected by others. This perhaps happens most with our opportunities and the resultant outcomes.
We of course should be open to listening and engaging with other people and their viewpoints, but too often is someone’s day ruined by someone being rude to them, a disagreement, or the bus being late.
This can be taken even further when we look at the bigger (and perhaps more ominous) concepts of wider society, the economy, and government.
We are often told that “it’s a dog-eat-dog world”, “such is life” and “it is what it is”. In other words, we are told simply to get on with life, and persevere, as life is hard and it’s meant to be that way.
And so, generally speaking, we are told that we should let other factors, entities, rules, and people control our outcomes.
But one thing to keep in mind is that we never lose our ability to choose, and one thing we always have control over is ourselves.
The first step in controlling your outcomes is simply understanding that it is down to you to make the right choices and decisions and take responsibility for that.
So rather than complimenting yourself when something works and blaming others when it doesn’t, we should instead look at each situation as a chance to grow and improve. This is the best way to control your outcomes and choose opportunities.
Obviously, it isn’t always possible to stay positive and focused on making the best possible decision at all times. Everyone needs to take time off, eat unhealthy food, and have fun.
But accepting that those acts in themselves, in moderation, can be the right decision is a part of making sure you’re controlling your outcomes.
Taking and, more importantly, accepting responsibility is about more than taking blame and being positive – it is active and reactive, rather than static and passive. We need to keep in mind our choices, our ability to do things, and how we can make a positive change.
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
A Fixed and Growth Mindset
Ultimately this perspective can be summarised as a “fixed mindset” vs a “growth mindset”. Fixed is where individuals are fixed in their ways of thinking, but also in the idea that everything around them is fixed, and relatively uncontrollable. Whereas a growth mindset instead focuses on situations and opportunities to grow and learn.
For more on the Fixed vs. Growth Mindset, take a look at our latest DLC Training Digital Guide on Growth Mindset.
In conclusion, the only thing we are always able to control is our attitude, our choice, and our outcomes. In accepting and taking responsibility for this we can see each situation as a chance to learn, grow, and better ourselves, and ultimately achieve the outcomes we desire.
A great place to start with making better choices, choosing opportunities and controlling your outcomes is to work out what success means to you. Read the first part of our new “Steps to Success” series How to Define Success to better understand how you should outline your own idea of success.