When you were younger, you probably had an image in your head of how your life would look in ten years. Maybe you dreamt of being married with children. Or maybe you dreamt of an exciting career with lots of international travel. The overall image that you had was with the perfect partner living the perfect life with no money worries, expensive holidays and a big car.

But instead you are living in a rented property in an undesirable part of town, the dog you got from the rescue centre has incontinence issues and to cap it all off you have one leg longer than the other!

When you think of your life right now it is very different to how you imagined it would be at this age, and probably in a different place than you imagined too. So, when you project ahead into the future you hope you will feel different and be in a different place to how you are right now. Your life isn’t like how you imagined right? And you can’t stop asking yourself what went wrong?

If your life is different to how you imagined and different to how you want it to be in the future, there is a common factor here, and that is YOU. You are the master of your own destiny and either you made the wrong choices or you allowed your life to be derailed by other factors like following the wrong partner or watching too much Jeremy Kyle show – in fact your life is the Jeremy Kyle show.

How do our life plans get derailed? Firstly, major events that affect the family include life changing events like illness, accidents and death that create a significant paradigm shift in your plans. Secondly, the kind of derailment that keeps you in one place due to your own decision choices. This might be a career or relationship that doesn’t quite fulfil its promise and you get stuck and feel frustrated despite how often you get reassured by friends and colleagues. Subconsciously although you made these choices, you start to blame others and the negative neurochemicals in your head set to work.

Truth is, there are events in our lives that are out of our control. Events that you didn’t send an invitation to, but that turned up at the party anyway. When these events are tragic and terribly sad then you deserve the space and time to assimilate the life change circumstances that accompany them.

However, there are other so-called derailments that we internalise, that are nothing but the normal pattern of all of our lives but feel unfairly treated by. Events that we wrongly believe don’t happen to others, so we end up comparing ourselves to other people’s lives.

The truth is there are no parallel lives, only the normal stop-start patterns of the lives of humans, and this is basically because of the complex nature of human behaviour and modern society. The animal kingdom has parallel lives because they are born to follow a basic blue print for life. Animals have spatial awareness and some are even sociable like dogs, monkey and apes. They exist to push their own species forwards – what Professor Richard Dawkins called the Selfish Gene in this book of the same title.

However, humans are different. We have spatial awareness, sociability’s and the ability to dream, set goals and project thoughts around events that have yet to occur. A bit like a mental time machine. Without this ability we would never educate ourselves, set goals or dream of a better life. This mental sketch pad ability in the pre-frontal cortex to dream of better things to come, can sadly also mean that we compare our own reality to the reality of others.

 Without this sounding too, much like counselling and coming across as an agony aunt this is my advice:

  1. Use ‘Curtain therapy’. A well-known technique and my favourite where you ‘pull yourself together’ like you would your living-room curtains. ‘Sorry couldn’t resist the humour’.
  2. Give yourself a reality check.On a serious note the grass may not be greener. Assess your circumstance and if you think you can be happier elsewhere away from a bad situation and you are financially liquid enough to make the change then you have one life. Go for it.
  3. Use the right narrative to yourself and others. If the reality is that the problem is more you than anyone one else but you have the intelligence and self-consciousness to realise that. Then change your narrative. It is so true that you can become what you say. Communicating in a positive way and being around positive people can bring you out of the limbic system way of thinking and into a more conscious constructive mind set.
  4. Wake up. Wake up to the fact that nobody is coming to change your life for you. This is no knight in shiny armour coming to rescue you. YOU change your life. It’s your choice. Simple as that!
  5. Focus on you. The secret is to only think of your own journey and pay little attention to others. Those that succeed do two things:

1) They occupy themselves with themselves and become mindful my giving. Giving is the fuel of progress.

2) They throw away the clock ticking in their heads and instead evert to space-time, where there is no beginning and no end, only the time-line of action and effort. i.e. one big effort = 1 hour in space time, no effort is zero space time and stagnation. Therefore, time is measured in units of effort and giving. Doors open when you focus on what you can give – in terms of the skills and personally you already possess.

‘You change your life, nobody else. You have time to change. Unless you are over ninety. If you are not over ninety then what are you doing to yourself?

Stop the self-pity and blame-narrative. There are many happy times to come, if only you would let go and allow yourself to smell the roses’.

Clifton Bradeley

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