Becoming the Creator

“Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

In the past my challenges or goals would start with fervor but dwindle as my will power began to wilt. I needed help with my bad habits. Lately, it has been a different story. I have been able to make life altering changes that stick. I am not doing anything differently; only perceiving things differently.

Five days ago I set out on a personal challenge. Not orchestrated by a group, doctor, trainer or teacher but an individual journey. I vowed to not drink for a month; 30 days dry.

Most of my adult life, I was the product of my circumstances. I learned how to bob and weave and became a master adjuster; working within given parameters.

No matter where I was in life in regards to location, social status, heath or wealth, I worked with what I had and saw success as doing they best one could with what is given to you. Although I still believe this to be true, I now see it at a different angle.

The tools for success do not have to be given to you. You can go and get them. Be active instead of passive.

I am no longer a recipient of experiences and conditions. Things don’t just happen to me. Instead, I can be the driving force and steer myself towards chosen experiences and conditions. I am not a product of my circumstances. I craft them.

This shift in perception from a passive role to an active role is responsible for my ability to create lasting change.

Help with Bad Habits

Two years ago I quit smoking. I smoked heavily for almost two decades and tried to quit for years. It was the thing I liked least about myself. I attempted every smoking cessation substitute out there. E-cigs, mints, gums, patches, programs… I had almost give up when I had a shift in my perception.

I quit trying to stop. Instead of trying, I just stopped. I set a goal—a challenge. I vowed for 21 days of abstinence. Three weeks without nicotine or nicotine substitutes. Scientifically I learned that the physical addiction to cigarettes would be completely gone and out of my body after three weeks.

If I smoked again at the end of the 21 days, it would be because I chose to smoke, not because I had to. I was no longer the victim to my circumstances and couldn’t blame my decision to light a cigarette on nicotine addiction.

It was beautiful. A real game changer.

This doesn’t mean thoughts of smoking vanished. Not at all. But when they came, I perceived them differently. With my new outlook as a creator of circumstances, I had more power. More will.

The choice not to act on the urge became much easier. It was because I didn’t want to; not because I had to. N

Now, I got to choose.

I was no longer a child working within the guidelines given. I was an adult setting my own guidelines.

Although my 21 day smoking challenge was 2 years ago, the lessons I learned come in handy as I enter into my 30 day drinking challenge. Aside from the occasional hangover, I know I am not physically addicted to booze. If I drink, it is not because I have to drink. It would be because I choose to drink.

When I started planning this challenge, I viewed deterrents left and right. There were parties, trips, flights, get togethers with friends, etc. There were plenty of reasons to drink. Plenty of circumstances that involved drinking. But that’s all they were: Circumstances. The theme came back.

Instead of feeling passive to the situation, I take an active role.

These are not circumstances that I must fit within. I can choose. I can choose to not go to the event or I can choose to not drink at the event. Either way, its up to me. This mantra provides solace as I tread ahead for the next 25 days.

There is real power that comes with the realization that you are a creator of circumstances instead of a creature of circumstances.

If you are trying to stop a bad habit or something that is not supporting you, it is brutally hard to do it in a regular state of mind. A shift in perception is crucial if you want to gain the upper hand to something for which you feel powerless.

Say it again, Ben!

“Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men.” – Benjamin Disraeli