If you think the world is against you, it probably is. If you think the world is conspiring against you, then maybe that also. But if you believe that you are the one who is in control of your own destiny, then you probably are.

Mary makes an appointment to see me in my counselling rooms. She sees herself as a victim. Nothing ever goes right for her. She feels her job is not up to her expectations, her family is unsupportive and her friends can never be relied upon.

There are those who complain the whole time about things never going right for them and who even choose the wrong check-out line in the supermarket. These are the very people who will not take responsibility for how their life develops. They just fall into a pattern of acceptance and blame others for what is not going right in their lives. They often use the excuse of an unhappy childhood for what happens to them 40 years later when it is time to take responsibility for what is happening now and not to blame a parent, a sibling or a friend going back to those teenage years.

But some individuals do get trapped in a futile attempt to find reasons for failure, which is one of the reasons that many clients come to see me. Something happens in their life and they know in their heart of hearts that they need to move on but they just don’t know how to do it.

However, the fact that they have come to see me, means they acknowledge their negative mindset and behaviour, and that is certainly a step in the right direction.


So let me set out here some of my strategies for helping Mary on her way to taking a greater responsibility for herself.

Firstly, be brutally honest with yourself. Admit what it is that does not work in your life and ask what it is that stops you from changing things. Take all the excuses out of the picture, remove blaming others and what are you left with? Accountability. Accountability for your actions and your own deeds: for what you do well and for what you don’t.

Secondly, put your words into actions!

When you say you say you are going to do something, then make sure that you do it. If you spend all your time procrastinating and delaying decision and action, think about how frustrating it is for others as well as for yourself, and your own family and friends.

Thirdly, see the world how it really is.

Is it fact or fantasy that the world is really against you? Well, we all see the world in a different way — we all use different filters through which we look at things and at people. These filters are what comprise our belief system and our entrenched negative thinking. The problem is that many people start to see their mindset as something that cannot be altered and because of this, they don’t open their minds to new thoughts or new ideas. They convince themselves that their mindset is ‘set in concrete’ and cannot be altered otherwise it could undermine their own thinking and hence make them feel insecure or unstable.

Fourthly, construct a life management plan.

Now, I don’t mean that you know exactly what is going to happen each and every day — of course not. But effective life management is about having a plan and having the commitment and courage to follow it through. If you ask little of yourself, then ‘little’ is probably only what you will deliver and what you will achieve.

So be clear and focused about what you want and what is going to give you fulfilment and satisfaction. If your job doesn’t do this for you, then ask yourself why? But far better to accept your job for what it does give you, appreciate and value your time during the day and when you get home in the evening, do something else that will give you pleasure, fulfilment and joy.

Read your children a story. Go to see a friend. Make a phone call to someone who is maybe alone.

And then watch how your mind, mood and focus changes.

Key points:

1. Negativity breeds negativity.

2. Mindsets can be changed, if we will it.

3. We all need a life management plan.