When I was a younger boy, my grandma would tell me stories of my grandfather going to war. Like most men during world war 2, he did not want to go to leave his new bride and head to where death is ever looming. One thing I remember her saying to me as a life lesson is that you’re given a choice in life that most always boils down to your attitude. She said, “just like your grandpa, you can chose to be a victim, or go get the courage to become a victor. The choice is always yours.”
What does this mean? This means, when given any situation, your belief about the situation will in turn guide your thoughts and actions. This belief is so strong that even the way you think and address the situation happens whether or not your are conscious about it. The obvious choice would to be to see yourself as given a challenge that you must rise to and become a victor over.
The opposite is true – you could be given a challenge and say, ‘why me’. From this victim midset, you have now set yourself up for failure from the start. You’ve seen the challenge become the burden.
That thought has always been on my mind throughout the years, but I have to admit I haven’t always been as couragous as I could have been. You always assume when the time comes, you’ll be ready. The fact is, it comes and hits you in the face right when you’re planning for it. “Everyone has a plan until you’re punched in the face”. The point is, the mindset of preparation is the key to success. My study of stoicism has lead me lately to living as if it has already happened, being unphased by things we should expect happen, and turning my ‘have to’s into ‘get to’s.
How do you break this cycle? You start by examining your internal thoughts first. Now that you are conscious about your thoughts, you can then analyze how to course-correct. Until then, you might be in the default victim midset and not even know it.