It would be comforting to think that we were in control of our lives. Indeed, the more elements of our life we have some control over, the more confident and happy we generally feel.
However fate has a habit of upsetting our well prepared plans and there’s very little we can do when situations outside our control impact on our lives. In fact the only thing we can control is how we respond to these new challenges.
It can be an interesting exercise to look back over your life and see how much you controlled and how much “just happened” to you. If this idea has some appeal and you have a spare hour or so, here’s a suggestion you might like to try.
Starting at the top of a blank page, draw a chart showing your progress through life and list the various decisions you have made which had a major impact on your life. If you list the various options that were available to you for each of these major decisions, it soon becomes obvious how your life could have been quite different if you had chosen a different option from the one that you selected.
As an example, if you were living and working overseas at some time and your options were to come back to Australia, stay in the country you were in or move to a third country, just think how a different decision could have led to a very different life for you and your family.
Of course fate plays a major role. It can be meeting, or not meeting, your future partner while travelling overseas. It could be a health scare which forces you to change your career or it could be any of the hundreds of good or bad life changing surprises you weren’t expecting.
I recently went through this process and it was quite surprising how different my life could have been if I had made different decisions at various points in the past.
Your life chart will also show how connected everything is. The decisions that you made have significantly affected other people’s lives and the decisions that various others have made would have had a major impact on your life. For example if you make, or receive, a marriage proposal, your decision on whether to say “yes” or “no” will be a major cross road in the lives of yourself, your future partner and any children that follow.
You’ll probably find this project an interesting trip down memory lane. We have published a range of books which assist people to consider some important lifestyle issues. You can find them on our web site.