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Take charge’ is standard advice people give to each other whenever in a problem. However, more often than not, when we are up against the odds, taking charge is not all that simple.
Taking charge of one’s own life starts with the knowledge that our life is an outcome of our own choices. In a common business language, we call this as a proactive approach. All motivational programmes state that successful professionals are proactive in nature. Loss of control is essentially a reactive approach. Being proactive means taking responsibility for the situation and not blaming it on the others. It also means doing something about the situation. The reactive approach is dependent on people while taking action. Thus taking charge means understanding that we exist on a planet of choice. It also means taking responsibility for the choices we have to make. It goes to the extent of whether we want to lead a life or terminate it. Ultimately we are nothing but a sum total of the choices we make in life. Successful people make choices and take responsibility for the outcome. The not so successful people avoid making choices, which is also their choice and blame the outcome of circumstances around them.
Taking charge means learning to work out of the ‘comfort zone.’ To work out of the comfort zone, one has to be courageous. Courage is a word commonly misunderstood and, at times, not understood at all. Courage is not displayed only during a fight. Courage is needed to take every decision in life. Courage is a basic necessity for making a choice. Courage means making a choice despite the fear of failure. Operating out of the comfort zone means that even if one fails, it can always be corrected and converted to success. The world does not come to an end if there occurs a failure in life. However, when we run away from problems by avoiding a decision, we are sure to be failures in life.
This fear has to be understood. Ultimately all fear is a fear of termination. Termination essentially means death, termination of relationships, opportunities, or life itself. Fear is an emotion we are all born with. When we have to take charge of our lives, we have to be just aware that this fear exists in us and can cause us to live in a comfort zone. This has something to do with the way our mind works.
Our mind is continuously in the past or the future. Rarely does it want to be in the present. When our mind is in the past, we remember only the negative memories and a few glorious moments. When the mind is in the future, it only fears because the future is uncertain, and the mind will only show us the possible failures. There is a reason behind this. If we operate in the present, then we have to work on our choices and take responsibility for the decisions. The mind, however, does not like actions. It is only interested in the result. So we love to be in the future thinking about how we would be well off after the current turmoil is over.
To take charge of ourselves, we need to train our minds to operate in the present. In the present, we can only make choices. When we make choices, we succeed in life. We also need to understand there are no failures in life. All failures are only learning. We also need to know that when we operate in the present, we have no control over the future. In any case, we never have control over the future. We can only dream of beautiful things when the mind is in the future, and then the fear takes over. So the rule is just let go after we make our choices. Trying to control an outcome will only set off anger and frustration. Accept the outcome the way it is and take responsibility and do something about it. That is the key.
In our scriptures, Brahma is the past, the creator who has already created the world. The creation of the present moment becomes past immediately. The present is maintenance depicted by the deity Vishnu. Mahesh is the destroyer and the rejuvenator. Treat your future as a continuous effort of corrective action. Thus these three deities are our own essence of being. We are ultimately the Brahma, the Vishnu, and the Mahesh of our lives. Once we know this, we can take charge.