gear_lever.jpgOkay, I’ve got tendencies——ways I naturally flow, habits and inclinations and routines that have crept in over the years. Some of these serve me, others do not. It is easy to say “That’s just the way I am,” with the unspoken but clear implication that it is beyond your control and must simply be accepted as fate.

Nonsense! Your tendency does not have to be your destiny. If your car is facing east and you want to go west, what do you do? You turn it around, of course.

I can hear the chorus now: “It’s not that easy! I’m not a car. Human behavior is much more complex.” Sounds like “arguing for your weakness” to me.

Imagine how difficult handling a car would be if you had no one to teach you how to drive it, if there were no owner’s manual, no labels on anything, if you had never seen a car operated before. And for fun, let’s make it a manual shift (remember those?). And perhaps it is out of gas, the battery needs charging, and it has a flat tire. Pretty difficult to drive that car, to turn it around now, right?

Unfortunately, that’s a pretty good metaphor for how many of us find our lives: low on gas (energy/motivation), running on a flat tire (bodies not in shape), not understanding how our minds and emotions interact (gear shift), never receiving competent instructions on how to operate this complex organism that is a human being.

It takes time and effort to learn about how best to focus our energies, to motivate ourselves, to create the reality we desire. Unfortunately, our education system rarely offers classes on life-management skills. We learn the “human being operations manual” on a catch as catch can basis. It’s a pick-up game, spotty on-the-job training.

We rarely approach life and the acquisition self-knowledge, self-mastery, in a systemic manner. Yet to achieve mastery of any subject matter, one must study it in a systemic way: with a plan, a goal, some logic, some overarching organization to the effort.

I’m not saying it is easy to achieve an increase in self-mastery. I am saying progress is very doable and the rewards are great beyond measure.

Fortunately, for the individual who wishes to excel, to achieve some measure of peace of mind, some greater level of maturity and self-mastery there are many excellent resources, books and CDs, classes, and websites (which this blog on Personal Leadership is but one contribution).

The number of resources available for the inquiring mind has increased exponentially in the last few decades, until now it is a challenge to sort the wheat from the chaff (“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Buddha).

We have an immense, often untapped capacity to direct our lives. Our tendency is does not have to be our destiny.