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Your Life Sucks Because You Suck

Just before I get to today’s guest post from Joshua Noerr, I wanted to update you on the Life Coaching offer I announced in the last post ‘Get Unstuck’.

I was caught more than a tad off guard by the response and as such I’m going to have to close it or risk knocking  my work/life balance out of kilter. And I feel sure you don’t want a hypocritical life coach working himself into the ground.

I didn’t want to close it though without saying anything in case you were planning on contacting me and just hadn’t got round to it yet.

Therefore, I just want to let you know I won’t be accepting any more applications after midnight on Sunday 7th November.

If you’re interested please read the criteria as this is in no way right for everybody. Also be aware that I probably won’t be able to schedule a date much before the end of this month.

Your Life Sucks Because You Suck

Now there is a title that should grab your attention. Understand first that this post is not meant to offend you. I assume that if you have been reading Tim’s blog for any length of time, you are used to being challenged. That is exactly my intention today.

This post is not meant to be a written “beat down” either. In fact, when it is all said and done, I want you to feel empowered to take control of your life and the results you get out of it; I’m just not going to stroke any egos along the way.

So what exactly am I talking about here? I’m talking about responsibility and accountability.

100% Responsibility

I believe it is time for people to start taking 100% responsibility for the results they produce in life. That is not a typo. I absolutely mean 100% responsibility.

Wherever you are in life today, you are there as a result of your thoughts, actions, and decisions.

Are you having a bad day? Your fault.

Work sucks? Your fault.

Relationship sucks? Your fault.

Get the picture? It isn’t the car, the job, the boss, it’s you baby.

Do you not like your job? Get a new one. Don’t like your level of health and fitness? Fix it. Not getting along with your spouse or significant other? Make some changes, make it work, or get out of the relationship.

But I didn’t ask for…

Inevitably, when I share my perspective on this subject, someone says, “But I didn’t ask for (fill in the blank).” They fill in that blank with things like cancer, natural disasters, or any other number of things that are outside their sphere of control.

For the sake of argument, we will ignore the fact that an estimated 80% of cancer is lifestyle related so that we can move on.

All right, something crazy and out of the blue came and smacked you across the face? Great, what did you do about it? Did you lie down and cry, “Why me?” Or did you stand up and scream back, “Fuck you cancer, you aren’t beating me!”

You see, you can’t control those types of things for the most part. What you can control is the reaction you have when those things come around.

A Run Across Canada

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a young man named Terry Fox. Terry was by all rights a normal active youth. He played basketball in high school and college, and was an avid distance runner. Everyone like him.

When he was 19 years old, a pain in his knee started to bother him during basketball practice. He hid the pain from his coach, and thought it was related to an earlier car accident in which he was involved. It wasn’t.

Fox was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. After extensive chemotherapy, it was determined that the only way to save his life was to amputate his right leg. Athletic career gone, just like that.

The only problem with that was, no one bothered to tell Terry Fox he would not be able to have an athletic career. In August of 1979, with the help of an artificial leg, Fox competed in a marathon and finished dead last. His time was a full 10 minutes longer than that of his next closest competitor. Everyone who witnessed the finish applauded, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Fox though, wasn’t done. He revealed to his family his plan to run across Canada, and raise money for cancer research. Initially, his goal was $1 million, which he later revised to $24 million, representing $1 for every one of Canada’s population at the time.

Fox never finished the “Marathon Of Hope” across Canada. The cancer spread to his lungs, and he was forced to end the run just outside of Thunder Bay. By that time, he had raised $1.7 million.

He died a few months later. To date, over $500 million has been raised for cancer research in his name.

There Are No Problems, Only Opportunities

Fox didn’t see a problem with losing his leg, he saw an opportunity to help others.

I don’t know about you, but my problems pale in comparison to losing a leg to cancer. Maybe yours do not, but I can tell you this, what you do with those problems is what matters. Do you see an opportunity in disguise?

When I take stock of my life, I feel pretty damn good knowing that I have control over one incredible thing…

My attitude.

You have that same control. You can make a choice today that no matter what has happened up until this point, you are not going to let that dictate your future. You can start taking 100% responsibility right now, and feel the incredible power that comes along with it.

I will leave you with this a truth: You cannot fix the problems in your life with the same mindset that created them. Change your mind, change your life.

Bio: Joshua Noerr is a former competitive fighter turned blogger. He owns or is partnered in several blogs on different subjects including personal development, and fly fishing.

——————————-

This post struck a chord with me. I still remember a client walking out on me when I told him his life was 100% his responsibility and he disagreed citing outside influences. What’s your take, do you think your life is 100% down to you or not?

54 comments to Your Life Sucks Because You Suck

  • Absolutely 100% my responsibility.

    Own up, own your life, be a badass.

  • Really good guest post. I’ve read posts where the author says “I’m not gonna sugar coat it…” and then they reveal something that ends up being kinda weak and sounds sugar coated. Always annoyed me. This isn’t that so that’s cool. I like the idea that it’s 100% on me.

  • Teri

    Totally agree!
    Shit happens in life…it really is all about how you decide to see it all. It’s perspective. Taking responsibility… IS very empowering.
    Personally I have a WAY easier time accepting the things that are chosen for me. Whether it was being diagnosed with cancer, someone breaking up with me…or any circumstance that seemed “out of my hands”…easy to find the positive and acceptance.
    When I have had to make a choice in the past and there were SO many to choose from…I used to get stuck and wait for something to happen. (I am using past tense here on purpose…as this is something I am presently changing).
    Too many choices seem to have been a blessing and a curse. Any tips on what to do when you get overwhelmed by choices?

  • Your life may or may not be 100% your responsibility. So I think the “act as if” principle applies here.

    When you answer the question: “what would you do if your life were completely your responsibility?”, you generally get a more useful and motivating answer than if you blame other forces for your life situation.

    Another useful principle is “always at cause, never at fault”. In other words, it’s empowering to act as though you chose every circumstance in your life.

  • I so totally agree which is one of the reasons I am now back in school studying to be a life coachwhile still working part time as an ER nurse. (I had been debating between that and NLP actually and decided NLP would be better after I had the coaching)

    One of the big reasons is that I want to help people who want to help themselves. In the ER people have the attitude of it’s not my fault, this is something that HAPPENED TO ME. Very few are open to hearing they are responsible. It is easier to blame anyone or anything aside from yourself.

    Good post.

    • That is a tough one. My wife is a nurse too, in oncology, and as Josh said, lifestyle plays a big part in cancer. Then again there are people that get it through no fault of their own and that’s why I really like Jacks approach from above.

      • Yeah, that question about cancer was on my mind, because a lot of the Law of Attraction true belief out there leads to the question “did I cause my cancer through negative thinking?” … which is not the most resourceful to believe.

        • I actually do think that on a soul level we create our diseases.

          I hope I don’t sound like a nut to anyone and if I myself ten years ago would have heard what i am saying I would have laughed. I respect anyone’s right to believe otherwise and I hope you will respect mine for voicing what I believe.

          In a nut shell because this could take hours, after being hospitalized 6 or so years ago with mild hemiparesis a month after a miscarriage and going through one of the worst periods of my life I went through a big change and a lot of searching.

          I can now say that 6 years forward that disease was the best thing that happened to me. My thinking is different. My understanding and what feels right to me is different.

          I personally believe in God and souls and reincarnation (again, no one has to agree with my view). I believe each of us has a soul that came to experience our current life for a reason. I believe that soul (even if we do not remember) knows why they are here, what they came to learn or experience or work out.

          I also believe our souls choose out parents/family and thus genetics is not something forced upon us, it is a choice our soul made for a reason. Not everyone who has a genetic disposition develops the diseases. I believe what disease we “create” and get sick from can tell us what it is we need to work on.

          If anyone is interested in reading more about it I highly recommend Louise Hay’s Book You Can Heal Your Life.

          Another interesting read would be The Evolution Angel By Dr. Todd Michaels.

          Either way, even if you disagree with everything I said, I still do believe that like Josh wrote, people can take control and react in a way that will benefit them.

          That is one of the reasons I started blogging. So that I could take things that happened in my life that make not necessarily be happy and show how you can still learn, grow and react in a positive way.

          Sorry for the really long ramble.

          • Sorry, me again. One more thing.

            If you do believe in the Law of Attraction, the way they get past that whole question is by saying that sometimes things you don’t wish for do come into your life but they are a stepping stone to something bigger that you asked.

            For instance if you want to have a greater empathy or be able to counsel people, you might get a disease so that you have the experience that will build you into someone who has been there and now has the tools to help others.

            Mike Dooley’s book on infinite possibilities is another great read.

          • I have to be careful how i say this Susie, because your opinion is as valid as mine and I am happy for you to share it.

            I read Louise Hays book and thought it was interesting even if scientifically ridiculous, unless you want to raise the LoA to a status of religion and make it untouchable as some people are doing.

            I don’t know Mike, but I know Andy Dooley quite well and have worked with him and occasionally exchange e-mails and books.

            About 6 months ago Andy tweeted as a way of supporting the LoA theory, that as we only use 10% of our brain how can anybody dismiss the LoA? Well the scientific proven reality is we use 100% of our brain so that’s a bit tenuous.

            The LoA is filled with massive holes that nobody I have ever met can fully explain. In other words, as I say it’s slipping into the realms of religion, just have faith, ya know?

            I was somebody that GENUINELY got into the LoA before The Secret afetr listening to Thomas Leonard’s (as it was called then, but now changed to 28 Secrets) The 28 Principles of Attraction. I have since read numerous book on the subject and they are all intellectually bereft in my opinion.

            That isn’t to say the people that write them are anything less than intelligent, just that they are seeing and believing what they want to rather than what is there imo.

            I wrote a really long post on the subject outlining my issues with the LoA. Nobody really answered by questions in anything other than vague ways.

            http://www.adaringadventure.com/law-of-attraction/the-law-of-attraction-is-a-con/

            If you are able to there is a guest post waiting for you because I’d LOVE to have my thinking shaken on this one.

            I’m not saying the LoA doesn’t exist, even though science does, but I am saying some of the people making shit loads of money out of it are talking out of their rear ends.

            If it were true, rather than creating huge wealth for themselves, wouldn’t they be better served helping the less well off in Society that don’t know the Universe is just waiting for them to get up off their arse and let it know what they want?

    • Great point about helping people who want to help themselves.

      I occasionally do some speaking (need to do more, but I’m getting there), and I get labeled a “motivational speaker.” I think this is crap because I can’t motivate anyone who does not want to be motivated!

      Desire is a powerful tool.

  • I absolutely agree with this post 100% Will pass it on to my writing students, who need to know!!! Thanks Tim!

  • Great cartoon!

    I sucked today. Have hardly left my chair. Eaten Halloween candy. Been crabby with my kids. Have no idea what to have for tea that is due in half an hour. I didn’t even deliver our old vacuum cleaner to school for take-apart. That really sucked. Once.

    It is totally my responsibility. All of it.

  • @Alison: Good start, now move on fast. What next eh? No use lingering in guilt. Act. Mentally or otherwise.

  • Josh,

    WAY to go man. I especially loved it when you wrote about the cancer. This is such an inspiring post!

    Here’s my take: I agree 100% with what Will Smith said in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’: “You want something? Go get it. Period.” If there is a certain area of your life that needs fixing, it’s completely up to you. It is the mindset that has allowed me to achieve a full side-split in 9 months, despite some pretty unpleasant medical appliances/medications. I could have just stopped and rested, but I didn’t. I applied what you wrote in the post, and now I’m kickboxing in addition to that. In the past, I have caused some unpleasant symptoms as a direct result of the exercise, but you know what? I’m sick of this BS. A life where I can’t exercise is a life that I don’t want to live.

    I was born to exercise, dance, be very active, and I have been competitive about it since Elementary School. Crohn’s disease was initially devastating for about 2 years in that sense. Couldn’t really get out of the hospital for enough time to start an active regimen. I did take daily walks whenever I could when I was home, and I journaled pretty much every day.

    But for the past 10 months, I have been putting my life together piece by piece. Morning routine, evening routine, night routine. Daily exercise, reading, meditation, journaling. Through it all, I have found one universal truth in my life. And I believe this applies to everyone: You can’t change your life without changing your day to day habits. Build consistency. I take this to heart :)

    Thank you very much!
    Josh Lipovetsky.

  • Kaie

    By far the best guest post I’ve read here.

  • Barry

    Whilst I agree with the principle that the reaction to any given situation or circumstance is up to the individual, I don’t like the idea of it being ‘your fault’. The word fault implies blame and judgement and anybody blaming or judging themselves is unlikely to be in a position to take positive action.

    It’s much better simply to accept things as they are and to realise that bad shit does happen sometimes. It’s not necessarily always our fault, but it is entirely up to us how we deal with it.

    For example, I get up in the morning and go to work. I am in a queue of traffic when somebody hits me in the rear because they’re fiddling with the radio. Now I could ‘take responsibility’ for the accident by saying ‘it’s my fault because I chose to get in the car and go to work to feed my family today’ or ‘I am responsible for the accident because I should have packed this shitty job in months ago’.

    However, apart from the fact that admitting responsibility for an accident that isn’t your fault is a sure way to rocket your insurance premiums, the reality is that you can’t be 100% responsible for everything that happens to you.

    Anyone that truly thinks they are the cause of everything in their life is dramatically overestimating both their importance and ability to control the universe – like primitive people praying to the sun for a good harvest or sacrificing animals as burnt offerings to ‘appease the gods’ through a warped sense of causality.

    Let’s take a few more examples:

    Are children responsible for being sexually abused?
    Are all pregnant women responsible if they miscarry?
    Are all rape victims responsible for being attacked?
    Are the people of New Orleans responsible for Katriana?
    Are the innocent victims of war and famine around the world responsible for their situations?

    You see it’s pretty easy to say ‘I am 100% responsible for everything’ when our basic needs are taken care of and ‘everything’ really means what we do for a living, who we spend time with and how much of gut we’re carrying. It’s a little harder when we start talking about those in less fortunate societies and in cases of natural disasters, murder, rape, racism, oppression and so on.

    You can not be 100% responsible for everything that happens to you. All you can take responsibility for is how you choose to react to the things that happen.

    Look at it this way. You cannot ‘accept responsibility’ for the fact it is raining. However, you can choose whether you stay in and bitch about it ruining your day whether you get your raincoat and umbrella and carry on with your plans. You don’t get to choose whether it rains or not – but you do choose how you react if it does.

    Additionally, Let’s take cancer seeing as it’s mentioned in the post. I hate the implication that you somehow get to choose whether you ‘beat’ cancer or not by the attitude you adopt and think that kind of thinking is both pernicious, offensive and far too common in our society.

    For every incredible story about ‘they told me I’d be dead from cancer in 6 months but I beat it’ there are literally THOUSANDS of cases where people also chose to ‘fight’ their cancer but died anyway – Tim’s wife will no doubt be able to testify to that if she works in oncology.

    The thing is you just don’t get to hear about these cases because “This guy chose to scream ‘Fuck you cancer’ until he was blue in the face and fought with all his might… but died anyway” is not a particularly inspirational story.

    I was recently reading an article where some terminal cancer patients where describing the pressure they feel under from society to be positive and upbeat and the emotional damage that they did to themselves by feeling the have to avoid letting their natural grief out.

    In the vast majority of terminal illnesses, it’s not really up to you whether you live or die. You do always get to decide how you live though. You can choose to use whatever time you are given to focus on blaming yourself or asking ‘why me’ or you can choose to make the most our of the time you have. That much is true.

    As a result, I don’t buy into ‘your life sucks because you suck’, I would prefer ‘your life sucks but you have the choice to take responsibility for how you react to it’ – not quite as snappy a title I know, but more realistic in my opinion.

    I am aware that the main body of the post does make that kind of distinction, but I also think that this idea of 100% responsibility which floats around the self-help world can be harmful rather than helpful if adopted in the wrong way.

    Perhaps I’ll let Tim have the final words (seeing as it’s his blog!) and quote one of my favourites nuggets of his wisdom:

    There is no how it is; only how it is for you

    • For every incredible story about ‘they told me I’d be dead from cancer in 6 months but I beat it’ there are literally THOUSANDS of cases where people also chose to ‘fight’ their cancer but died anyway – Tim’s wife will no doubt be able to testify to that if she works in oncology.

      Exactly. And that is an argument I make to LoA advocates.

      I think there are 2 distinct arguments going on here. I think Josh really means, deal with it. IOW, if you don’t accept it’s your fault you will struggle to get out of your self-pity attitude and it will be difficult to change.

      OTOH, when we drift into LoA talk, then I’m with you and all your examples.

      I could be wrong but I don’t believe Josh would tell a sexual abused child it was his or her fault, but maybe he’d encourage them to believe they had total control going forward which is much more empowering than believing your soul really fucked up.

      • Barry

        “if you don’t accept it’s your fault you will struggle to get out of your self-pity attitude and it will be difficult to change”

        Although I think we all basically share very similar views on this, I don’t quite think we’re into semantics when I say that I don’t believe that determining everything is your fault (when some things clearly are not) is that helpful – can’t it just be enough to understand that you can choose how you respond to them?

        If you get ill, or have an accident, or somebody dies, or you get laid off, or your wife runs off with the milkman, spending time apportioning blame, whether to yourself or something external is not going to help you move forward or react in the best way.

        Accepting everything bad that happens is your fault is only one step away from ‘it’s my fault – and I should have done…’

        Should-have-dones will eat you up inside. What I’m advocating is learning to accepting that shit just happens sometimes without apportioning blame.

        I think we all agree that it’s empowering to realise it’s up to us how we choose to respond to anything but my argument is that ‘accepting responsibility’ for everything is dangerously close to seeking to apportion blame to yourself; and I don’t think blame has ever helped anything or anyone.

        In other words, accept responsibility for what you do and feel now, but let go of what has already happened – no matter who is responsible. You can’t change it, so saying ‘it’s my fault’ doesn’t really serve any purpose other than to make you feel guilty.

        To it seems that simple acceptance is better than ‘taking responsibility’ when it comes to the past.

        It would be interesting to hear Josh’s take on what we’ve said, I hope he’ll drop by the comments at some stage.

        Sorry for taking up so much of the comments page with my waffle!

        • I have chosen to take 100% responsibility as a stance of empowerment in my life. When I say I am 100% responsible, that makes me feel strong. I don’t feel helpless, and I refuse to give my power away to other people and circumstances.

          In effect, it is a mindset as much as anything else. I don’t think Terry Fox was to blame for his cancer, but he chose to be empowered by it and do something great.

        • That was my mistake with the wording.

          Fault was the wrong word, I should have said responsibility.

          Thanks for pointing it out!

    • “You can not be 100% responsible for everything that happens to you.”

      Exactly, but you are 100% responsible for everything you do in reaction.

  • Great post! All the things we want to say to people in our lives but for some reason, can’t. Also everything we need to hear ourselves from time to time!!

    thanks

  • Tim is totally right too, by the way. I would never tell a sexually abused child it was his fault in another life or some other crazy bullshit like that.

    There is a singer of a band called Linkin Park who was abused as a child, he chose to take that pain and do something great with it. Was it his fault? Hell no.

    Was his reaction powerful and empowering? Yes.

  • I don’t buy this. Some things aren’t our fault.

    I have a son with autism. I have had people come up to me and ask what sin I committed, or asked why I didn’t take care of myself during pregnancy or….

    I do believe in the When Bad Things Happen to Good People philosophy. But I also believe when bad things happen, Viktor Frankl was right–it is all about our attitude. And being in a concentration camp, or living with a disability is part of our life experience. It is then up to us to choose what we make of our lives.

    • I do think we’re all on the same side here Mary. I used the word fault inappropriately and I think Josh is saying what you are really.

      The hole LoA thing is another matter. Quite honestly if I were in your situation and somebody asked me what sin I’d committed I’d reply:

      “The one of kneeing you in the bollocks you stupid bastard(presuming it were a guy)”

      Then I would apply said knee to said testicular area in an upward fashion with as much power as possible and move on in peace.

  • This is a great conversation.

    Would it be too glib (and perhaps slightly rude)to sum it up by saying Shit happens – get over it?

  • Great thoughts Joshua. This sums up some of my feelings quite well.I hate the “roll over and die” attitude so many people have, especially in the face of adversity.

    Studies are beginning to show that some who overcome adversity are more resilient in the future. I would argue they are BETTER PEOPLE because of the challenges they have overcome. I know in my own life I take pride in my mistakes and failures because those are exactly what made me who I am.

    The 100% responsibility thing is important. To not be responsible is to admit one has no power. Power and responsibility go hand in hand. We can’t expect to have personal power if we don’t take personal responsibility.

    This stuff can’t be repeated enough, good post!

  • Srijan thapa

    Thoughtful, Motivating, Inspiring stuff. thanx

  • David Paul

    Yea Life sucks and then you die. If you have to have someone tell you that you are in control of how you react to that then you are just living with you head in the sand. I am glad that I didn’t pay any money for that info, and I think to even ask someone to pay you for that kind of info is bull shit, I think everyone knows it deep down, If you want to GIVE someone advice then do just that and GIVE it for free, because in the end it is just your opinion. Thanks

    • I guess I’m a little confused, I don’t recall asking anyone to pay me for this piece, nor do I offer any coaching or services for a fee at my blog.

    • You may be very right that everyone knows it at a deep down level, but reality is that many people, if not most people, regrettably don’t know it consciously or know how to use the info. If you do, it might seem like platitude, but if you don’t it can be the one thing you need to think about if you want to improve your life.

    • If anybody needs their money back, they can e-mail me for a full refund at any time.

  • Andy W

    I commented negatively about your diet blog – not just because you are on one and I like a dig; but because I don’t believe in the all the hype and claims surrounding these things – particularly regarding a lack of energy.
    I haven’t looked at the evidence around your particular diet, but would ask you to see if it is actually based on real scientific data or just some personal observations (doesn’t mean they are wrong, just not researched).
    However as a Life Coach I would have thought you would be familar with most of the reasons for a lack or energy; such as:-
    Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed?
    Do you know you have untapped potential?
    Do you feel like life is passing you by?
    Do you dislike your job?
    Do you suffer from anxiety issues?

    Got these from some Website somewhere. So if people are feeling a little tired and lacking in energy and drive I would suggest that spending your money on a life coach would be better than on a diet. What do you think?

    • I’m not totally sure what are you talking about Andy?

      If you mean the Paleo/Primal experiment I have been doing, then yes there is shit loads of hard scientific peer reviewed evidence to back it up and I read a lot on it before starting as well as talking to dozens of people that had done it.

      What makes you want to make the comment knocking something before asking the question? Would it not have made more sense to have asked about the research first and if I’d said no, then ripped it?

      In case you are generally interested and not just taking the piss, here are my answers.

      Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed? – Very rarely like when I had the in-laws to stay!
      Do you know you have untapped potential? – Not any more
      Do you feel like life is passing you by? – No
      Do you dislike your job? – No, I love it
      Do you suffer from anxiety issues? – That definitely has been an issue in my life from time to time, but less so these days.

      Thanks for asking!

  • It took me 5 days to scrape together enough courage to read this post. No, that’s not entirely true; there have been a number of things come along that sat higher on the priority scale than my reading list. But still, I chose other titles first – fear that you might be right? And of course you are. But in a good way.

    Even if I am crippled by a wild penguin that springs out of a luggage cart and chomps me on the leg at Heathrow airport, (not much I could do to prevent the unknown) my response to the situation is my own choice, thus the long term outcome is in my hands. Even if I die from the attack, as long as I make the time count I can still claim to be a class act.

  • You know, your post reminded me of what happened with me when I joined MBA college.

    It so happened that I could not join the MBA college of my choice and landed up in a not so good college. When I talked to students over there, a lot of them were cursing the college and complaining about stuff. It was then, that I decided, ok fine, I have fallen down on the road and my knee is bleeding, but I will get the first aid for myself rather than just complaining and cursing. I hope u got the metaphor…

    and you know, it worked wonders for me. I am so happy that I had chosen a better reaction.

    Raj

  • Great thoughts Joshua. This sums up some of my feelings quite well.I hate the “roll over and die” attitude so many people have, especially in the face of adversity.

  • Virgina VanWensem

    not having the roll over and die attidue my life is reltively good, very supporting and indulgent husband. I think I am particularry spoiled but, I know thos sound shallow, I want the challange.Help me find it