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What is Self-Determination?

What is self-determination?

What is self-determination?

Is your life determined by forces beyond your control? Are you a puppet of circumstances?

Or are you self-determined, the captain of your fate, the master of your destiny?

The truth is not to be found in any one of the suggested answers, taken singly.

The truth is that your life is determined BOTH by yourself AND by forces beyond your control.

Your life is determined by four factors.

  1. Yourself.
  2. Other people
  3. The system in which you are operating.
  4. Mother nature.

1. Yourself.

You are the PRIME MOVER in your life.

Why? Because you decide:

  • What to think,
  • What to say,
  • What to do,
  • What to neglect to do.

And since you are always present in your life, you are the main determining factor in how it turns out.

In addition, you are the ONLY person you can control.

Sadly, many people do not control themselves; they think the wrong things, say the wrong things, do the wrong things, and neglect to do the right things.

And when things go wrong, they are shocked, and like to blame other people.

2. Other people.

Other people certainly can affect you, and they do.

You are affected by decisions made by other people.

You are affected by actions committed by other people.

Other people can be the source of pleasure and pain.

That is why it is important that you treat other people with great respect.

The waitress who brings your dinner, or the porter who carries your bag, has the power to ruin your day.

Treat all people with the best intentions.

Why? It's nicer. And it's safer

3. The system.

The third element is the system in which you and the others are operating.

If you are all on the Titanic, then it may not matter how you behave, it is NOT going to be a good day.

Sometimes, the circumstances do NOT serve your interests.

This is when it feels like the gods are against you.

They aren't against you. Neither are they for you.

The system does not care, either way.

4. Mother Nature.

The ultimate system is Mother Nature.

Mother Nature includes, your genetic code, the weather, deadly viruses and bacteria, storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Any one of these natural events can have to power to ruin your day.

On the other hand, Mother Nature includes sandy shores, sunshine, summer breeze and flowers.

Any one of which has the power to make my day.

So, you have to make of life what you can.

You are, and you are not, the victim of circumstances.

It is, and it is not, about who you know.

You are, and you are not, responsible.

Make of that, what you will!

As Gandalf the Grey wisely said,

"All you have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given to you."

Lord of the Rings, Chapter 7 verse 13.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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