How to Take Control of Your Past and Your Circumstances


The way you respond to being victimized can determine whether you recover and move forward with your life or stay locked in a cycle of blame, resentment, and depression.

You can see this in the way people responded to the devastating tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007.

A powerful F5 tornado destroyed the town of 1,500 people. The storm hit just before 10 o’clock at night. Thankfully, the residents had some warning and only eight people lost their lives. Almost every building and tree was knocked down by the tornado.

Yet, by morning, almost every road had been cleared of debris. Local government agencies helped some. Volunteer fire departments arrived almost as soon as the storm ended.

But most of the clearing of the roads was done by ordinary citizens of Greensburg and nearby towns. They grabbed their chainsaws, jumped in their pickup trucks, and started working to help their neighbors and friends. They didn’t wait for someone else to save them.

They were real victims of a natural disaster, but they didn’t act like it. They couldn’t change the fact that the tornado had destroyed their town, but they knew they were in control of what happened after the storm. They knew they had the power to control what happened next. They knew they could choose to be victims or to become victors.

Dennis Boyles wrote about this type of attitude for National Review Online as he covered the aftermath of the tornado.

“Not long ago, while I was working on my book about the Midwest, I met a woman in her 80s in McCook, Nebraska, who told me about how she and her family had escaped the Republican River flood of 1935. That was the flood that hit in the middle of the Dust Bowl, dropped ten years’ worth of water in a few hours, and turned the nearly dry riverbed into a sea nearly four miles wide.

She and her mother and father had survived by running to a nearby farm situated on the only hill around. When the water reached the farmhouse, they ran for the barn. When it reached the barn, they ran for the machine shed. When it reached the machine shed, the climbed into the rafters. They won by inches.

When they finally climbed down, they were like the people in Greensburg: Alone, with nothing, on a big, flat, hostile plain. I asked her what the government did to help them out. She looked at me like I was nuts. ‘The government? We never even thought of that. We just went back to work.'”

We just went back to work. That’s the attitude we need whenever we feel like a victim. It’s not easy, but it gets amazing results.

You cannot be a victim and live out your Passionate Purpose. You must understand that you – not your parents, society, your government, or anyone else – you have the power to determine what your future will be.

It doesn’t matter if your victimhood is real or phony. Tune out the voices in your head that are blaming, complaining, and whining about your lot in life. Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.

Even the worst circumstances can teach us something. That doesn’t mean that everything that has happened to you was good. It means you are choosing to use it for your good in the future. You are choosing to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. That’s empowering.

Get it deep in your soul. Until you give up blaming other people or circumstances for your failures and change your mindset from victim to victor, you will never truly succeed.

I readily agree that it’s not “fair” that everyone doesn’t start from the same point in this world. Some people have it harder than others. But all of us have something we must overcome in order to achieve the outcome we desire. And all of us are born with something that makes us unique and something that will help us succeed. The key is deciding not to be a victim and to fully exploit all the opportunity we have in this country.

Those who succeed are the ones who do not let their disadvantages define them. They’re the ones who don’t waste their time complaining about the hand life dealt them. They understand that living life as a victim limits your true potential and comes with strings attached that curtail your freedom.

Circumstances, event, tragedies, and what people have done to you do not have the power to make you a victim unless you give them that power. You get to decide. Your responses, your attitude, and the way you frame things in your mind can help or hurt you. What will you choose?

Action Steps:

1) Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.

2) Choose to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. That’s empowering.

Let’s GO!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that I view as rude, snarky, mean or off-topic. Hey, this is to support each other and have fun! Let's Go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.