We can take another example to show how belief shapes our perspective and the perspective leads to certain decisions, followed by actions. To make it more real, I will take my own life. The car accident that I was involved in was something that neither I nor anybody else in my life could have ever expected. I was 22 years old, and this event was a major turning point in my life and lives of my family members. The result of that event was that I lost a person, who I was dating at the time (he was killed), and lost basically everything that made my life fulfilling and joyous with no way to restore it back. In addition to losing it all, having multiple injuries and losing both of my legs and having my left arm fully paralyzed, made me totally helpless and not able to take care of myself at all. From being active, joyous and having strong potential to be successful in life, suddenly I found myself helpless in bed not being able to move or do anything independently, except see, feel and speak a little bit. Losing half of my body completely changed my life. There were many different opinions of why it happened, questions about my destiny and advices what I should do with my life at that point. I have heard people had ideas that God punished me; others said this was my destiny and I should just accept it. “Such is your fate…he broke your destiny” was a very common conclusion, implying that I needed to just accept it and give in, because there was nothing I could do to get it all back or make it better. I also had to hear advices not to try so hard pursuing my dream, because it was unrealistic. I disagreed with them all and decided to fight for my life, because I had a different belief.
Today, one of the things I am most grateful for to my Creator is that from the very beginning I had a positive perspective about what had happened and faith of what my future would be like. I had unshakable belief that my life’s in God’s control and therefore, I will not fear. There was a reason why I got into this crash and also there is a purpose why I survived, even though I was given 30% to live. Since the Scriptures say that everything works for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28), that means there must be a serious reason why this had happened so cruel, and I believed somehow this was for my good. Even though I didn’t understand many things, but I believed there’s a purpose in everything and Lord was going to restore my life. In spite of suggestions to give in, I firmly decided that I would not sit around for the rest of my life being a victim of drunk driving. I accepted the fact that I had no legs and that I couldn’t use my left arm, but by no means was I going to tolerate the restricted lifestyle of a disabled person, having no equal opportunity to live as everyone else. I didn’t believe that this event happened for me to spend the rest of my life being in regret and depression, watching how my life passes by in sadness and restricted life style. I decided that I would not cry and wouldn’t spend my life thinking about what had happened being in self pity or collecting sympathy from others. I kept saying to myself that what I was experiencing at the time was only temporary. I would live a full life in spite of my injuries. I had a very clear understanding that my destiny was not going to be “broken” because of the event that had happened. I could change my destiny the way I wanted to and with God’s help that’s exactly what I was going to do. My understanding about it was so bright and clear, as if I were given a palette of paint, being told that I could draw only black or gray house, and I knew that I could use all the colors I wanted, and paint not only a house, but also blossoming gardens, green trees, colorful flowers, bright yellow sun, blue sky… I did not know how my situation could possibly resolve to a better, but I knew that I would live well. As soon as I heard
Oh well, such is your destiny,
feelings of rebellion would instantly stir up inside of me and my response was
No. That is NOT my destiny. I will create the destiny that I want.
I did not listen to what anybody said about my position in life and their opinions about my goals that I wanted to achieve. I always had a vision of how I wanted my life to be, believed that it was possible to implement it and did everything I could do to make it become my reality. My helplessness created a burning desire to do whatever it takes to lead joyous, active and independent life again. I set the goals for myself, which step-by-step transformed my life from not being able to speak, move or do anything independently to travelling from Europe to the United States by myself and building my live all over again. I had a vision that I would live a full active lifestyle in spite of my injuries, consistently worked toward my goal, and today I live my dream that seemed nearly impossible. In fact, today I feel happier than before the car accident.
Now, after a while, I clearly see that if I had looked at my circumstances “realistically” as many did, and would have agreed with people, who told me that I should just accept what had happened and let it be the way it was, because such was my fate – probably I would still be spending my days being stuck at home having no access to a full life. My belief shaped the perspective that gave me hope and empowered me to take action to change my circumstances and create the life that I envisioned. My perspective about this event and my future gave a birth to the attitude that I can’t and won’t give up on my life, but will take action to improve everything, and had unshakable belief that I would succeed. I did not allow my loss to ruin my desire to live a full joyous life. Opposite, my loss gave a birth within to a burning desire to live and aspiration to achieve my dreams. I did not allow my desperate situation to destroy my faith. Opposite, my faith became stronger than it ever was. My adversity revealed to me the values that I never saw before. My belief and attitude made me strong, persistent and unstoppable.
As all of my above examples show, the same situation can have totally different outcomes, depending on which perspective we choose. Some beliefs are unconscious, and they come from people’s backgrounds, religious beliefs, experience, different philosophy or other people’s opinions and their experience. If we are aware of our beliefs and our perspective, we can manage and choose the response that will empower us.
For instance, difficult situations are something that everyone avoids. However, they will be there whether we like it or not. Every single person has faced difficulty at some point in their lives, and the way they handled it greatly depends on their perspective about it and what they decided to do about it. In any case, naturally everyone has negative feelings about difficult situations. What if we take a different point of view at the difficulty? Opportunity.
It’s an opportunity to learn what better choices I can do next time; opportunity to develop certain character traits; opportunity to learn to trust more the Higher Power; opportunity to test myself how I can handle challenges. In each situation it is possible to learn something. If we value learning and growth, we can look at every situation as a lesson and ask ourselves what we can learn from this experience.
If we believe that God does not give us more than we can cope with and there is a reason for everything, we will just know that our current situation is not more difficult than we can handle, and it is in our life for the reason. Our job is to handle it the best possible way and see the reason. After some time we might see that actually particularly this difficult situation was for our good, because it directed our life path toward our dream, it tested us, developed necessary character traits and gave us more wisdom. After seeing that, our belief will get even more grounded, and when next time we will face difficulty – we will be even steadier in our empowering perspective and we will handle the situation in a different way.
If we see that a certain challenge was given to us as a lesson or opportunity for our self-improvement, our mind will be focused on what we can learn from that and how we can improve ourselves, instead of how bad and difficult situation is, and naturally, we will handle the challenge differently.
We do not have control over other people and a lot of times we do not have control over what happens in our lives. But we have a choice of how we look at it all and what we are going to do about it. Depending on our decisions what we are going to do next, we will have subsequent events and this way we shape our destiny. If we carefully and deliberately choose our beliefs and perspective, we will always have control over our response to various life’s events, challenges in our relationships or any situation in life.
It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny. Anthony Robbins