Does Life Just Happen to You?

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~Shakti

Does life just happen to you?

Would it be safe to suggest that a lot of people wake up each morning, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch television, go to bed, and repeat the same course of events Monday through Friday, without ever being fully conscious of what they’re doing?

The events listed above may differ for some people, but the point is still the same. Does life just happen to you, or do you consciously plan your days ahead?

Do you live your life on automatic pilot for the most part?

Take an inventory of your daily routines and ask yourself if you are in the same situation emotionally and physically as you were last month, year, or even decade.

It’s very easy to dismiss the notion of being on autopilot for a large portion of your life. But if you don’t consciously create your desired outcome for a prosperous, successful, and happy life, then you are not living up to your true potential.

I know we all have certain responsibilities we must attend to on a daily basis, and I am certainly not suggesting we ignore these and go chasing our dreams without attending to them first. What I am saying, though, is that you also have a responsibility to yourself.

The question you need to ask is whether or not you’ll respect the decisions you have made in life if nothing has changed when you look back ten, twenty, or thirty years from now. No doubt, your life will be different in thirty years; but will it be from you taking control, or because life just changed (as it does) and you coasted along with it?

I have met many people who are not even close to living up what they are capable of. The worst thing is that they don’t make any effort whatsoever to change their circumstances. They obviously want to have a better life, but it’s as if they’re hoping things will magically get better for them further down the line.

There are also a lot of people who convince themselves that life is too hard, and that good things only happen to a select group of people, or that some people are just lucky, and life favors some and not others. Fortunately, this is not the case at all.

We are all the masters of our own destiny, and if you put the work in you will undoubtedly see positive results.

Changing your life for the better is not about completely changing everything at once. The first step in creating a better life for yourself is to be consciously aware of the direction you are heading.

The choices you make have consequences, and the thoughts you entertain affect the choices you make. So the best place to start if you want to change your life is to change your thinking.

When we take full responsibility for our thoughts and subsequent actions, we can never blame anyone or anything for the way our life is today. It’s not what happens outside that affects our lives; it’s the reaction we have to what happens outside that affects our lives.

Imagine two people looking at any given situation, but both have a different reaction to it. How these two people see the event will determine their experience. Thus, the experience creates a different reality in the mind of both people.

That’s how life works: our interpretations and experiences are a direct result of our reactions. If we believe that life is hard, then guess what—it will be.

If we want to change our lives for the better, we need to start with ourselves, and the first step is by controlling our thoughts.

If you haven’t made a conscious effort before to monitor your thoughts, then you may not realize that your mind makes up its own stories and you are not in control until you actually take control. I’m going to suggest a powerful exercise that I have used for myself.

For thirty days you must make a conscious effort to challenge your negative thoughts to create a stronger sense of control over your future.

  • Every time you notice a negative thought, replace it with a more positive perspective.
  • Whenever you notice that you are doubting yourself, do the same as above and replace with an opposite and positive thought.
  • A couple of times each day, stop what you are doing and notice how you are feeling; then, ask yourself what you were thinking. What you’re thinking affects how you’re feeling.
  • Don’t criticize anybody for any reason, either in person or in your head. This is one of the biggest energy-destroying, negative thought processes a person can have; and almost everybody does it on a day-to-day basis.
  • Make a conscious effort every day to praise somebody for even the simplest of things. Just a simple comment to somebody can create their day. Depending on the comment, it can also destroy their day. Words are powerful, and they can change lives.

These exercises help me become more conscious of my mind to get a better understanding of how often it limits me. If you make the effort to work hard at each step, you will see changes. Our thoughts have no power other than the power we give them.

You are not your mind, you are the person who can control what the mind thinks. Take responsibility for your thoughts and then take responsibility for the life you create. One thought, one decision, one action at a time.

Photo by Petr Mk

About Declan OFlaherty

Declan lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is a plasterer, printer, and inventor but most importantly, a thinker. His passion is to constantly work on himself through meditations, mental exercises, visualizations, and affirmations.

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  • So true. Meditation helps a lot in improving the vibrations that matter to us. It is understood that there seems almost no interference. The energy flows endlessly.

  • Anonymous

    “You may not be what you think you are, but what you think, you are.”
    Custer, Dan

  • That’s true…

    Cultivating our thoughts in any way we choose, will form our reality through that perspective. We become what we think, and we can decide what to think through the “law of control.”

  • Hi Jaky…

    Meditation is the most rewarding practice i undertake daily. Being in such a relaxed state can bring a sense of self acceptance like no other. Our personal vibration is very important, as it synchronizes our inner world with our outer world, which helps us embrace what our mind seeks.

  • Vicki Lee25

    CBT for the mind

  • I was really on board for this until it said, “Don’t criticize anybody for any reason”. I understand the energy that can come from criticism can be negative, but some times criticism is the only way for something to get better. Fear of ANY negative energy will make you as timid to live life as lethargy makes you incapable. You might have meant don’t base your life around it, or try to limit it, but you didn’t say that. You said just don’t do it. That’s not a path of wisdom it’s a path to be the dirt under everyone else’s heels.

  • Robin kilburn

    for years and years I hoped wished and prayed that things would get better, that some one would rescue me from the hell I was in.There came a day when I had an a wake up call, that told me the only one who could rescue me was ME.
    There after is was putting one foot in front of the other, until, I was walking on my own and very happy.
    It was a long slow walk but I learned so much about myself along the way.the biggest lesson, You cannot change any one but yourself.
    Lovely post

  • Hello metheus,

    If you take another look at the article you will see that it is a 30 day exercise in order for you to take control of your thoughts. We tend to criticize others out of habit as it gives us a sense of authority and superiority. We may not realize this on an intellectual level but the ‘ego’ likes to feel important.
    The path to wisdom must surely be to communicate better with ourselves so in turn we can learn to see the beauty in everyone and everything around us. Criticism plays no part in the path to wisdom.
    To be the dirt under someone else’s feet will not come from not criticizing, and can never come from any reason unless we fear other people’s opinions of us, which of course can only come from not accepting ourselves.

    Thank you for your comments my friend.

  • pathetic

    Senseless, horrible crap still happens. Blaming victims never helps, even when the intention is good.

  • Thankyou Robin,

    You are so right, we can only learn about the world and the people in it by finding ourselves first. So often in life we get pushed back and the journey seems insurmountable at times. We can listen and learn from many peoples advice but to truly grow as a person we must put one foot in front of the other and take step after step until we reach our destination.

    I’m so happy for you Robin, and the experience you gained on your path, is yours to cherish.

  • CBT for the mind alright Vicki.

  • Shellyreb

    what a great post…and perfect timing for the beginning of a New Year!! Thank you!

  • Thankyou for your kind words Shellyreb….Happy xmas and new year.

  • It’s all about the reaction to the sensless, horrible crap that happens.
    Al the best.

  • navajo

    Hey Declan,
    Just wanted to say that I like your writing style as well as the content. Maybe you’d consider a blog yourself. As a Dub myself, feel great that there’s more in Ireland on same wavelength as when i read tinybuddha which I LOVE, i always imagine contributors in other parts of world

  • Hello fellow Dublin-er lol,

    Thank you for the compliment navajo, i really appreciate your comment. It is nice to connect with people from home on sites that are set up in other countries. I suppose that’s the beauty of blogging, we can experience everyone’s views no matter where they’re from.

    I started a word-press blog less than 2 months ago and am only pushing the word out lately as i have been populating it with posts, video’s and quotes…if you would like to check it out and let us know what you think i would be grateful.

    Hopefully talk again my friend, take care and all the best,


  • sonal

    Its not necessary that your effort is always rewarded. I knew a writer who was very hard working and passionate about her writing. Despite being under all sorts of adverse conditions she never gave up on her writing. She did all she could do to get her work noticed but as destiny would have it her effort and struggle never saw the day of light. She died at the age of 84 still trying hard to get her manuscripts published.

  • sonal

    Its not necessary that your effort is always rewarded. I knew a writer who was very hard working and passionate about her writing. Despite being under all sorts of adverse conditions she never gave up on her writing. She did all she could do to get her work noticed but as destiny would have it her effort and struggle never saw the day of light. She died at the age of 84 still trying hard to get her manuscripts published.

  • Hey sonal,

    When it comes to depending on anything outside of ourself to bring fullfillment, we may be left waiting. This is why i feel it is so important to work on ourselves first and to realize that it is our inner world that conquers our outer world.

    I hope the passion for writing this woman you talk about had was more than enough fulfillment for her over the years. Relying on anything outside of ourselves for fulfillment is taking our power away and putting it in the hands of something we cannot control. There’s always a chance that our dreams or ambitions may not come to fruition if we depend on others to make them come true.

    I’m not suggesting that we don’t need help along the way, what i am suggesting is that we don’t depend on others for our happiness and peace of mind, this can only come from one place, which is from within.

    Thankyou for your comment and have a wonderful day.


  • I can’t even begin to explain how amazingly my life has changed since bringing AWARENESS to my life. It’s like living with the lights turned on. Thank you so much for you inspiration message. May your light continue to shine brightly!

  • I feel the same way as yourself, since i began this journey of awareness it’s like i feel lighter in my step and seeing the world in a whole new light.

    Thank you for your kind words Onelovelexy and have a fantastic Xmas and prosperous new year.


  • Ksilay1

    Great post Declan! This was a wonderful piece. I love the idea presented and the daily exercises you provided. Often I hear great ideas in blog posts and articles and I read them and feel great afterwards, but then have to work at figuring a way to apply them to my own life. You really helped me do that in this post and I appreciate that. Knowledge is great but even better when applied to action. Thanks Declan!

  • Hello Ksilay1,

    Thank you for your kind words my friend. I share the same view as yourself. Often i read blog posts and come away with some valuable insights but have not been given the proper guidelines to how the author applied the ideas to their lives. I only recently started a blog myself and i make sure to let the reader know that knowledge is powerful but when used it becomes transformational.

    Thank you again Ksilay1 for your comment and all the best to you and yours over Xmas and through the new year.

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  • Rosa Ravenwind

    Declan, another thoughtful, right-on piece. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Rosa,

    Thank you as always for your kind words.

    All the best to you and yours.

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  • Alexander Kazoo

    For many years I have wasted my life. I was born in a loving and caring family, my parents bought me every toy I wanted, I had a little group of friends, people always soported me… It was a perfect life. And still is.

    But, somehow, I developed an attitude of self – neglect on my teenage years. I started to act like a victim and a loner. I crushed my dreams and passions beacause I thought that they were a waste of time.

    Now I am 20 years old and I realize how stupid I was. And the thing that hurts me the most is the lack of memories and good times. Thanks for this article even if it’s a little late for me

  • reetika

    Amazing post !!!!
    it feels good starting my day with this amazing write up !

  • I have met many successful people and they all happen to say one thing “Life just went on happening for them” although they did put efforts along it was majorly the life which was taking them to it’s direction. What do you think about the quote ” we need to be in the right place at the right moment and with the right people?”

    I mean unsuccessful people who try hard but, get no where is not uncommon. I am not defying the individual efforts. But, I do see a sense of unfairness in the world that not every one who tries hard gets to the top.

    The question remains in the end “Are we illusioned to think that we have control over our lives?” or is it truth that the universe is so vast compared to us no matter what we do, things will happen when they have to?

  • Lymn

    The discussion I’d 6yrs old. So likely no one is reading this. I am going to try this. I have to try something. I think my auto pilot is ruining put of battery life