I often drive Southbound through downtown Seattle via the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I always notice a particular trapezoidal building with a large “EMC2” sign atop the roof. I finally drove Northbound one day and noticed another “EMC2” sign. Underneath it was the sign “create your own reality.”
I can’t stop thinking about it.
Locus of control
When we are born, we are like little seeds that soak in their environment. Our environment, our experiences, the people we encounter can each facilitate growth or set us up for failure. However, unlike the seed that depends solely on their environment to flourish or fail, we can always choose to reject the influence the external world has placed upon us. We can choose a different way. We can be different.
To become different, to find the motivation to change, we must believe that we can affect change in our own lives. Locus of control is the psychological phrase that refers to the influence a person perceives as having on his own life. If a person has an external locus of control, the person believes that external factors determine his or her situation. However, if the person has an internal locus of control, the person believes that he or she has the power to effect significant change in his or her life or behavior.
Realistically, people cannot control every aspect of their lives; the world acts upon each person and there are things beyond each person’s control. However, people have a significant amount of control, even if it is only over their reactions and emotions.
If placed in the right environment, a person will naturally grow into an optimum state. Inherent in who we are is the drive to become our best selves. What I find exciting is that we have the ability to choose that self, to create that self! We can, in fact, create our own reality.
Traveling parallel dimensions
Believing that we can affect change in our life isn’t the only factor required to create our own reality. Our relationship to the reality that we are trying to create has a significant impact. Not being attached to an outcome is necessary for the positive belief to work in our lives. Those that are most successful in achieving their goals and dreams have envisioned multiple possible selves.
I am reminded of the television show Sliders in which a group of individuals travel through parallel universes trying to find their way home. The universes and worlds differed in both subtle and significant ways. The group never knew where the next stop in their journey would take them, but they hoped and believed that they would eventually wind up “home.”
That’s how we should be when we dream, or envision, our futures. (I can’t believe I’m stating a should after my last post, but it fits.) We should explore the different variations of worlds that could be. Eventually we might find ourselves “home,” someplace where we are happy and whole. We might not be entirely sure which world is our world. We just know we are doing what we can to get there.
In the past, I believed that everyone was able to effect change in their lives, but me. I acted as though I had an internal locus of control but ran into obstacle after obstacle. Nothing ever worked out. I once had an atheist acquaintance confess that he was beginning to believe in a higher power because someone all powerful sure had it out for me!
What I’ve learned is that my vision for myself or future was too strict. I envisioned what I wanted and how it would happen. I got stuck on the minute details, trying to force things to happen in a specific way, and missing the other opportunities that, though different than expected, would take me “home.”
Give yourself permission to daydream!
I think that some people do in fact need to focus on how to develop an internal locus of control. For them, I have included a couple of websites with some great information. However, I think that the majority of people fail to achieve a self, or life, that make them happy because they are limiting themselves in what they envision for themselves.
I started to be happy when I considered that I could be happy doing something other than my perfect-world-dream of being a mother. I allowed myself to consider options and dream about each of them until I could get excited about them. I would start with a situation that I wasn’t happy with and then allow my imagination to take off. Different situations and possible opportunities opened up before me. I would start to get excited about that dream. I would then pick another possible reality and do the same thing.
I found that I had to consciously take the time to think of different possible realities and allow myself to daydream about them until I was equally excited by each. I did this day after day until I stop being attached to any one reality. When I did that, opportunities presented themselves. Rather than figuratively being so focused on the next step in front of me, I was able to look up and enjoy the scenery around me.
If you are having a similar experience not achieving what you want, you might want to expand your vision to include different realities. Imagine yourself in as many different roles as possible. What combinations of activities, jobs, living situations, and relationships would help you to be happy in each? Your home world is ready and waiting to be discovered. You just have to daydream your way into being aware of all the opportunities around you.
Locus of control links: