One key predictor of your future success is how you think and react to what happens to you. I have the pleasure to teach, train, and motivate professionals as part of my work. It’s easy for me to discern who is going to be successful and who will struggle, based on their mentality and how the see the world.
Victims struggle and always will. Victims are those that are driven by their circumstances. Their environments control their lives and they find themselves in a vicious cycle where life and the world around them controls them. This is called a victim mentality.
Meet Bob. He’s a miserable human being. Bob still lives in his hometown, and works at a dead-end job with coworkers that he doesn’t like and a boss that disrespects him. Bob’s marriage is struggling and his kids are out of control. He’s overweight and sick a lot. He’s generally depressed and feels like his life is spinning out of control. Nothing seems to go well for Bob and he just seems to have a constant run of bad luck.
Don’t feel sorry for Bob. He’s got a disease, known as “if, then” and it’s totally curable. You see, Bob never takes ownership of his life and allows his circumstances to dominate his decisions. Here’s Bob’s mentality:
“I would have the courage to leave my hometown, IF my mother was feeling better.”
“I wouldn’t be so overweight, IF my wife would cook healthier foods.”
“I could get a promotion, IF my current boss would just leave the company.”
“I would look for a better job, IF my wife’s job was more secure.”
“My kids wouldn’t be so misbehaved, IF they didn’t hang around with their hooligan friends in our neighborhood.”
Meet Sarah. Sarah is passionate and a happy human being. She’s a single mom and teaches at the local elementary. She’s respected by her coworkers, has great friends, and a solid relationship with her daughter. She’s fit, healthy, and life just seems to be going her way. Here’s Sarah’s mentality:
“I will work with my daughter’s father to ensure she has a healthy relationship with him.”
“I will continue to make better food choices and will find ways to incorporate exercise into my daily routines.”
“I will work harder to better understand my coworkers and add value to their lives.”
“I will learn what motivates my daughter and encourage her to follow her passions.”
What’s the difference between Bob and Sarah? Is Bob just unlucky? No, I contend Bob has a victim mentality and it’s suffered by too many of us. How can Sarah have so much going for her and be happy with her life, while Bob continues to be miserable? It’s quite simple and it starts with the conversations you have with yourself.
Are you late for work because you hit every red light in town, or because you just aren’t giving yourself enough time to get to work?
Are you not getting a promotion because your boss is a jerk, or are you not going above and beyond to serve the company, your coworkers, and your boss?
Is your marriage struggling because your spouse is selfish, or are you doing something that is irritating or selfish?
People with a victim mentality are never at fault. It’s the world’s fault, their circumstances are never right and they wait for a perfect situation before they can be happy. There are no perfect situations and those with a victim mentality will always be victims.
What do you do if you find yourself associating with someone with a victim mentality? Limit your interactions with that person and surround yourself with the Sarah’s of the world and avoid the Bob’s.
What if you suffer from a victim mentality? Take ownership of your life and whenever you feel life is not going your way, ask this fundamental question, “What did I do to affect this situation and how can I change to make it better?” Most victims won’t have the courage to ask that tough question, but if you truly want growth in your life, then begin to take ownership of it and stop being the victim.
Are you a victim? What are you going to do about it?