Be in Control of Your Life: Don’t Be The Victim in your Story

She did not like you feeling bad for yourself. She just didn’t allow it. Her and my dad had this ‘no victims’ mentality. You are not going to be someone else’s victim. You’re just not.

Doc Rivers, quoting his mom, in ‘Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life’

I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and actually took notes on a documentary, as if I was at a convention or seminar for work. Episode One of Netflix’s “Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life” has got me hooked. I’m learning a lot about why I’ve accomplished what I have and why I haven’t achieved as much as I could have by now.

There were two big takeaways I had while watching just the first episode. One, I am very happy about because it really resonated with how I live my life. And the other, well, I’ve got a lot of work to do on that front. We will focus this blog on my first takeaway from this episode.

Don’t Be a Victim

My father grew up in an orphanage. His mom died of breast cancer when he was 12 and his dad ended up in an alcohol rehab facility and I honestly don’t know if he ever saw him again.

My dad had aunts, uncles and all sorts of extended family. Unfortunately, none that were willing to take in him and his 3 younger brothers and sisters. His youngest sister was just 6 years old when their mom passed away.

Him and his siblings lived at Maryville Academy from that day until they were each 18 years old. At 18, with no place to go, he went straight into the military.

Fast forward to 1985 and my childhood years. I’m going into my first year of high school at Dwight D Eisenhower HS, living in Blue Island, IL. We lived 1.5 miles away from my school and it took about 30 minutes to walk there. I remember asking my dad for rides to school and he would get so angry with me. Winters in the Chicago area are no joke. It’s not like out here in Colorado. The wind feels like it is literally biting your face in the winter. Snow, rain, frigid temps and I was walking to school, while my dad drove .7 miles to work, hot coffee made by my mom in tow.

That was bull shit – was all I could think.

What is Complaining Going to Get You?

I had no brothers or sisters, it was just me. It felt like my dad just kept this growing list of things to do for when I was trying to relax and enjoy my long deserved weekend. He had me mow the lawn, change the oil in his car, change brake pads & bleed the brakes, smash up old Pepsi and Stroh’s beer cans to bag them up, and get a few bucks from recycling. Let’s not forget bagging the leaves.. We had so many trees!! I would complain and pout and move slow and just overall give him a really hard time about it. Like a recording playing over and over, I can still hear his words, “What is complaining going to get you?!”

That was bull shit – continued to be my thoughts around the way I was being raised.

You see, when I was a kid this is what I thought of my dad: He was a man who would give a stranger the shirt off his back but not to me. I had to do everything on my own.

This is who I see now: He was a man who would give a stranger the shirt off his back but not to me. I had to do everything on my own. Because he was not, nor was he going to raise, a victim.

Orphaned. Abandoned. Not a Victim.

This man lost his mom at 12. He was left with a father, aunts, uncles and cousins, however none willing to take him in. Then living the rest of his childhood in an orphanage with his brothers, and barely saw his sister since they were separated by male/female dormitories. He had this enormous responsibility thrust upon him at age 12 to be the leader of his family. He also never complained about his circumstances. “What is complaining going to get you?”

That life he grew up with compared to my pleads for rides to school because it was cold out, just did not align to him. My dad was tough and life threw him punch after punch but I tell you this now, and I also would have told you then, I never heard him complain. He would never be the victim.

He was in control of his life and his attitude, his circumstances were not. And he CERTAINLY was in control of his choices.

I made bad decisions, bad choices, hung out with the wrong people. I’ve had things stolen right out of my hands and his response was “What were you doing with them?”. I was in a car accident (the guy rolled through a 4 way stop), “Why didn’t you pay attention to what that guy was doing.” was his response. Grades, jobs, friends, etc. He always was able to turn around and tell me ‘what I did wrong’. What I felt was no support. What he was teaching me was to stop being the victim and own my life.

I can’t imagine how different life would be for me if my dad had driven me to school. If I didn’t have to learn to change the oil or bag up the leaves. If he defended me to the police that came up to the scene of the accident.

Own Your Choices

Being the victim makes you powerless. Being the victim means that you have no control over your life and therefore no responsibility for what happens.

Owning your choices gives you control of your life. Owning your choices means you are responsible for the outcomes of your actions, or lack thereof.

You’re put in scenarios. You just do ’em. You do ’em and you’re going to get some wrong. I’ve learned that you’re not gonna to get every one right. So, what? You gotta keep going. Don’t get me wrong. You learn. You don’t forget. But you can’t ever be a victim.

Doc Rivers ‘Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life’

All this being said, I want to add one more thing. When you decide that your actions and choices have a direct result on your outcome, life can continue to throw things at you but you will still have control of your attitude and the outcome. That the feeling of ownership over your own life is really fulfilling. Empowering even. It can even bring joy.

You can learn more about Doc Rivers and his Rules for Life by watching the episode here. You can learn more about us, and how we can help you achieve the health and fitness you desire, by setting up a meeting with us here.

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