Ask the Readers: Are You Responsible For How Your Life Is?



In the long run, we shape our lives,

and we shape ourselves.

The process never ends until we die.

And the choices we make are

ultimately our own responsibility. 

– Eleanor Roosevelt


I hear people complaining all the time about how something is someone else’s fault. They blame their unhappiness on other people, their poverty on the economy, their situation on circumstances. 

I didn’t get a pay raise because my manager is threatened by me. 

I failed the exam because the questions were too hard. 

I am unhappy because my husband cheated on me, and left me. 

I can’t be optimistic because I have cancer. 

I am depressed because I had a traumatic childhood. 

Does any of above sound familiar? If not those exact things, you have said something similar at some point, or you know people who do. I deliberately picked a whole range of complaints, and some of them quite serious.

After all, if someone has cancer, we feel sorry for them, we wish them well, we understand if they are angry and pessimistic. But this is not about how feel. 

What if you are the one who has cancer? You didn’t choose to have that illness, and maybe there is not much that can be done about it. But you CAN CHOOSE how you are going to live the time you have.

I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m not saying you will feel like smiling while you are going to painful chemo. But I also know there are people who continue to bounce back. They have bad days, painful days, depressing days, but then they get back to living their purpose. I’m constantly inspired by these people. They do not let their illness define them. 

That was an extreme example. 

What about the person who blames their boss for not getting a raise? You may well have a terrible boss. Does that mean you should let him put  your career on hold? Or maybe you can take on projects that have high visibility, show your boss’ boss and the other managers what you can do. Promote yourself – first by doing great work, and then making sure people know about it. This is not about blowing your own horn for the sake of it. It’s about taking responsibility for your success

I am not trying to belittle your problems or your circumstances. Some of those may well be outside your control. But how you respond to them is within your control. 

You are responsible for your life. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Not your boss. Not God. You.

Examples of great courage are all around you. People who keep going despite all odds. People who are no more special than you are. If they can do great things, why not you?

And that’s the ultimate truth of freedom. 

You can. 

Once you accept the truth that you alone are completely responsible for your life – regardless of whose fault it is that you are where you are – you are in a position to decide what you want  your life to be, and take steps to achieve it.

What do you think? Do you think you are the one ultimately responsible for how your life turns out?



Journal about where you are passing on responsibility for parts of your life to someone else, by either blaming things on others or waiting for others to fix things. What are you going to do about it? 


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Win A Free Course – Create A Christmas Journal


Christmas is just around the corner, and in the spirit of festivity and giving, I have decided to run a contest.

The winner will receive a free place on Create A Christmas Journal course, which starts on December 15. 

To find out what the course is all about, read the description here.

If you want to create a valuable personal memento of your own for yourself or to give someone as a present, this course will help you do that. While this course focuses on Christmas, in the spirit of transferable ideas, there is nothing to stop you from using this material and relating it to other holidays.

Before I tell you about the contest, first let me answer a valid concern:

What if I have already bought this course?

If you have already purchased this course, then you can either give this win to someone else as a gift or you can pick another course of same or lesser value within next 12 months. Kaizen Journaling Academy will be offering a range of courses in 2013, and you will have the opportunity to take your pick.

To enter the contest and for your free chance to win, all you need to do is enter a comment below, telling me where you are from, and why you want to win this course.

The winner will be selected at random on December 12, 2012.
WINNER: Pam from Georgia, US



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5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals (and creating the life you want)

A goal is a dream with a deadline. 

– Napolean Hill

Whether you are living the life you want, or the life you really want to change, there are things you desire. It maybe material things such as a house, a car, vacations abroad, designer clothes. It maybe things like further education, self-awareness, spiritual awakening, better fitness. More than likely, your desires combine both material and self-growth items.

Whatever it is that you want – the point is you want something.

This want is your goal.

This is the result you want to achieve.

You could just blunder through life, work on the things you want to achieve haphazardly, and maybe you will achieve some of them. Or you can set accurate goals, create action plans, follow through, and you will get exactly what you want, or something better.

The following five steps will make the process more efficient and results more achievable. 

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#c90000″]5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals (and Creating the Life You Want)[/typography]


Figure out what you want

This is your goal post. This is your destination. This is what you are aiming for. Unless you are absolutely clear about where you want to go, you can’t set the most efficient route to get there. Figuring out what you want through self-awareness is the first and the most important step.

Set a clear goal

Your goal has to be absolutely clear. SMART goal works. It must be objective, measurable and must have a deadline. It must be written down in present tense, as if you have already achieved it.

For example: I run my own business by December 31, 2012. Instead of, I will run my own business, or I want to have my own business, or I hope to have my own business.

But that doesn’t mean you are stuck. Your goals may evolve and change as your life changes, and that’s perfectly okay.

Create an action plan

You know what you want, and you have set a clear goal. How are you going to make that happen? That’s what your action plan should have. Your action plan should be a step-by-step guide of how you are going to achieve that.

I understand that not everyone is a planner, and you don’t have to be. Your action plan can be as detailed or as brief as you want. The purpose of an action plan is to break your goals down into manageable actions that you can start taking today.

Your action plan should never be set in stone. It should reflect what is the most efficient route at any given time, not what was efficient when you first set the goal a month or even a year ago.

Take action

As the saying goes, “Road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

You know what you want, you have a clear goal, you have a very efficient list – maybe even a fancy spreadsheet of what actions you need to take.

Now what?

Take action. Do the damn thing. Without that, all of the above is pointless.

Analyse, evaluate and adjust

Have regular reviews. It’s easy to fall off the track. That’s okay, and you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. But use the review period to analyse what went wrong, what went right, and how you need to adjust your action plan to move forward.

If you need to modify or even completely eliminate a goal and set a new one, that would be something to think about at the review period as well.

Use this period to remind yourself of the goals you set, so that they are constantly reinforced in your mind.


If you can efficiently use these five steps, if you can follow through with your goals, you will see results more rapidly than you ever thought possible. You will see that you can achieve things you want, not just by fluke or lucky coincidence but by deliberate process. By relying on a deliberate process, you are the one in control. That gives you the power to create the life you want.

This post outlines WHAT you need to do to achieve your goals. In EPIC 2013 course I teach you HOW to do it.

I will breakdown each of these five steps and go into detail with downloadable worksheets, exercises and lessons. If you want to learn how to make each of these five steps with happen with practical, immediately applicable guidance, join us and make your 2013 EPIC.


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Self Education: Do It or Die!


The universal truth is beyond question – the only people who excel are those who have decided to do so.

– Stop Stealing Dreams, Seth Godin

We live in a society where University graduates are an increasing norm; qualifications and certificates from chartered institutes are becoming a standard part nearly all professions; you are often required to participate in continuous education through work, not necessarily for promotions, but simply to keep your job and your current pay. The qualifications required keeps going up in a market where jobs are not only scarce, but insecure.

The security was an illusion for the most part anyway. But now, in the current economic climate that has remained “current” for about five years, it is an illusion that is stripped away from all but those who would rather remain ignorant.

Traditional qualifications may get your CV read, but they don’t guarantee a prosperous future.

So what does?

Well, that’s the good news. YOU.

With every change and every evolution comes revolution. We are going through major global economic crisis that is changing the entire structure of our economy. It may not be obvious to Average Joe buried in his routine life. But it is happening, and it is obvious, if you would only look it.

Average labour is available cheaper than ever. Modern communication devices mean businesses are no longer restricted to one location. You hear the complains, “Those bloody foreigners are taking our jobs away.” I am sure at some point, you or your friends and family have uttered those very words. Okay, so it sucks if you are laid off, because the call centre in India is much cheaper.

But now I want you to think as the CEO of that business. What if you were sitting in that chair? Then suddenly, it becomes the right decision. Your job is to look after the interest of the business, to make sure it creates profit for shareholders, to make sure that the business survives and even grows in the difficult market. That means, cost saving. That means, using cheapest available labour – especially if that labour also provides same if not better skill base than what you already have.

But it still leaves people without jobs. People who thought they had job security because they worked hard, showed up on time, and were loyal to the company they worked for. Now, they are back in the market, competing against younger and more qualified people. It’s like going on a date after you’ve been married for twenty years.


Even if you are not in that situation, it’s time to be armed and ready. You can have security – the kind of security that no one can take away from you, no matter what happens to the market. The kind of security that you have control over because it’s in your power.

It’s the security that comes from self-education.



You have the freedom to seek knowledge you desire. There is no set curriculum to follow. No one is forcing you to become well-rounded and making you learn things you don’t want to learn. You can choose to be a polymath, on your own terms.


With self-education you can be armed with skills and experience before you require it. Whether you have a set career plan, a general interest in learning something, or fear of stability in your current work, you can teach yourself skills and start creating a portfolio which will be available as a proof of credentials. This is a far more efficient and less stressful approach than being caught out unprepared when your situation changes.

Abundance of Resources

We live in a golden age of information. If you want to learn, resources available are endless and often free or cheap. There is no excuse for lack of learning; merely lack of willingness.

Universities such as Stanford and MIT are putting up vast amounts of their courses online. Resources such as Khan Academy and Udemy are empowering people in the new age of learning. People like Scott H. Young are proving how learning can be a passionate endeavour and are guiding people in hacking the system, in the best possible sense of the phrase.

Inspire love of learning

There are some people, including myself, who come out of education systems with love of learning. Whether it’s a make-up of our personality, our home environment, or good teachers – but we are the lucky ones. For the vast majority, educational institutions wipe out love of learning. People think they only have to learn to pass the exams to do whatever they need to do in life. There is no learning for learning’s sake. I know many people who never read a book voluntarily, and even when they are forced to read one for work, they do it grudgingly and as a chore.

Getting used to self-education can show you that learning is a powerful activity that can and should inspire a passionate response. You can learn what you like, how you like it, and when you like it. By doing so, you create your own future, and instead of waiting for the world to give you options, you empower yourself to create your own options.


Still not convinced?
Perhaps you think you don’t need further education because you graduated at the top of your class, or are already successful. Maybe you speak several languages. Maybe you have read all the classics.

Here is the truth: Those things, you current achievements, are results of your past efforts. They are the efforts that have brought you where you are today. They are not going to take you any further. They may not even be enough to keep you in your current position for long.

So what about tomorrow?

What are you doing to make your future as good as it is today if not better?

What are you learning? How are you growing?

If you are not growing, you are dying. Your knowledge is rapidly dwindling in proportion to changing world. Your memory and mental abilities are being affected as your grow older and do nothing to exercise those brain cells.

No Self Education DOES NOT EQUAL  Stagnation

No Self Education EQUALS Death

Death of who you have the potential to be.

Bit strong maybe, but that’s because I feel so strongly about this. That’s why I created Kaizen Journaling Academy, to promote lifelong learning. I think continuous learning is paramount. Not just for earning a living, but for your personal and professional growth. It’s important so you don’t stagnate. It’s important so you are continuously introduced to new ideas, challenged, and made to think.

Because I believe in its important, I am prepared to put my effort and time where my mouth is.

If you guys are interested, I will create a free course to help you get started with self education  through journaling. That’s right. Absolutely free. But I don’t want to waste my time if you don’t want to use it. If you want that free course, enter your name and email address in the box below.

Don’t worry, you won’t get any other messages or double subscriptions if you have already subscribed to the blog. The only messages you will get will be about self-education course. If there is enough interest, I will create a free course just for you.

The free course was created, and taken by over 50 people. 


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