The first – and the biggest – step in making a positive difference in the way our mind and our thinking patterns work is by taking active ownership of working with our thoughts!
At Happiness Academy, we call it “becoming the captain”.
Captain of our thinking,
captain of our experience,
captain of our life.
What does it mean “to be the captain?”
“Being the captain” means to take over an active role in our life, as well as in each of the diverse situations.
It means to navigate and guide the boat of our life, instead of allowing the sea of circumstances to throw us around.
To be the captain is to guide our actions and behaviours, but even more, to be proactive about our attitudes, thinking, and about how we experience the things that happen to us.
It means to recognize that our thoughts are not facts. That we have the power to change them. That we are the narrators of our stories and the owners of our actions.
An important aspect of “being the captain” is to stay wise about what things can we actually change – and what aspects of situations we don’t have any influence over and should work on accepting them.
Taking on too much responsibility?
It means we are having an illusion that we have more impact on the situation than we actually do.
This can leave us in a state of blaming ourselves, being too harsh to ourselves, and feeling unsuccessful in our efforts to change the situation.
Taking over too little responsibility?
It leaves us in a position that is passive and feels a bit like not having any options – something we call a “victim role”.
Captain is all about the sweet spot between these two – or, better, about finding the right amount of responsibility and active approach, blended with gentleness and softness.
How can we do that, how can we be more of a captain?
The trick is to keep asking the question “What can I control/impact/influence in this situation? And what should I let go off?” in different moments, situations, days…
Then, focus on doing exactly that – investing our energy into things on which we actually have some impact or influence.
Sometimes, that will mean to act strongly and courageously in that situation. To make bold moves and actions.
At other times, we will recognize that the only thing that we have under control is our mindset and attitude.
Yet, most of the time it will be kind of in the middle – we will need to work with our mindset and attitude, but also act boldly within some of the aspects of the situation.
Take a moment to reflect:
In which situations are you truly the captain, and in which situations do you step into a more passive role, or trying to control too much?
What helps you stay in the captain’s perspective?
What makes you slip into blaming others, struggling too hard, or self-blame?
How can you avoid these mental habits and stay in “captain shoes”?