Circumstances Beyond Our Control, Or Are They?
- Author Robert Hempel
- Published June 7, 2021
- Word count 2,106
Throughout our lives we all face many difficult challenges. Some more so than others. But who decides the level of difficulty for these challenges? What may be extremely difficult for some, could very well be, a walk in the park for another. Regardless of how others see your individual challenge, the level of difficulty is determined by you alone. You may often feel overwhelmed by whatever challenge you are facing. You may experience a “fight or flight” response. You may think to yourself, “I have no idea how to handle this situation”. Whether you want to believe it or not, your circumstances may not be as far beyond your control as you might think.
Imagine being in a completely new and foreign environment where you have absolutely no idea what to expect in this new place. Now imagine that you came to this new place only yesterday and you were kept up half the night going through processing, which included getting multiple rounds of shots, getting your head shaved, being told to “strip down to your skivvies” and “put your belongings into a box because you won’t be needing them here”. Being issued a set of uniforms, told to put one on, and then you and 149 other people are led like cattle to a very ominous looking building that contains an open squad bay big enough for 150 people to call home. Imagine having gone through all of that and then you finally get to lay down and sleep. Ahhhhhh, sweet peaceful sleep. Suddenly, at 4:30am you hear…. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! “GET UP GET UP GET UP GET OUT OF THE RACK!” BANG! BANG! BANG! The shrill sound of a whistle blasts through the early morning air. “GET UP!!! YOU HAVE TWO MINUTES TO GET DRESSED AND BE OUT FRONT IN FORMATION” BANG, CRASH, CLANG, the metal garbage can that was being beaten with a club by the Drill Sergeant hits the floor.
What kind of fear, shock, and adrenaline do you think would be coursing through your body? Believe it or not, what I just described above happens every single day. I know because I lived it. This scenario is day one of boot camp in the United States Marine Corps, and there is a purpose for the way things are done in boot camp. First and foremost, the purpose is to condition our minds and bodies to work together as a single cohesive, and united team. This could also be called brainwashing. I personally do not like that term, however fitting it may be.
Personally, joining the Marines was a means to an end. Even though they had an agenda for teaching me to become a “Lean, Mean, Green, Fighting Machine”, I had my own agenda as well. My agenda was to change my situation. I came from, (what I considered at the time), a small town and a poor family with very few opportunities to be successful in life. I wanted to change that, and the only way I knew how was to join the military and leave my life, as I knew it at the time, behind. So, I did.
What a culture shock! At the end of day one, I felt that I had made a horrible mistake. “What have I done?” I asked myself this same question night after night for at least the first 6 weeks I was there. Marine Corps boot camp lasts for 11 weeks and 5 days. At least it did in 1988. I was stuck and there was no going back. Only, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back. When I graduated boot camp, I felt as if I could conquer the world. I was then transferred to Naval Air Station, (NAS), Millington, TN. to complete training for my Military Occupational Specialty or MOS.
I very quickly met a girl, started dating her, and before I knew it, she was pregnant. I did what I thought was the responsible thing and I married her. Soon after our “shotgun” wedding, I received my transfer orders, so me and my new pregnant bride moved to Cherry Point, N.C. We were both 18 years old and had no idea how to raise a child because neither of us were mature enough to raise a child ourselves. A few months later our son was born. He was a beautiful baby boy, and we were happy. Or so we thought. Being a young, married Marine with a child soon proved to be extremely difficult emotionally, mentally, and most importantly, financially. Our son was only 9 months old when my wife and I separated and were soon to be divorced. Without realizing it, I had fallen into some of the same patterns of life that I had learned from my parents and other family members without even knowing that I had learned them.
The most severe patterns were as follows; acting irresponsibly, hastily, failure to seek advice from family, adhering to the adage…” You made your bed now you can lie in it”, adulting without maturity, and so on. All these behaviors just seemed natural to me, as if these were the things that I was supposed to do. I had seen members of my family exhibit the same behaviors and it all seemed like it was just the natural order of things. I was acting subconsciously when I believed I was acting out of conscious intent. The truth of the matter is, I was a product of my environment.
I have always been of the mindset that we are all products of our environment. “What does that mean?” you ask. Well, when we are born into our families, their values, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, actions, social skills, etc.… are impressed upon us. This is only natural because as infants, we know nothing, and we are literally sponges trying to soak up as much information as our little minds can handle. As we grow and develop, we learn basic skills of survival and we begin to take our social cues from those that we are closest too and have developed a bond with. To that extent, we are products of our environments. However, as we grow and develop into adolescents and young adults, we gain more knowledge and understanding, and we start to develop a mind of our own that can make decisions for ourselves.
This is a pivotal point in our development because this is when we reach the point of being able to make changes to our environment thus changing the direction and patterns of our lives. We are still products of our environment, but if we make a conscious effort to change our individual circumstances, the result is that we change ourselves. The sad truth though is that many of us ultimately fall into the same life patterns as our parents and grandparents regardless of whether these patterns are healthy or unhealthy. The reason this happens is because our subconscious minds hereditarily recognize these patterns as a comfort zone. You may be wondering how an unhealthy pattern can be considered a “comfort zone”. That is easily explained with the concept and definition of Normality. Normality is defined as the condition of being normal; the state of being usual, typical, or expected. We fall into the same patterns of our forebearers because they are usual, typical, and expected. Here is an example, a child is removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect. Their parents may have yelled at them or even physically abused them. This child is then placed in the care of a foster family that provides a loving, nurturing, and safe home. For the child this new environment is not normal. They are used to the chaotic life they lived prior to the removal from their birth home, and they do not know how to act or even react in this new environment. They are not experiencing what they know to be their normality.
I would like to share some insights with you. Approximately 95% of life is guided by our subconscious. As products of our environment, our subconscious “Normality” is to follow in our parent’s footsteps. If we want to change to direction of our lives, we must make the conscious and cognizant choice to change the pattern. If we grow up in a family that is poor and struggling, unless we make a very conscious effort to move ourselves out of that pattern, we will grow up to be adults that are poor and struggling. On the other hand, if we grow up in a family that is wealthy and has many opportunities, we will grow up to be adults that are wealthy and have many opportunities. Many scholars believe that the social standing in which we find ourselves has been genetically predetermined and that proof of this can be found and verified by researching our own ancestry. Whether we want to accept it or not, poverty and/or wealth are passed on from generation to generation. What is the basic concept of this idea? Because of this early childhood programming, our lives are, in effect, predetermined for us even though we believe that we are in control of living our own lives.
Now I would like to share the science behind this. You may or may not know that Genetics is the study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics. Scientists have determined that genetics control the character of our lives. It is believed that because of this determination, we are “victims” of our heredity. Meaning, our heredity determines who we are, or will be, in all aspects even down to the ultimate destiny and direction of our lives. For years, this has been the accepted belief within the Scientific community. Then sometime around 1990, a new area of research and study which is known as Epigenetics was begun. Epigenetics’ is defined as such: “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself”.
One of the pioneers in this field is Dr. Bruce Lipton who is an Epigenetics Biologist. According to Dr. Lipton, we, as individuals, have the power and ability to change our own individual epigenetics at any time by simply changing our perceptions of the world around us, and by changing our thought processes. If we change our perceptions, the result is that we change our Genes. Your perception is thus, you and how you perceive the world around you is what controls your biology. For instance, whatever picture you hold in your mind, the brain translates that picture into chemistry and puts chemicals into your blood stream that compliment that picture. The result is that your body responds to the picture in your mind on a cellular level. In layman’s terms, while we are products of our environment, if we change our environment, we effectively change our biology, and in turn, ourselves and our destiny. Our fate is not predetermined by, nor are we victims of, our heredity. If we change our habits, change our way of thinking, change our environment, etc.…, we then change ourselves genetically. Therefore, the real fact is that we are not victims of heredity, we are not victims of our genes. In the same concept that, “Positive Thinking can Heal You”, then the opposite must be true as well which is, “Negative Thinking can Kill You”. If you believe something will be good for you, then it will be good. If you believe something will be bad for you, then it will be bad. So, belief becomes especially important to your health.
If Genetics means that Genes control the character of your life, then Epigenetics means that the environment and your consciousness control the Genes. If you want to change your biology, then all you need to do is simply change your consciousness. Genes are the blueprint upon which our body functions. But those blueprints can be changed, and those changes are determined by your consciousness, your perceptions, your way of thinking, your environment, whether you have a positive mental attitude or not, whether you are in a healthy relationship or not. There are literally thousands upon thousands of outside influences that can change the blueprints of your genes.
With all this information now at your fingertips, do you still believe that our individual circumstances are beyond our control? I think not. Perception and Positivity are the two most powerful weapons in our individual “health arsenal”. We do have the power, and we do have the ability to change and guide our own destiny. You just have to believe in yourself and be positive.
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