Self-Empowerment 101 (Taking it Back to the Basics…)
“…transform your perspective from being someone that’s ‘at effect’ in the world – someone that’s a victim – into someone who makes things happen…someone who’s responsible for their thoughts, their actions, their behavior and their results…
Anytime you catch yourself trying to put responsibility for what’s happening in your life outside of you, STOP and say ‘I take responsibility,’ especially in those moments where it’s easy to blame things on someone else, because that’s the most powerful time.” ~ Eben Pagan
The Basic Premise…
The following was originally for an audio project I put together called Fundamentals for Mind-Elevation, and it builds on a concept I call “taking up the responsible frame.”
You might hear researchers refer to it as “an internal locus of control” (trying to sound fancy, I guess), but the basic idea is simple: you empower yourself when you take responsibility for the situations you experience, the relationships you have and the results you want to create.
The Responsible Frame
When you’re stuck in a problem, an external frame of reference means you place responsibility for it on things OUTSIDE of your control (other people, society, etc.), but an internal frame of reference is means you place responsibility for it on YOURSELF.
Now, you don’t take up the internal frame by denying that external problems exist (because they do, so to deny them is to deny reality), you simply do two very important things:
1) You acknowledging what’s in your control and what’s not, and
2) You then adjust your thoughts, actions and emotions accordingly.
Let’s Be Clear About This…
To be clear, the only thing you really have control over in life is YOURSELF, so whenever you’re in a situation (a financial situation, a dating situation or whatever) you empower yourself by changing what you do, NOT by trying to change what the other person does or the nature of the environment itself.
“There’s a lot of wisdom here…if this is your primary mode of dealing with the world, then you’re playing a losing game: If when things aren’t going your way, your first thought is ‘let me go and try to change person x or person y,’ then you’re going to be beating your head against the wall for a looooooong time…” ~ Eben Pagan
Two Examples (One Personal)…
For instance, let’s say there’s 2 guys working for a small business and – because of the economy – their boss has been late paying them multiple times.
Here, the man with the external frame would focus on how unfair the situation is: he’d complain about the financial trouble it’s causing him and contemplate different ways of forcing his boss to give him his pay (lying, legal recourse, emotional ploys, etc.).
But the man with the internal frame would focus on solutions: he’d learn the wisdom of saving for emergencies and contemplate different ways of creating another income-stream, reducing his expenses and staying calm while he looks for his next gig.
(He would also focus on preserving the relationship between him and his employer, which is more important than any cash balance.)
Don’t think about these frames of reference in terms of right or wrong, think about them in terms of power: which one allows you to keep (and amplify) your power and which one gives your power away to other somebody else???, Here’s a more personal example…
She’s extremely intelligent and logical person (yes, women can be logical), so whenever I shared any of my ideas with her I’d HAVE to defend it…so once this got redundant, I began criticizing her for questioning obvious things.
Because I was using an external frame, I was blaming her for the arguments we were having.
After a while, we got into the arguing-habit, and since I always accused her of being “too logical,” I prevented myself from enjoying all of her other positive traits.
When We Speak Today…
But when we speak today, I see our conversations as opportunities to refine my ideas before I present them to the world: as soon as I sense a debate coming up, my first thought is “Okay, what am I forgetting to mention here? What could I add to this to make everything clear?”
Now that I’ve taken up the responsible frame, she helps me to become a better thinker, a better writer and a better overall person.
Because, “the meaning of a communication is found in the response.” ~ a major principle of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).
The Final Breakdown
Ever heard the word responsibility broken down as “the ability to respond”? I like this phrase because it takes the meaning away from blame or guilt (as in, “You’re responsible for creating this problem!), and brings it closer towards resolving the actual issue (as in “I’m responsible for finding the solution.”).
In my mind, even when it comes to social injustice – where the problem is obviously external – the internal frame is still more effective, because that’s what puts us in a position to do something about it.
When you think of someone like Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Timothy Drew and others, you’re thinking of someone with extremely high levels of
>> organizational skills,
>> people skills,
…and so on.
These are all internal qualities, and we admire these people not because they were conscious enough to point out certain problems, but because they were great enough to do something about them.
Remember that lip-service does nothing when it comes to the truly external social ills of the world, and understand that the responsible frame will help you to become a person capable of making change.
(This is the essence of life purpose: being who you need to be so you can do what you need to do in order to share your unique greatness with the world.)
Also, remember that people tend to use the external frame in order to rationalize their own shortcomings. Subconsciously, the logic is “Well, if the world is jacked up, of course I’m going to be jacked up too. I’m limited by my environment, so there’s only so much I can do…”
The external frame is really a JUSTIFICATION for settling for less than the best you can be – at a deeper level, when you’re using the external frame you’re actually making an excuse for the way you feel, think and behave instead of owning up to it.
The external frame is a limiting perspective, but, “Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion” (Jordan), so you can begin to transcend your limitations by taking responsibility for your life and everything it contains…