There are random acts, but no random lives. As you now know, your life (whether we’re discussing the old one or the reboot you desire to create) is the harvest of the thoughts you give precedence to. And the daily actions those thoughts produce. While it may sound simplistic to some, the profound truth is that when you transform your thoughts, you can transform your life. The final and decisive step of this transformation is the release of victimhood.
Back in the day, I had to opportunity to have dinner with a high achieving couple I admired greatly. I was a fan boy, eager to impress them with my work ethic, tenacity, and desire to become successful. I did what I always did in those days: regale them with story after story of the trauma, drama, and victimhood in my life. I complained about all the lazy ignorant people on my team, my health challenges, dysfunctional relationships, and all of the other unfair things the universe was assaulting me with at that point in my life. As we were leaving the dinner, the husband looked at me and quietly asked, “Randy, have you given any thought to what you might be doing to attract all of these bad things in your life?”
Did he not hear everything I had just told him? Was he so clueless he couldn’t understand how unfairly I was being victimized? Or was he just a cold-hearted sonofabitch?
I’m not sure what I mumbled back, but I I’m sure it showed I wasn’t buying into his woo-woo, New-Age, bullshit. But his question had me grinding my molars. The sheer inexplicability of him not feeling sorry for me forced some deep introspection.
When you’re doing introspection the best results usually come when you ask questions of self-discovery. Not tepid cliché questions, but radical self-inquiry. This type of question moves the focus from external factors to internal ones. External focus is designed for you to escape responsibility, play victim, and blame others. This process led to the most important question I have ever asked myself. As I reflected on the numerous health challenges, multiple business failures, and my 11 negative, dysfunctional relationships in a row, I asked…
Was there one person who was always at the scene of the crime?
I didn’t like the answer I got. But that was the solution that set me free. I realized that I had lived in a victimhood mindset my entire existence up until that moment of clarity.
Looking back on that dinner now, I can recognize my whining for what motivated it: my full-time job as a professional victim. This was an almost prerecorded “data dump” I did anytime someone asked about me. It was my desperate subconscious attempt to overcome my low self-esteem and feel worthy.
The right question blows up your “story,” the victim narrative you’ve created to avoid facing reality and personal accountability. Once you get this, you change your perception of life and see yourself as a co-creator, not a recipient. Instead of looking for other people and circumstances to blame, you direct your attention internally, into what you must change to become the person you want to be and live the life you desire to live.
Unfortunately, this process will likely also expose one more landmine along your path…
Because when you decide to stop being a victim, your “inner victim” is going to fight like hell for survival. To really kill off this part of the old version of you, you have to uncover the payoff you get from being a victim.
Very few people possess the self-awareness to see their circumstances objectively. Many believe they are innocent victims and would never think to analyze what they might be doing to contribute to that situation – and the emotional reward they’re getting from being in it.
In my case, I was such an emotional cripple that it was impossible for me to express or receive love. So unknowingly, I substituted attention and sympathy in its place. And the more failures, dramas, and obstacles I encountered (read created) – the more attention and sympathy I received. This generated a feedback loop of drama, trauma, and dysfunction.
Being a victim might make you feel noble or spiritual; the little guy or gal, fighting the forces of evil. Or like me, you can become desperate for the attention and sympathy, afraid to lose it. But the payoffs for victimhood aren’t actually payoffs. They’re a self-created prison cell. You can get quite high on the supply of being a victim. But there’s a much better high…
Being a victor.
But that only happens when you are willing to let go of being a victim – and kill off your inner victim that wants to hold on for more dysfunctional payoff.
P.S. BREAKING NEWS: If you are ready to release or even kill off an old version of you, my new book is exactly what you need. It's available here.