Create Your Own Experience

choosing the right path

Choose your path

Life is akin to one of those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories, don’t you think? For example, your decision to turn this corner alters the outcome in the chapter. If you hadn’t made that turn, who knows what might have happened instead? Would it have been a better story, or not?

I’ve long been one to study self-help books and learn more about myself and the people I associate with. I spent all my adult years with loved ones, friends and coworkers/employers who were afflicted with generalized anxiety disorder, an unhealthy ego and a need to control and manipulate each and every situation, or a victim mentality. We grow to be what we know.

It’s no secret that we have the power to change ourselves and our life circumstances, if we so choose. I sought to do that, as well as to understand those around me better. There are three behaviors that I adopted many years ago (many thanks to Dr. Phil McGraw). 

I live by them and know that they have shaped all my decisions and helped me carve out the life I’m happy living. That’s not to say that I have been perfectly diligent in carrying them out every single day of my life. I don’t claim to be perfect at anything, but if my mistakes and learning curve can save you, or someone you love, a little angst then all my head-slapping moments were worthwhile.

1. You create your own experience ~ We create the results of our lives, whether they be happy or sad, successful or failed, good or bad, we made them that way. In a college class, my professor put it a different way, “If there is a problem here, I am the cause of it.” In other words, you are accountable for your life.

If you are overweight, unhappy, hate your job, always short of money, or distrusting of people, you’re accountable. Whatever your life circumstance is, it’s your responsibility and you’re accountable. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, trust me, it does. It applies to every one of us. You must acknowledge it, if you want to change your circumstance. The alternative is behaving like a victim. As long as you behave like a victim, your circumstance will remain the same. This is how the world works.

Be prepared to ask yourself the tough questions that will get at the crux of the problem. What is it you have to do or change to turn things around? The solution lies within you. Don’t be a victim. Take control and make the changes necessary. 

2. We do what works ~ Do you know someone who has health problems but continues to do the thing that will make it worse? Do you see people in relationships push each others hot buttons even though they know the consequences? Knowing what we should do and doing it are two different things. The fact is that the undesirable behavior generates some level of satisfaction or value to us, or we would not do it. 

We need to understand what the pay-off is for the undesirable behavior in order to eliminate it. Stopping for fast food is easier and faster than cooking at home. Pouting makes her husband feel badly for arguing with her. Reading emails is more comfortable than staring at that blank page that is your WIP. Find and control the pay-offs and you control the behavior.

3. We teach people how to treat us~ Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one


I found my path.

can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When we allow a person in our life to treat us in an undesirable way, they learn that behavior is okay and continue forward in the same manner. Rather than complain about how others treat us, we need to look at what we are doing to get these results. We must commit to change in the dynamics of the relationship in order to fix it. The other person will fight the change since he/she won’t be getting the same satisfaction from their behavior. Stay the course and don’t sell yourself short. You get what you give.

Choose your own life adventure…which road will you take or help someone else take? Interested in this philosophy? For more, read Dr.Phil’s book, Life Strategies. Public opinion about Dr. Phil is mixed, but I think he’s spot-on target in this book.

I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about creating your happiest life.

You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!

See that little subscribe button under my picture up there? Go on…click it! You know you want to!

ATTENTION!! Be here next Friday for big doings at our Life List Club Milestone Party!! You’ll get to find out if we writers practice what we preach…or not! Vote on my blog for how well you think I did over the last 3 months.


33 thoughts on “Create Your Own Experience

  1. Pingback: Dr Phil – Advice Like a Twinkie – 10 Years and Still Fresh (kinda) « Running Naked With Scissors

  2. Pingback: Links Out Loud…more on blogging, writing, laughing and living – Natalie Hartford

  3. Pingback: Come Visit Me! | Marcia Richards' Blog

  4. Awesome post and so spot on!

    Angela’s comment hit me hard – I’m not supposed to have coffee anymore and I keep ‘sneaking’ it. From whom? No one cares if I have coffee or not, but I know if I do, I’ll be sick. How stupid is that?

    And yet, I keep thinking I ‘deserve’ it. No, I deserve to not feel like crap after drinking a hot beverage. As you can see, I’m working on this.

    I’ll be back to this post when I need a pep talk. I like how you phrase it and you are way cuter than Dr. Phil!

    • Don’t beat yourself up, T. Try for being good 80% of the time. There’s no such thing as perfect. Except you are perfectly correct…I am cuter than Dr Phil! You crack me up!

  5. Pingback: Guest post – Marcia Richards « Patricia Sands' Blog

  6. I co-sign on the teaching people how to treat us concept. I seen time and time again how certain “challenging” people change how they will approach or treat me when I let them know what is okay and what will not be tolerated. Then I watch these same people bully over others. For me, it has been about growing and learning to know who I am and how I want to relate in the world. I do think that there are things in life that can be out of our control or things that can be done to us. With those situations, the accountability concept comes in with how we react, integrate, learn and move beyond them.

    • We don’t have control over other people’s bad behavior, but we can set the tone with that person, making it known we won’t tolerate it. And then, yes, it our responsibility to control our own behavior and move on. Thanks for coming by!

  7. Pingback: Your Health! « Kate Wood's Blog

  8. Hi Marcia,

    Accountability is everything. Bad things happen to everyone; it’s how we react to our difficulties in life that make the difference. Those are my mottos.

    Eighteen months ago I was unhappy about never having become I writer. I chose to become one. I’ve finished my first book and am onto the second. People have noticed I’m more confident and happy than ever. (I am.) All I had to do was determine to “make myself happy” instead of waiting around for happiness to knock on my door.

    As always, thanks for your insight and wonderful resources. xoxo

    • I’m so happy for you, Jolyse! I’ve tried to live by, “If I change my mind, I can change my life.” And that’s exactly what you did! You’re an inspiration! Thanks for coming by.

  9. Accountability and creating your own experiences – this is one of those areas where I look at me now and go “if you only knew what you know now 20 years ago …!” That doesn’t mean that reminding myself and continuing to hold myself accountable when I’m unhappy or frustrated isn’t something I have to do every day, but at least I know to do it now : ). What I love is that once you begin holding yourself accountable instead of looking at all the ways you are a victim of circumstance, it becomes SO much easier to teach others how to treat you. At least it did for me. It gave me the self-worth and sense of power I needed to look at how my own behaviors made me the workaholic everyone expected to do all the work and to gradually change that expectation so I’d have time to work on MY goals, for example. Awesome post!

    • It really is a shame that some young people have such a hard time seeing this in themselves. It really can take a long time and lots of trial and error to ‘get it’.
      And you’re right, most of us have to remind ourselves daily to be accountable. I know I do. Thanks for coming by, Pam!

  10. You know, I was thinking of doing a blog post on #2. I’ve been allergic to gluten for 8 years; I’ve been 100% gluten free for one month. I know better, but I still fall back on the addiction I know.

    You’re right about the victim mindset. I read an article not too long ago about the Victim Triangle. One of the types of victims doesn’t even know they are; I think it’s the Helper. I can’t remember, but there’s the type who tries to fix everyone else’s problems and help other “victims” but doesn’t get the satisfaction they’re looking for and end up resenting everybody.

    Anyway, great post. 🙂

    • Oh, Angela we all find it hard to break certain ‘addictions’. I figure as long as we keep trying we’re making some progress. Conquering it, of course, is the goal. Interesting about there being different types of victims…whatever type a person is, it takes a lot of work to give that up. I’ve learned from familial experience, that general anxiety can cause that feeling of being victimized by life in general. Thanks for coming by and discussing it with me!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this! You’ve summed it all up beautifully. Sometimes, I think those who shy away from creating their own life experiences are afraid of the responsibility. Once a week I write down how I want my life to be and then do what I can to make it happen. It’s so easy–and so hard, all at the same time.

    • Being accountable all the time is a scary and uncomfortable thing to do. Great plan you have there! Writing things down every week. It’s the best way to keep your goals in front of you, so you have one less excuse to forget about them. Thanks for coming over, Donna!

  12. Fabulous post Marcia. This applies to every single one of us. Would you be willing to guest post it on my blog one day or have me post it under your name with a link to your blog? It’s too good not to share with others.

  13. Marcia these are the 3 critical things we need to continually work on. I think I may be halfway there to recognizing this…now to move further to mastering the message…I guess that is for the second half of my life now…I have always been a late bloomer..# 1 and 3 I am doing well with but let’s not talk about #2…fantastic post…needed this one today especially after I ate the donut!!

  14. Fantastic post Marcia and spot on! You just named three things that if people could truly “get” and work within, their lives would improve immensely. And when I say “get” I mean more than just theoritically in their head but get and actually apply in their lives!
    So many people walk around playing the blame game, seeing themselves as helpless and victims in their life – everything happening “to” them! It’s a shame – we create absolutely every single aspect of our life! If your boyfriend is mistreating you, it’s cause you let him. If your job sucks, it’s cause you choose to stay there. I could go on forever! But people don’t want to look at personal accountability in the truest sense of the word because it often means the HARD road! But it’s also the empowering road!
    The other day I said to hubby “I need to stop complaining about my weight gain – there’s only one person here responsible for it and if I am not willing to do anything about it, I should shut up about it already!”
    LOL! I try my BEST to take the accountability attitude in every aspect of my life. My life, my experience, my making! It means that I am always the one running the show and if there’s something going on that I don’t like, I CAN change it! Now that I like! :-))
    Thanks for sharing – beautifully written and wonderfully put!

    • Holy Cow, Nat! When you get behind an idea, you run with it! I love your concept of ‘running your own show’. I’m determined to make that kind of info sink in with young people! Thanks so much for your support!

  15. Really, Marcia! You had to be the first blog I read today, didn’t you? Making me own up to my shortcomings and have to make a plan. My coffee isn’t even brewed yet!

    I so hate it when you’re right. And today you are SO right.

I love it when you tell me what you think!

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