I live my life believing in two competing ideas.

1) We can’t control how our life unfolds. A random introduction can open doors we never imagined. A bad accident shifts our priorities in an instant. Convincing ourselves we can control what happens in our lives is simply ignoring the uncomfortable reality that we are all wandering into the unknown.

2) We can control how we live our lives. We choose where to spend our time. We decide who’s in our inner circle. Consciously or sub-consciously we decide what’s important to us. Ignoring our ability to control how we approach the world is denying ourselves our one true superpower.

I’ve spent too many restless moments mulling over this dilemma. On the one hand, I believe in serendipity and know certain conversations, individuals, and events have influenced my life in ways I never expected. On the other hand, I believe my actions impact my life. Had I made different decisions, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Life may be out of our control, but how we live is not.

So, what now? How do we live a life that acknowledges both truths? Focusing my effort on three things has been incredibly helpful.

  1. Spending time understanding myself. What lights me up? What inspires me? What is my gut telling me to do? Knowing this is an ongoing process as these answers will evolve over time.
  2. Remaining aware of, and open to, what’s around me. What opportunities exist? What new directions might be fun? What new paths are in front of me? If I only focus on what’s right in front of me I may miss the easier, more enjoyable path.
  3. Being courageous. Trusting my mind and body when they speak up. Jumping at the things I’m drawn to. Making a change when it feels right. After all, what good is knowing what you want and seeing the opportunity in front of you if you are not willing to take the leap?

By focusing on these three things – knowing what I want, seeing what else is possible, and being willing to jump when the time is right – I hope to put my actions to use while also remaining open to the evolving nature of life. Is it a tough line to walk? Absolutely. But nobody said it would be easy.