I Am The Captain of My Ship

“It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul”
-William Ernest Henry


It’s normal for people to feel down sometimes when we are facing difficulties in life, but being down for a prolonged period is not good for our psyche and health. Grieving for the death of people we love is a defence mechanism of our ego to fight the emotion we have, people do it for a month before getting back to their routine. But again, it’s not normal to grieve for a year or longer (even six months is quite long already). Now you know that we have a mental defence mechanism to adapt with the emotion and situation we are facing, but different people have different way to adapt. That depends on their childhood memories, the environment they are living in, culture, and maturity. When angry, my friend may be shouting bad things directly to his partner while others may become passive-aggresive. We use defence mechanism in our routine daily, it may happened when our friends confront us anger, sadness, and happiness. Defence mechanism task is to protect our ego, preventing us from looking fragile and worthless. The most simple example is for a kid who lack in mathematic (and admit it) but excel in sports (and brag about it). It works by compensating our weakness with our strenght.

Problems, we had it everyday, once we finished it, another rise. Not because the new problem isn’t there at the beginning (although some work may be given to you by your Boss at a later time), but because we keep on looking for them to get ahead in life. As a human, we strive to get better each day, or at least that’s the goal of rational minded people. Nobody want to be poorer or uglier next year, rational minded people would opt for richer and better looking. You could see a pattern emerged from my last two paragraph, that we are equipped with mental strength to cope with daily challenges, whether it is a challenge we voluntary choose or challenge we have to conquer to get ahead. Think of it like playing a video games, once you win a level, you got to the next level, which look harder when you see it from your previous level. What you forgot is that you also got better in understanding the obstacles and how to get passed in the level. The same goes with life, when we were kids, our parents gave us challenge according to our age, first to crawl, then walk, read, write, calculate, and as we grow up we choose the challenge more voluntarily. For people working in the office, avoiding challenge could mean staying in the same position without any promotion, or even getting fired! While challenging ourselves to get better, implement a genius ideas, bracing our fear of public speaking may get us ahead the promotion.

The sad part is many people (including myself in the past) has been wandering on earth long enough without realizing the power we have in creating a lfe we want to live in, simply said, we don’t have goals. Clearly defined goals takes a very important in making decision in our daily life, we could zig and zag for a while, but with clearly defined goals we would eventually get to where we want to go. A lifetime goal could be broken down into “this decade goals”, and broken down again into “this year goals”, and again stripped into “monthly objectives”. Having WRITTEN to-do-list on our monthly objectives and review it everyday is crucial in reaching the end goal, we start doing small action daily toward completing the objectives. Do it oong enough and you’ll be where you want to be. Completing lifetime goals is possible with small steps daily, a harder question would be, “why do you want to achieve your goals?” Because if the “why” is not strong enought for you, you’ll have a hard time knowing the “how”. Most of successful people I studied are driven with either passion for their job, love for someone, or more greatly, the better of humanity.

The good news is now we do realize that we have the power to shape our life, we are not helpless like a plant. Although we couldn’t choose the events happening to us, we could choose how we react to the circumstances and it starts by being an optimist person. A negative person always see the downside in events happening to them and in effect they get depressed, depression leads to decrease of work quality, happiness level, and few people actually want to hang out with depressed people becuas it’s exhausting. On the other side, an optimistic person see the good things in life, even when bad things happened to them. They know there’s always be something to learn from life events, and use it to get better and stronger coping with the problem, when the same problem arises, they know better how to handle it. When I give the title of this post, I really mean it from my heart. We are not helpless people, we do have the power inside us, what we need is to use it to shape our life the way we want it. The bigger question is not having but in doing, will you use the power or blame the circumstances for where you are now?



About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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2 Responses to I Am The Captain of My Ship

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