Are we really in control of our lives

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Are we really in control?

For years and years self development gurus and bloggers including me kept glorifying and praising successful people. Bill gates, Steve jobs, Richard Branson and many other extremely successful people were described as legends (and yes i did the same too).

After all those people are brilliant, risk takers, extremely persistent, visionaries and so many other good things. But one day a strange question came to my mind.

How many people in the world are smart, passionate, brave & persistent?
The logical answer is millions!

So why aren't all of those millions billionaires or millionaires?
Or at least why aren't all the ones who desperately want to be rich really rich?

The shocking answer is, you can be persistent, smart, passionate, brave but still fail. But how come can this be?

Why you can have all good traits but still fail

I have read hundreds of success stories over the past years and i noticed one thing in common among them all. Let me write 3 of them in brief and see if you can reach the same conclusion.

  • 1) Eduardo Saverin. Net worth 4.9 billion Eduardo is brilliant, smart, brave and has all the bla bla needed for a person to become rich. One day Mark zuckerberg decided to start Facebook (after he got the idea from the Winklevoss twins) and because Eduardo was his friend Zuckerberg asked him to join the new company Facebook
  • 2) Nick Woodman. Networth 2.9 billion Again Nick woodman has all the needed traits to become rich. One day he decided to go on a surfing trip but he didn't find any possible way to take pictures of himself while surfing. He came up with the idea of making a camera for surfers and sports people then ended up with Gopro a camera that has almost 30% market share of the digital cameras market
  • 3) Mark pincus. Net worth 1 billion: Mark of course has all the traits successful people have. He was very passionate about games but never had the chance to make one because he didn't knew how to market them. One day when Facebook opened the door for developers Pincus saw the opportunity and manged to market his Game Farm ville through Facebook and hence Zynga was born.

Did you make any conclusions yet?
Ok let me help you.

What would have happened if Eduardo never met Mark Zuckerberg? (lived in a different state for example)
What if Zuckerberg Never met the Winklevoss twins?
And if any of the above happened where would have Mark Pincus been today?
And if social networks didn't rise how would have Gopro gained popularity?

Most of the important factors needed for success aren't within our control

Yes we can control our habits, emotions, desires, goals and even change our personality traits but so many of the needed factors for success are simply beyond our control.

I am not trying to dilute the achievements of any of those people. In fact all of those people are extremely brilliant and persistent. But are all brilliant and persistent people successful?

Simply no. Because some factors that are totally out of our control might change the course of our lives. Meeting someone or not meeting him, being passionate about something or not having passion, being raised in a certain environment or being raised somewhere else are all examples of factors that can directly affect the level of success we achieve in our lives.

In fact the success of other people or their failure can also affect our level of success. Had Mark zuckerberg didn't succeed with Facebook then Twitter or even Instagram might have not been here. Zynga wouldn't have certainly been here without Facebook.

How the illusion of control negatively impacts our lives

The illusion of being in full control can ruin our lives. Here is how:

If you compared yourself to others who achieved more than you without putting in mind that some factors beyond their control helped them then you might lose confidence. When you glorify the people who made great achievements in life your beliefs about yourself will change.

You will start to think that they succeeded because they are good while you didn't because you are bad. Such comparisons can kill self confidence and result in a miserable life.

Should you give up?

Of course no! you would be getting the article totally wrong if you decided to give up. I managed to become a self made millionaire and i have made more than 4 attempts to become a billionaire. In fact i am currently working on the fifth attempt now. So certainly i am not asking you to give up.

So why i wrote this article?
This article isn't an invitation to give up but it has two main purposes:

  • 1) Helping you keep your confidence: You shouldn't lose your confidence even if you aren't getting the results you want
  • 2) To believe in a higher power: Some people call it luck, others call it karma but i do call it God. When you depend on this higher power then you can still control the factors that are totally out of your control

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