Do you gamble? Most people do not. They would prefer to make better use of their money and time. Some do but purely for the entertainment aspect. A sizable minority of the population is addicted to gambling and will gamble away every last cent they have, even money they don’t have.
I look around these days and I notice the unhappiness in people. I hear them complain about the daily grind, how happy they are to have a weekend away from work that they must hate. I can feel the sense of despair over lives that have not turned out they way people had planned and yet…..
I see so many individuals addicted to alcohol, prescribed drugs, street drugs, food, and sloth. They complain about how terrible they feel and yet…..
I counsel people everyday who come to my office and complain about their spouse, their significant other, their children, their parents. Toxic relationships abound where people say they feel trapped, alone, afraid, abused, resentful and resented and yet…..
Yet people seem loath to change their circumstances, even dire, dangerous, life threatening circumstances. They stay in situations that exhaust them, rob them of their dignity and take away hope for a better life. Worse yet, they will let these situations rob them of their preferred future. Why?
I know they have heard that it doesn’t have to be that way. I know they know there is help just around every corner. Deep down, they have to know that they are capable of changing things for the better. So, why don’t they?
I hear them talk about how things will get better with time. By just waiting? I hear them talk about how things will be better next year yet they have no plans to make things better by this year.
I hear them make excuses for the very same people that they feel are holding them back and I have to believe that they can’t be serious. Yet, they are serious.
They, all of them, are gambling with their futures. They are leaving to chance what should be fiercely, intentionally and boldly managed – their own lives.
If you know someone like this, or if this sounds like you, then here are five steps any individual can take right now to stop gambling away their life:
- Make a decision. Nothing will change for you until you decide it will change. Figuratively speaking, if you don’t like the scenery, change the view. You must decide to decide that things will be different. You are at the starting line of the rest of your life so start moving. You might not know exactly where the finish line is just yet but at least you are moving forward.
- Help yourself first. Acknowledge your particular situation. Completely and honestly probe the depth and breadth of it. Know that you can be the agent of change in your own life. Stop waiting for outside forces to rescue you or provide for you. Come to depend on yourself and your own actions for your own needs.
- Ask for help if needed. I don’t mean a friendly ear to bend or someone that will be content to offer words of encouragement. I mean people, agencies, facilities, providers, institutions, programs and groups that will offer assistance with your particular issues. This is not in disregard of the second step above. Asking for help if you honestly need it is helping yourself. You may need advice. You may need protection. You may need counseling. You may need treatment. Ask for what you need.
- Never turn back. I have seen people extract themselves from deplorable situations only to crawl right back to them in moments of weakness. Protect your weak spots. Develop strategies to protect yourself from the allure of old habits, codependency traps and those that have harmed you. Your preferred future always lies ahead of you, never behind you.
- Trust in change. You must come to realize that you are capable of more, that you can be different, and create, and learn, and produce, and build, and grow. We grow by how we change. We all have different natural talents and abilities that will compel us to change if we choose to use them. If you’re not changing, you’re not growing.
These steps are just the beginning, to get you moving. They are intended to stop you from gambling away your future, the biggest gamble of all, so you can begin to embrace the possibilities of change.
Do you feel you have been gambling away your future, just getting by on hopes and dreams? Are there other steps you can take, or have taken, to ensure a more favorable future for yourself?