Taking Charge of Your Life



““We are free up to the point of choice, then the choice controls the chooser.”



The capacity to make choices is essential to being in charge of our lives.

Many find themselves unable to make consistently positive decisions. Do you feel like that sometimes? You would like to be more in control but . . .

This lesson is designed to help you with:

• A deeper understanding of the importance of our day-to-day choices.
• Identifying the blockages to choosing what we really want in life. • Overcoming the habit patterns of those same old mistakes.

The goal is to assist you in achieving balanced, long-term fulfillment and happiness.

Programmed or
Free to Choose

“Our programming influences what we think, how we feel, day in and day out in every area of our lives.”
Dr. Helstetter.

Our decisions in life are all too often influenced by environmental factors. The fact that we are “programmed” in so many ways (personality, values, tastes, etc.) might suggest we are largely victims of circumstances and there is no real freedom of choice after all.

Genetic Programming

“Our genetic programming determines the colour of our hair, the shape of our face, our body type and our aptitudes.

Environmental Programming

A huge amount of our programming is environmental. Our brain has an incredible array of chemically and electrically imprinted programmes that drive and affect our behaviour.

Our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends, our teachers and our work associates are the major factors in our programming. We are also influenced by the media—the things we read, watch on television, etc.

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• Are we the masters of our journey through life?
• Is happiness a choice?
• To what extent do we have freedom of choice?

Our Programmed Life Principle

“We will die as we lived”

Dr. John Powell, Unconditional Love

Dr. John Powell

“Our programmed Life Principle is dominant in the development of character.

In the twilight of life, it becomes all the more apparent, defining and dictating our actions and reactions.

Unconditional Love

“We will die as we have lived. People who, in old age, prove quite self-centred and demanding, as well as those who are mellow and tolerant, did not become so only in their last years of life. Old cranks and old saints have practiced all their lives. They have simply practiced different life principles.

Unconditional Love

Our Programming, that in turn has such an impact on our Life Principle, can so easily be imposed by the other people in our lives.”

Unconditional Love

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The Inner Child

“Research shows that about 85 percent of one’s adult personality is formed by the time a person is six years old.” Drs Minirth, Meier & Arterburn, Complete Life Encyclopedia

The inner child concept helps us understand the programming process during our tender, developing years.
Psychologists, psychiatrists and people involved in addiction recovery, use the model. The inner child model helps explain the relevance of childhood experiences to our present quality of life.

The inner child is the essential you that existed before you began to acquire your role and identity in society.
At birth, we are uninhibited, spontaneous and totally vulnerable. There are no defences, no masks and no image to protect.


• to manipulate
—by making noises soon after birth—that is how your comfort and food needs were met.
• to develop social skills
—how to get on with others, how to attract favourable attention.
• to adopt positive and negative attitudes about yourself and your worth as a person
• to avoid rejection
—you soon discovered people would accept or reject you based on the things you said and did.
• to develop defence mechanisms
—to hide your thoughts and feelings to avoid emotional pain or shame.
to wear your mask to keep others from the real you

Programming our Habit Patterns

The conscious mind is where we make decisions and the unconscious mind is the seat of memory and habit. The habits gain entry through the conscious mind and repetition transfers them to the unconscious mind.

Claire Carmichael

“Childhood experiences can influence: the kind of partner we choose, how we function in a relationship, our understanding of a relationship’s open and hidden purpose.”

Getting it Right

A great many of our attitudinal, value and social habit patterns are programmed by others when we are too young and tender to understand what was happening.

Have you ever attempted to get rid of an unwanted habit pattern? Golfers, for example, can develop the habit of a flaw in their swing. Public speakers can develop unhelpful characteristics in their body language.

Do you have negative or even damaging habit patterns you would like to get rid of? Have you discovered the frustration of trying to get rid of unwanted habit patterns?

Do not be discouraged—we all have! We must therefore confront the question of how then we can take charge of our lives.

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“We don’t have to allow the programming of the past to control our present and future.”

The Power of Choice

The central theme of the Taking Charge of Your Life program is that you have the power of choice. You can take control of your life in spite of your programming.Our potential to be in charge of our lives is determined by our capacity to make choices.

Edwin & Sally Kiester

“Our lives are the sum total of our decisions – whether in business or personal spheres.”

Readers Digest

Many wonder about the possibility of choosing to turn their backs on the mistakes of the past and make a new start. The Bible speaks about renewing our minds

“. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .”
Romans 12:2, NIV 

Does that mean we can choose to end negative or unwanted habit patterns—somehow reverse the old programming?

Some wonder if our minds can be reprogrammed in the same way we reprogramme a computer—eliminate all the junk from the memory and reprogram from scratch.

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“The mind is not like that. It is not like pressing a button and suddenly all the negative memories are gone.

We can choose, rather, to change direction—begin a new process— trigger a new set of thoughts, attitudes and habit patterns.

“We don’t have to allow the programming of the past to control our present and future.”


Dealing with Negative Habits

“We all have areas where temptation is strong and habits are hard to conquer . . .we must deal with our areas of vulnerability.” Insights—1John 3:8, 9 Life Application Bible.

Do you find yourself struggling with weaknesses or old unwanted habit patterns?

It is important to identify and confront your own weaknesses and needs as a first step to growth.

Identify Negative Habits

• lack of confidence
• impatience negative attitude
• anger
• failure to listen
• drinking
• smoking gambling
• lack of care
• always criticising
• careless driving
• tardiness
• self centredness laziness
• sadness
• untidiness
• lack of organisation
• empty promises

While you can’t eliminate negative habits from the memory the following steps will help you:
1. Identify your negative habit patterns.
2.Choose to confront them.
3.Change your thinking and self-talk—note the Biblical quote on the next page, that speaks of focusing thoughts on the good and positive—there is power in positive thinking.
4.Build alternative, positive habits.
Many find the more they struggle to get rid of the old habits the more they are ensnared.

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“Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”


Try Swapping

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
ROMANS 12:21

Where to go from here?

Try to identify two or three positive habit patterns you would like to commence and set dates:

“The habit patterns you feed will determine the fundamental direction of your life.”

Zig Ziglar, Top Performance

“The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, thought and act.”

Orison Swett Marden quoted in Top Performance

Achieving What We Expect

Our attitude toward and expectation of others, positive or negative tends to be mirrored in their performance. This also applies to our self- expectations.
This is called the Pygmalion or Mirror Effect.

George Bernard Shaw developed the theme of the creative artist Pygmalion (1912), from which was later derived the musical play My Fair Lady.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica

The stage and screen musical play, My Fair Lady illustrates the principle  Professor Higgin’s expectations and specialised training of a Cockney flower girl enabled her to pass as a lady. Her life was changed because she lived up to those expectations.

It can be a positive loop. We communicate positive attitudes and expectations to others. This produces positive performance which stimulates even more positive expectations. These in turn build increasingly positive expectations . . . and so on.

This motivational principle can inspire you and the people in your life:
• your children
• your spouse
• your colleagues
• your employees
• your boss

Applying the Pygmalion Effect

This powerful life-enriching principle can begin working for you immediately. Just begin with the following three steps:

Look for the Best

1. Look for the best—positive thinking and attitude.

“Leaders who expect their followers to succeed exert positive influences and obtain extraordinary short-term and long-term results. In addition, their followers feel competent, confident, and enthusiastic. They face their subsequent tasks with the expectation of success.”

J. S. Livingston, “Pygmalion in Management”, Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1969.

Do Something

2. Now do something

Translate the positive attitude into positive action. William James, the father of American psychology, said we become how we act.

Expand your self `image

3. Use the positive act as a basis for expanding your self-image.

Our self-image is the key to our behaviour. Change the self-image and we change the behaviour. It even sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. It defines what we can or cannot do. Expand the self-image and we expand the area of the possible.

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“Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy; you won’t necessarily get what you want . . . but in the long run you will usually get what you expect.”
Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness

Our Deeper Values

Our deeper values are the key to the passions that drive us to great achievements. Getting in touch with our values involves the spiritual dimension of our natures.

Many find inspiration by looking at growth from a spiritual as well as an intellectual, emotional and social perspective.

It is in the spiritual dimension that we find an appreciation for love and the other intangibles of life.

It is here where we come to grips with our self-esteem and ourselves.

The Bible speaks of the core value of life—unconditional love. It points to the love of God—a love that is constant in spite of the rejection and dysfunctional behaviour of humans.

He has demonstrated His love through the gift of His “one and only son” to be the Saviour of all who believe and accept.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

John 3.16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”



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