One of the most profound realizations you can come to in life is the idea that you are a creator. Truly understanding and living this will have a massively positive impact on your life, from your relationships to your career to your happiness.
There are two main ways of looking at the world: things happen either to me or by me.
If I am in the to me state, I see myself “at the effect of,” meaning that the cause of my condition is outside me. It is happening to me. Whether I see the cause as another person, circumstance, or condition, I believe I’m being acted upon by external forces.
People in to me are at the mercy of the markets, competitors, team members who “don’t get it,” suppliers, the weather, their own mood, their spouse, their children, their bank account, and their health, to name a few.
They believe that these external realities are responsible for their unhappiness (if only my spouse weren’t mean, I’d be happy); for their failures (if only my sales team would work harder, our top line would go up); and for their insecurities (if only I had more validation from my boss, I would feel more secure at my job).
People in a to me mindset do not take responsibility for themselves and instead blame others, or external factors. This is because it's far less effort to play the victim than to take responsibility.
People consistently stuck in a to me mindset are often playing into a wider archetype they have about themselves, such as “I failed because I'm a failure.” Ultimately, beneath this lies an urge to elicit sympathy from others, and again requires less effort than taking responsibility.
When people shift from below the line to above it, they move from the to me to the by me state—from living in victim consciousness to living in creator consciousness and from being at the mercy of to “consciously creating with.” Instead of believing that the cause of their experience is outside themselves, they believe that they are the cause of their experience.
People in a by me state choose to see that everything in the world is unfolding perfectly for their learning and development. Nothing has to be different. They see that what is happening is for them.
Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?” the by me leader asks questions like, “What can I learn from this?” “How is this situation ‘for me’?” “How am I creating this and keeping this going?”
To shift out of a to me mindset, we first need to realize we’re in one—and take a deep breath. Then we need to choose to take radical responsibility for whatever is happening in our lives, to let go of blaming anyone, and to approach problems with curiosity.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and it's unlikely that just reading this chapter is going to magically change your attitude in life. This is part of a deeper exploration, so we recommend reading the books The Courage to Be Disliked and the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership to start that journey.
The most successful people in life manage to approach most of their problems with a by me mindset. They realize that they are creative forces in their lives and that they can have a massive impact on how their lives play out.
The only way we've seen to fundamentally shift to a long-term creator mindset is via goal setting. Set small goals, achieve them, and then set larger ones. Prove to yourself that you can achieve things you set your mind to. This builds up the personal confidence needed to feel comfortable in the by me mindset.