Victim or Navigator

Life is not always the easiest to navigate. We have choices to make that guide our path. When the path becomes rocky, we can choose to give up and turn back, push forward, or clear a different path. The path isn’t always clear and sometimes it really is the road less traveled. Ultimately, the path is our choice. Do external forces influence our choice? Absolutely. Is the choice always easy? Absolutely not. Is it always the right one? Also no.

Years ago I read an article by Deborah Tierce asking, “Do you approach problem solving like a victim or navigator?” It made an impact and I have used it as a discussion point for several classes. According to Tierce, navigators are closer to what behavior theorist Abraham Maslow calls self actualization. Facing obstacles as opportunities help one to reinvent themselves and discover the potential within. To do this, a navigator must constantly engage in self evaluation. It requires to face faults, seek improvement, and recognize strengths. In contrast, a victim views every obstacle or hardship as a conspiracy against them. There is always a scapegoat for falling short. Tierce describes this as being held hostage to a life of doom and misery.

We all know people who are of the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” mentality, as well as those who never take a chance and always have an excuse. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone in order to be a navigator. What do you want out of life? If it’s just to exist every day, fine. If you want to truly live life, enjoy life, and experience everything it has to offer you have to navigate. The victim mentality will get you no where. Choices. Sometimes life feels like a vicious dodgeball tournament. You can take the hits and do nothing, or you can twist and turn, catch and throw that red rubber ball back.

To stay in the comfort zone is to deny one’s real potential. To deny it is easier than reaching it.

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