We all have some form of struggle in our lives. It can be big or small, intermittent or constant. It does not matter the size of the challenge itself. What matters is the impact that it has on the person who is experiencing it. In order to manage the impact, most people develop ways of thinking about the struggle that allow them to imagine a better future. Some even think about a power greater than themselves who will ensure that it all works out in the end. Others take steps to keep themselves psyched up and motivated each day, in spite of the circumstances they face.
As a means of coping, most people have come to realize that it is important that they develop a mindset that allows them to feel strong and capable of surmounting the odds that they face and the challenges that come their way. It is also important that they have tools that can be used and ways of energizing themselves when they need help to keep moving forward.
One of the ways that many people use to get ready and stay ready is to have something that they read, recite or say to themselves every day. Some people have mantras, specific intentions or philosophies that they use on an ongoing basis. One of the most famous poems that some people use, in whole or in part, is Invictus. This poem, in recent decades, has been made most famous by Nelson Mandela, who is known to have used it for his own inspiration during his twenty-five years of incarceration.
Invictus – William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
It is a powerful instrument for gearing yourself up to endure hardship or for reminding yourself that you have the power to decide how you are going to respond in the situations that you face. You can decide who you are going to be, in spite of your circumstances and like Nelson Mandela, you can decide whether your challenges will leave you better or bitter. That is what it means to be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance. She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more of her writing visit https://marjoriewharton.live