Life is a combination of decisions – things you do; circumstances – things that others do to you, including people you’ve never met, like politicians; and results – your decisions + the circumstances.
When we complain about life we mostly complain about our circumstances, not our decisions. We seem to be fixated on circumstances. When I first meet a person they tend to ask about my circumstances first – where am I from? where do I live? It’s only when people get to know me that they ask why I decided to be a licensed financial adviser, for example.
Why do circumstances interest us more than decisions? Sure circumstances happen to us before we can even make decisions – even before we are born. But decisions are by far more interesting because that’s how you change circumstances, possibly to the point that the circumstances disappear or stop mattering.
Welcome to financial planning, where the core of such exercise is to empower you to let your own decisions determine the outcome, rather than dictated by circumstances.