Do you ever see people behave a certain way and you wonder why? Many of us might look at a typical criminal, delinquent, drug addict, or underprivileged person as someone who “chose the wrong path” in life. After all, the law of attraction states that we have absolute control over our lives and can make anything happen. Often times, we blame and shame people for not choosing a better path in life, but we neglect to understand that all of our initial paths are chosen for us. 


What do I mean by this? Well, let’s see why the first 18 years of a typical person’s life are what I consider “the critical years.”


What Are “The Critical Years?”

Simply put, our childhoods can have the greatest impact on the rest of our lives, although they are the shortest years. Aside from receiving a formal education in grade school to allow us to be high functioning members of society, the first 18 years are critical in many other ways on all levels; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and even financial.

Have you ever read the poem, “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Law Nolte? Well, there’s a lot of truth to it because children learn by modeling the behaviors of others around them; their parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, friends, friends’ parents, idols, TV characters, etc. They simply don’t know better, and they learn to survive in their immediate environments. This is why parents need to be very careful about what their children are being exposed to, whether or not it’s intentional.

As I mentioned earlier, initially, our paths in life are chosen for us. We have no say over the families we are born into, the cultural norms we’re introduced to, our physical appearances, or even the names we are given! Those are all chosen for us by our parents. Then, over the course of the next 18 years, our parents have legal custodial rights over us, so they tell us what to do, they raise us the way they want to raise us, we practice the religions and traditions they practice, they dress us how they want, feed us what they want, and we live where ever they live. In addition, we go to the school in the city/town we live in, we’re forced to learn things we don’t particularly want to learn at the time (although it helps us later in life), and we are limited to the people in our community to build friendships with.

So essentially, we spend the first 18 years of our lives being told what to do and controlled by the adult authority figures in our lives, and they condition us to be a certain way. Now, this can either be a good or a bad thing, but in the beginning, it is not up to us at all.

We often shame and blame people for ending up a certain way, when in reality, it was not 100% up to them in the first place, and their first belief systems were conditioned in them early on by their families, teachers, and other role models. Also, they may not have the outside guidance or support to get out of their own minds. In fact, in the book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health” by L. Ron Hubbard, he states that our brains are like very powerful computers, but any computer is only as good as the data put into it. In other words, we only know what we are exposed to.


Will This Affect The Rest Of My Life?!

Here’s the thing; it CAN affect the rest of your life, but whether or not it WILL is entirely up to you. The first issue is a lack of awareness. We cannot change or solve a problem without being aware of it first. If we’re limited by all we currently know, we may perceive what we do as totally normal. Feel free to check out this video by The School of Life which explains how a messed up childhood can affect adulthood.

I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction. In fact, I’ve watched “The Secret” multiple times! You don’t have to let your early life experiences dictate your adulthood! However, in order to be able to develop a higher conscious awareness and bypass your initial conditioning, things need to start changing on a deeper, psychological level. We must take the time and make the effort to go through a process of learning and relearning, and we need to step out of our comfort zones in order to break out of the subconscious paradigms that dictate our thoughts, behaviors, and lives. You may check out this video by Bob Proctor where he explains it in further detail.

The greater truth about life is that, no matter what anyone tells you, you can be, do, and have anything you want no matter how big it is. The key is to be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it and to be able to accept the reality for what it is. If you can do those two things, you’re golden. I myself have not achieved success yet, but I’ve learned from many who have.


Great! What Should I Do In The Meantime?

Well, the best place to start is to look deep down within yourself and figure out what you truly want. Not what your parents want for you, not what your friends want for you, and not even what society expects from you. What do you really want? What are you passionate about? What makes you excited? If you need help putting ideas onto paper, I recommend creating a 10-10 list like the one from “Micro-Entrepreneurship For Dummies” by Paul Mladjenovic. Whether or not you wish to be an entrepreneur, the list may help bring you clarity.

No matter what you choose to do in life, the good people in your life will support and respect you no matter what. They will also be happy for you whether or not you stay in close contact. Anyone who criticizes or hates on you is not worth keeping around. Remember that environment is stronger than willpower, so surround yourself with those who will lift you up!

If you feel the need for counseling services to help you work through struggles and learn more about yourself, you may do a search on Psychology Today. If by any chance you are in an unhealthy or dangerous living situation, please refer to The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call emergency services immediately.

If you are still a minor, and your parents abuse you in any way, understand that it’s not your fault and you don’t deserve it. Also, please refer to or talk to a trusted adult at school or any safe place. Worst case scenario, don’t be afraid to contact emergency services.

Otherwise, if all else is well, don’t be afraid to work towards the life you truly want deep down and express yourself to the fullest! Work hard to convert dreams into goals, goals into plans, and plans into actions! You only get one life, so make the best of it!


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