In my 25 years as a healthcare practitioner, I’ve come to notice an important trend in the way that most people view themselves and their health. Our current medical mindset is fixated on treatment. When I say “our” mindset, I don’t just mean that of the professionals themselves. If a patient goes to their doctor for a treatment, they expect their problems to be fixed or taken away. This puts the onus of the recovery on the practitioner or therapist and in most cases the patient is just a passive observer in the healing process, apart from perhaps taking some pills or receiving injections.

Let me illustrate with an example I saw in a documentary. Recently, Morgan Spurlock’s (creator and director of the documentary Super Size Me) 30 Days series aired an episode with a former college athlete, Scott. Though only in his early 30’s, age and lifestyle hadn’t been too kind to Scott and he now found himself out of shape, becoming overweight and losing his libido. What made this episode interesting isn’t the predicament that Scott found himself in. It was what he chose to do about it. Though he did change his diet and begin to exercise, the main component to his plan was an anti-aging program, complete with growth hormones and testosterone injections. Why weren’t the dietary and fitness changes sufficient? Why not give those changes in lifestyle the chance to return Scott to his college-level fitness and physique? The answer is the treatment mindset. Most of society wants someone else to fix their problems and to fix them now. Unfortunately for Scott, the quick fix wasn’t really any kind of fix at all. Though he did lose substantial weight, he didn’t last 30 days on his ant-aging regimen. As the show documents, Scott’s sperm count plunged from over 50 million healthy sperm at the treatment’s beginning to zero in a matter of weeks. His liver started to malfunction and he began to experience mood swings. Coming to their senses, Scott and his wife decided that the side effects weren’t worth the results and he discontinued the treatments.

For many healthcare professionals, the treatment mindset is perfectly fine because they get their identity or feed their ego based on their ability to fix people. I’ve done it myself – I used to think of myself as a very good body mechanic. But the better you get, the tougher your clients get. In fact, at some point, if you get good enough, you will run into clients whose difficulties can’t be resolved just by altering diet or creating a new exercise program. I know that I have to make it clear to my clients that they are going to need a deep understanding of themselves and take part in their own life. Their role in their health cannot be a passive role. They must actively seek to understand their life and to change it in ways that lead to wellbeing.

I want to make a larger point here for all of my readers. This medical mindset is part of a more general attitude towards life possessed by many westerners. It’s not just the case that many of us fail to take an active role in the health of our body. Rather we are encouraged in many ways to let others make decisions for us. We’re inundated with commercials and other forms of marketing directed at influencing us to believe in certain ways – about the kinds of foods to eat, clothes to wear, cars to drive, who to vote for, what to worship and what to buy. There are social pressures from friends and family to conform to various conventions and habits. In short, we are bombarded with others’ opinions and discouraged from forming our own beliefs. In the end it’s easy to form the habit of just waiting submissively for someone to come along and tell us how to behave or what to think. The consequence is passivity towards our dreams, towards ourselves and towards others. Why is it that so many people fail to choose a career that challenges and enlivens them? It’s because they don’t consciously embrace the belief that they are in charge of their own life. They let life do them rather than doing life. It is when we fail to actively explore what it is that we want in life and how we can create that life for ourselves that we begin to experience most of life’s stresses.

I teach all of my clients, students and employees that one can’t have healthy relationships with others until they’ve developed a healthy relationship with themselves. Seen in that light, the passive mindset I’ve just described is even more damaging. It doesn’t just inhibit your ability to develop a healthy relationship with yourself, it gets in the way of developing genuine relationships with others as well. In more ways than one, it is this general passivity that creates the stresses that bring most of the clients I see to my doorstep.

The key to overcoming this passivity is to recognize your own power and potential for control as part of your conscious mindset. I emphasize the word “conscious” here because when pressed, most people will tell you that of course they are in control of their lives. Knowing in the abstract that you are making your life’s choices or that you could be making them isn’t enough to avoid the problems I’ve described. You must have the belief that it is your will driving your life firmly in front of you when you make your decisions – it must figure in to how you choose a course of action. To recognize your power of choice in every decision means embracing the responsibility for your life’s direction and at the same time realizing that if you don’t like the course of your life, you can change it. If you can do this, you’ll find that you are more careful about your choices and that those choices are enlivened by the knowledge that you have the power to transform your life at any time.

Now I don’t want anyone to think that being an active participant in their own life means that they have to do everything for themselves. In fact, once you know what your dreams are and you are actively working towards them, you may find yourself delegating more responsibilities to others so that you can spend your energy more efficiently. Being an active participant in the construction of your own life is about having a vision of what you want that life to be, developing a plan to realize that vision and then enacting that plan. So even if you are delegating tasks, you are still actively directing the energies around you to reach your goals.

Shedding the passive mindset that infects so many people may be the best thing you ever do for yourself. Once you do let go, you’ll find yourself motivated to direct your life in the way that you want, rather than towards what others want. If you are someone that writes out their personal goals, make the recognition of your own power one of your goals. If you don’t write out your goals, start doing it! Writing down your goals is the first step to recognizing that you have the power to direct your life. Each time you set a goal and achieve it you’ll have more confidence in your ability to achieve. So start setting goals, drop that passive mindset and you’ll find yourself more excited about your life than ever!

Author's Bio: 

Paul Chek
is an internationally renowned holistic health practitioner, consultant to some of the world’s most elite athletes and business professionals, and founder of PPS Success and the C.H.E.K Institute. His workshops and seminars have helped thousands of people from all walks of life to go after and reach their fullest potential.

Paul has produced more than 50 videos, 7 books, including his new ebook The Last 4 Doctors You’ll Ever Need – How to Get Healthy Now!, as well as 16 advanced-level home study courses while regularly contributing to several publications and web sites. Above all he has become an educator: teaching and applying his methods to benefit others through lectures, multimedia presentations, and most recently on the web in the areas of personal, professional, and spiritual development through the PPS Success Mastery Program.