Life Happens Through Me: Cultivating a Higher Perspective

Tue, Feb 13, 2024

I love Kamal Ravikant’s book, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.”

It’s a short, episodic read crammed with digestible gems of wisdom. One of my favorite lessons is the need to shift perspectives on why life happens.

Here’s what that means to me.


Life happens to me.

This is where many of us begin, and if we’re not intentional with our growth, where we’ll end up forever. This is the “victim mindset” we’re constantly warned about, and it’s an easy trap to fall into. In fact, it may be our pre-programmed psychological default.

“Life happens to me” is so tempting because it’s true. Technically speaking, life is what happens to you. As a survival mechanism, it’s easy to see how hyper-intelligent (read: neurotic) primates would catalog away everything that’s ever happened as a data point to map survival tactics.

The problem is this doesn’t consider the observer’s immense impact on the experiment. If life is only what happens to me, then I have no control over my life at all. I’ve been removed from the cast of characters capable of influencing the story. I’m simply an observer.

This is another big temptation of this perspective: There’s a comfort in having no responsibility. I get to blame the world for my ills and reign supreme upon my throne of victimhood. This also makes shifting to the second, higher-order perspective so tricky.


Life happens for me.

This is the perspective of autonomy, agency, and self-reliance.

When life happens for me, every positive is a blessing, and every negative is a growth opportunity. There’s a commitment to accepting responsibility (the ability to respond) for everything that happens.

This is Jocko Willink’s “Extreme Ownership.” It’s also relatively easy to avoid using intellectual parlor tricks. I can point to someone I know who was hit by a drunk driver and paralyzed, then dare the world of perspectives to claim such a thing happened “for” him.

The critical thing to remember is that life is lived forward, not backward.

Looking back, “Life happens to me” may be the fairer perspective. However, “Life happens for me” is the more functional perspective when looking forward. And forward is the only way to go.

I see a person who takes a situation like that and turns it into an opportunity to grow and triumph to know the true power of this approach to life. However, it still needs to be the highest-order perspective.

There’s a final phase in the journey, and it can be terrifying:


Life happens through me.

This is the perspective of transcendence. I don’t mean that in the woo-woo Sedona crystal worshiper way. We choose to transcend (“go beyond the range or limits”) what does happen (reactive) and begin living in what could happen (proactive).

Life happens through me from the perspective of co-creation.

This is where I commune with life (God, the universe, a higher power, whatever) to bring about the future intentionally I want to see. For myself and, infinitely more importantly, for those I love.

I make life happen for others.

The responsibility here is immense and exhausting. I’ve only felt glimpses of this perspective throughout my life. Living here permanently would require what I’ll term a “spiritual fuel source.” Something I have yet to figure out where or how to access fully.


These perspectives aren’t hills to climb one after the other; they’re lenses I allow to slip over my eyes.

More often than not, I need to be made aware of the perspective I’m using. Being conscious is a habit that must be cultivated. It’s easy to cycle through all three often, even daily.

The hope I have for myself is that I begin to push into higher-order perspectives whenever and wherever possible. I’m loving and forgiving when I find myself in the “life happens to me” perspective and work to guide myself away from that kind of thinking simply.

I’d love to know what you think. How do we guide ourselves to the higher-order perspectives?

Speaking specifically of “life happens through me,” how can we maintain this perspective without exhausting ourselves?