The central concept Steve Chandler focuses on in his book Reinventing Yourself is that of being a Owner vs being a Victim. To explain it while maintaining brevity,

  • A Victim is someone who thinks of himself as a victim of the circumstances.
  • A Owner is someone who doesn’t ever think of himself as a victim, but rather takes up the responsibility for his life.

I won’t go into the philosophy of Victim and Owner here, but instead, I’ll share a recent epiphany I had which reinforced my belief in this philosophy.

From my childhood, I have always taken an interest in learning things on my own, especially technical things. I started learning about programming, hacking, reverse-engineering leading up to computer architecture, and more, on my own in my childhood. Later in high-school, I was a pretty good programmer and even started making some money off of my programming skills. Naturally, I took up computer science as major in college. But then in college, I was finding it hard to learn things which were being taught. What went wrong here? It’s not that I don’t like Computer Science, in fact, I love it so much that I read theoretical computer science concepts in my spare time, but I read only those which are not in the course syllabus. Whenever it feels like I’m studying for an exam or for grades, my attitude towards the topic changes entirely. So what’s going wrong here? The education system is partly to blame, but there’s a deeper problem here that we need to address.

The dynamic playing out here is that of victim and owner. The reason I’m finding it hard to appreciate and focus on the subject at hand is my attitude towards it. I’m thinking of myself as a victim, thinking that I am a victim of the circumstances—in this case, the upcoming exam and grades thereof. Instead of thinking that I am doing it because I should, if I think that I am doing it because I want, all the frustration goes away. In most of the cases, this is true too, we are rarely a victim of the circumstances, rather it’s our thought-process that makes us behave like one. You too must’ve experienced this, when you decide to do something and then do it for yourself, it doesn’t feel like a chore, rather it feels like a personal project.

I’m not going to make this post a long one. What I wanted to share with you, the readers, is the gravity and applicability of this victim—owner concept in our everyday life. I highly recommend the Reinventing Yourself book I mentioned above, it will change your life for the better.