Short answer: nothing.
Ghandi said once, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” There’s a lot to be said about this quote, so let’s dig right in.
First, answer this question: am I the reason for everything in my life right now? Think about this as thoroughly as possible. Are you responsible for failing relationships? For your lack of money? For unhappiness with your job? For your salary? For all of the positive things but also every problem you have? I’ve heard many people say that they wish they had more money, or they wish they had more time in their lives for things they want to do, or they wish they could learn another language, or learn to play an instrument. Each and every person is responsible for every single thing in their lives.
Since most of the people who are looking for “success” are really looking for money, I’ll stick with that example. If you don’t have enough money to cover the bills, or you don’t have any left over for things you want, or for vacations, it’s your fault. This is a hard thing to hear, but I hope you’ll continue reading.
If I asked you who is responsible for what you get paid, and for your lack of money, what would you say? The easiest answer is “my employer.” And working in corporate America, I heard plenty of people complain that their employer didn’t pay them enough for the work they did. In actuality, YOU are responsible for what you earn.
Think about it: why do CEOs get paid as much as they do for their time, and you only get paid your salary for yours? Why doesn’t everyone earn the same amount? Because not everyone provides the same amount of service. When is the last time you came up with a product that your company rolled out to the public and was successful with? When is the last time you offered the idea for a new service your company could provide to customers that would be mutually beneficial? It doesn’t matter if you’re at the bottom of the corporate ladder. If you yell loudly enough, the people at the top will hear you. The people at the top are paid to come up with these ideas, to innovate for their company, to figure out the big problems. So if you continue working on the little problems, you’ll continue to earn your salary.
If you become more of an asset, either to your company or to your customers, they will pay you more to keep you around. The number one rule for earning money is just that: you have to earn it. Like Earl Nightingale says, “Our rewards in life are in exact proportion to our contributions.” The more you serve, the more you earn.
So how does this relate to Ghandi’s quote? Well, the idea is that no one can hurt you unless you allow them to. And I’m saying nothing in your life can affect you unless you allow it to. You have control over everything in your life, from relationships to your career to your salary. If you want more out of some area of your life, put more into it.