Clint Eastwood’s Top 3 Tips for Taking Charge of Your Life

“In school, I could hear the leaves rustle and go on a journey.”

“Hollywood, as everyone knows, glamorizes physical courage. . . . if I had to define courage myself, I wouldn’t say it’s about shooting people. I’d say it’s the quality that stimulates people, that enables them to move ahead and look beyond themselves.”

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few decades you probably know who Clint Eastwood is.

At least a part of the real Clint Eastwood seems to be much like the people he has played throughout his career. Determined and decisive. Tough (just watch Gran Torino for one badass 78 year old man). Centered and not overcomplicating things.

Here are three of my favorite tips from Clint Eastwood for taking charge of your life.

1. Don’t use self-fulfilling prophecies to bring yourself down.

“I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”

What you think will happen often does. If you focus on and think that things will go badly you interpret things negatively and take actions – or no action at all – based on that. You can’t really see reality, you just have a perspective of it in your mind. Now, whatever you perspective you use your mind will find proof that your current “reality” is “the right one”.

So you have to be smart about things.

Like Clint says, you have to let go of pessimism and choose a perspective that empowers you instead of making you feel like a victim and like things will always turn out in a negative way.

This can be hard because you are so used to your current perspective and feel like you are right about it since you have so much proof that it was right from past events. Also, it’s not that pleasant to admit to yourself that the negative perspective that you may have held for years or decades was a mistake that messed up your life instead of making it better.

When you take charge and choose for instance a more positive perspective things around you change. Many of them may be the same things that were always there. You just see them – and yourself – in a new light now. And you can start using self-fulfilling prophecies to empower instead of disempower yourself.

2. Let go of the illusion of safety.

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”

Why do people sit on their hands and get comfortable in their ease and quiet? Well, one big reason is because they think they are safe there. But the truth is safety is mostly a superstition. It is created in your mind to make you feel safe. But there is no safety out there really. Most things don’t come with any guarantees. Everything changes, for better or worse.

You may get layed off.
Someone may break up with you and leave.
Illness will probably strike.
Death will certainly strike in your surroundings and at some point come to visit you too.

This belief in safety is not just something negative. It’s also created by your mind so you can function in life. No point in going all paranoid about what could happen a minute from now day in and day out. But there is also not that much point in clinging to an illusion of safety. So you need to find balance where you don’t obsessed by the uncertainty but also recognize that it is there and live accordingly.

As you stop clinging to your safety life also becomes a whole lot more exciting and interesting. You are no longer as confined by an illusion and realize that you set your limits for what you can do and to a large extent create your own freedom in the world. You are no longer building walls to keep yourself safe as those walls wouldn’t protect you anyway.

3. Take responsibility for your own life.

“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.”

You can look for the next big thing that will fix you. Read more blog articles. Read more personal development books. Look for people to help. And yes, some articles or books or people will give you insights that resonate deeply with you.

But in the end, if you are an adult then no one is coming. No one is coming to save you. You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it. Other things and people can certainly aid you quite a bit. But you are responsible.

You can go around blaming society or some people for your problems in your life. You can always find scapegoats to judge to feel better about yourself. For a while. You can look for people that will “fix you”. You can do this for the rest of your life if you like. It won’t change much. Whatever has to be done, it’s you who have to take responsibility and do it.

Yeah, things might always not go your way and you will probably have bad luck from time to time. But you still have to focus on yourself and doing what you can do in whatever situation may arise in the outside world.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Saidely

    Thanks dude , good article and good actor :)
    although i haven’t seen Gran Torino yet.

    What really draw my focus is your talking of :Let go of the illusion of safety , think its very important issues that open others doors related to self conscious , honesty & responsibility

    Anyway keep up the good work Henrik,
    Best Regards,

    Saidely M.

  • Thanks for this great article. Taking responsibility for yourself also means that you have to think about your goals for life. If you don’t know what you want it is pretty difficult to act in a responsible way.

    For those who have difficulties in defining their goals for life I created a list of possible items on my blog. It does not replace your thinking but it might be easier to get started rather than looking on a white sheet of paper.

  • Hi Henrik,

    I absolutely agree with tip #3. People whine, complain and make excuses too often and too much. They don’t realise that nobody owes them anything and that they need to create the life they want.

    “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver



  • Excellent tips, and all so true. It made me think. And I wonder how you can let go of the illusion of safety and yet have that belief in safety that your mind creates. Because we all need a sense of safety. Maslow comes to mind here.

    Henrik, how did you come to terms with this? How do you create the balance? Great blog post. Food for thought. Thanks.

  • Henrik,

    Wonderful article. Powerful but simple. I love the quotes you choose, they are so true. So often we go into things thinking were going to fail, and what do you know we do. Simply changing out perspective does a great deal for chance of success.

    Taking responsibility for EVERYTHING in our life can be VERY DIFFICULT, but once we truly can create the life of our dreams.

    Again great read. :)


  • Hi Henrik,

    People who do not take responsibility in their life keep complaining about life and blame others for their misfortune. The fact is if we think about whatever things that happen to us, it is all partly or fully our fault and no one can change them except ourselves. The only way we can embark on our personal development journey is to accept responsibility for our life.

    Personal Development Blogger

  • thanks for this post. it’s really awesome!

    mr. eastwood is a true genius in all areas of life. starring and directing in the same movie takes a special type of person. i look forward to seeing more of his work for years to come.



  • I just watched Clint’s new movie Gran Torino last nigtht, it was great. I love his work. Nice creative post!

    “I tried being reasonable, I didn’t like it.”
    Clint Eastwood quote

  • DeNa

    Thank You soo much Clint for sharing. You are an inspiration and an American Treasure. Human Treasure. Your message in Grand Torino brought me to tears. Well Done. Absolutely fearless. So Refreshing.
    God Bless you and yours, God Bless the USA

  • Loved the article ; especially the line about the illusion of safety. In my life most people I talk with always talk about safety and I am slowly convincing them that if you chase freedom (financial freedom, finding something you love to do ) than safety is an afterthought.