Science sets an excellent standard for how we should view our world; logically. This especially applies to dealing with things which are normally considered extremely illogical; things like emotions. One basic thing I encourage everyone to do, when listening to someone else speak, is to ask themselves "does this make sense". If people were to do this more often, and to question or be more suspicious of everything that goes on, you can be damned sure life would become significantly easier for us all. Unfortunately, logic is not much of a presence in most people's lives (most "logical" things that are done, are done out of habit rather than reason or thought). People are emotional creatures; it's so much easier (and more stimulating) for them to feel, rather than to think. Of course, I suppose if this wasn't the case, then things would be that much more challenging for those of us that do wield the power of intelligence. Here are some other general, but relevant and potentially useful observations that I've collected as a result of my past experiences.
Many new age and self help books will preach the idea of taking control of your own reality. This is a great idea; one of the few that those kinds of texts have to offer (after all, what villain can resist gaining more power, right?). Still, the real question is, can this actually be done. Depending on what system of thought you subscribe to; the claims of personal empowerment can range anywhere from simply boosting your own mood and energy levels thus causing the rest of your life to improve as a result, sending out emotional energy to bend various aspects of reality to your will, to your very perception and thoughts being responsible for reality itself. Even many physicists seem to at least partially agree with the idea that we may be able to affect more of our world than previously thought. What the full extent of the mind's power actually is, from widely accepted placebo type effects, to more controversial psychic or magical ability; is a debatable topic that I refuse to get in to right now. But, based on what I know, I'd say that people do have more power (or potential for having more power) over their lives than they may be aware of. What determines how much power a person has, or even how to properly master it, has more to do with where the person is coming from, and who they are, rather than some kind of one size fits all technique or attitude that supposedly works for everyone. In spite of what many believe, all human organisms are not created equal.
Personally, even though I often think in terms of abstract concepts, I'm kind of a materialist. I find that surrounding myself with physical objects, printed words, environments and external entertainment (as opposed to just thoughts) helps me to achieve my goals and maintain a comfortable state of mind better than more "spiritual" methods do. Surrounding myself with things that correspond with what I wish to think, feel and accomplish, is my chosen strategy. Of course, these things have to send the right messages and encourage specific tendencies to work properly. I think it's safe to say that many of the things which tend to inspire me, may not be so encouraging (or even psychologically bearable) for others. My general approach to getting things to go my way, has more in common with ritualistic magic, than new age type visualization techniques. It should go without saying that the most important ingredient to gaining more power over your life, is to know yourself well enough to know what will work for you. Self control is also an essential element of this. After all, how can you really expect to change your life if you can't even gain control of yourself?
Many people who think about this sort of thing can't help but wonder just how far ones control can go. I'd say, as a general rule of thumb, you can create intentional and dramatic change in your life, but not so much in the world in general. From what I can tell this seems to be the most accurate (or at least most common) level to which a single person can change reality, while still maintaining some measure of control. Always remember that other people have influence over their own lives and, possibly, certain elements of reality as well. Are you able to change the world at all? Yes, some people can, but to be realistic; even great people, who are credited for changing the world, are completely unable to ensure that their changes are implemented properly. Do you really believe that Jesus intended to have his name and message used for even half of the stupid, deranged crap that it has been and probably will be used for? All influential figures throughout history have had their messages and ideas contorted, dissected, and restructured into unrecognizable Frankensteinian abominations, only to be sold as the original truth. Anyone wanting to "change the world" or "make things better" should remember that the only way to do it is to rely on other people, and history has shown that nothing warps or bastardizes any good idea quite as effectively as other people. I think that it's safer and probably more fulfilling, to just try to make your own, personal world better (besides, that's more than enough of a challenge for most folks).
Do I believe in luck? Well, Sort of. I don't believe in fate or destiny. I believe that people make their own luck, mostly (f.y.i. you'll never here any great or successful person say otherwise). There are, however, elements of reality which are beyond our control and the ways that these things affect us could be thought of as luck. Luck is something which you should never count on. Success is obtained by people who want it and then act accordingly; tearing through all adversity to grasp whatever they've decided to make theirs. Anyone who has seen a nature documentary should know why it's best to be hands on and proactive when it comes to your own fate. And yet in a way, some "good luck" is needed. If everything that could possibly go horribly, savagely wrong for you did; then success would probably be a little out of the question. In fact, under such grim circumstances, just continuing to exist could become very problematic. Fortunately, the chances of that happening for any long period of time are statistically impossible (exceptionally bad luck always ends quickly, one way or another).
As a villain, I have come to the conclusion that when dealing with the world, it is smartest to expect the worst of others and best of yourself. The old cliché "think positive" only applies to how you should think of yourself and your own capabilities; not others. Some may think that my attitudes about most people, that I present in these rants, maybe a little harsh. There is, however, nothing that I could say that would be completely "unfair" to some of the population. Every time I think that I've seen how incompetent or worthless humans can be, someone manages to prove that I've still given them way too much credit.