I recently came across a terrific blog post claiming “The 15 Things To Give Up To Be Happy.” Although I agreed with most of them, some of them I didn’t. I don’t believe that those same 15 things will work for everyone. Nor do I believe that the 10 that I will share with you will work for everyone either.
I get asked on a daily basis how I am so happy despite my circumstances. How did I remain positive through all the changes that were taking place that surrounded my accident? Let me answer you this, I am happy in spite of my circumstances. Because of the things that I have learned on this journey, mostly the last 11 years of my life, that I would have never experienced otherwise. These experiences have shaped my life and made me who I have become today. There were times right after my accident that I am not proud of and I wish to not even recollect, but throughout that time and more recent times, these are the things that I have found truly work for me.
I have found out that belief in yourself is absolutely necessary if you want others to believe in you. If you don’t believe that you can do something, how can you expect others to? Where would David be if he hadn’t believed he could have defeated Goliath?
We all know the story – it’s one of my favorites and I feel it’s a good lesson for us all. It’s also a great example of belief in one’s self. He had faith in God as well, but so did the Israelite army. What gave David the courage to stand up and fight Goliath when others could not?
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my significant other…..” or “My friend invited me to the movie so I didn’t have to spend the evening alone.” And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice.
People aren’t hardwired to be grateful. And, like any skill worth having, gratitude requires practice.
Each day of my rehabilitation, I gained confidence and ability. Having lost all strength in my stomach muscles, I found it nearly impossible to maintain my balance
if I leaned to one side or the other. Sitting on a mat with my legs straight in front of me, I would attempt to raise my hands, first one inch, then two.
Raising one arm ever so slightly was enough to topple me sideways. I hadn’t the strength to sit back up again on my own. I soon realized that my center was my trunk,
my chest. If I maintained balance there, I could incrementally work at raising my arms. Soon, understanding this concept, I could raise both arms shoulder level.
We are sent here to this planet to make a difference – I always felt it. Now I know it. We are given essential tools and talents and it is our job to make something of what we have. And what do we have?
Eyes to see; ears to hear; a brain to think; arms and hands to work; legs to get us where we are meant to go. I was born and raised in an able-bodied world – and there I would excel. Or so I thought.
In my world, a man’s worth was measured by what he could do – especially physically. A real man got up early, worked hard all day, and went to bed tired but happy, because of all he accomplished. A real man was the provider and protector. A real man was ‘the man.’
On that day when my life changed, I had a choice. I could resist what was happening, or I could receive change into my life and move forward with it. Those two words, “resist” or “receive” make the difference in our life experience. Life happens. While we wish it wasn’t so, tragedy happens. Change is the way of things. At each fork in the road, at each obstacle, or at each two-thousand pound bale of hay that crashes down on top of us, we must choose our response.
Let’s examine those two words. “Resist” means to fend off, or to keep from giving in. “Receive” means to hear or to see. It also means to have “met with”. When tragedy and change come our way, do we resist them and fight them, or do we hear their message, see their requirement and
meet them squarely? I am not the only quadriplegic. I am not the only person with physical limitations or health concerns. I am certainly not the
only husband seeking to provide a living for his family. And yet, I know many who face tragedies, big and small, who choose to resist required change.
People talk about “leading by example”. By incorporating the following attitudes and practices, you will not only improve your own life, but also begin to fashion yourself into the kind of person that others will follow and emulate, which is the very definition of leading by example.
Life is a creative art. Expectations are often self-fulfilling. If we expect life to be good; if we believe it is filled with opportunities and cause for celebration, then we will notice those things and live so as to promote them, even without conscious intent.
Positive Thinking- Positive Results
People who embrace positive thinking are capable of accomplishing tasks that seem impossible because they believe in solutions. When you believe you can do something difficult – and you succeed – many doors open for you.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of The Star Wars movies. I have them all and my family and I have watched them many times. When George Lucas succeeded in making these films, there were those who said the special effects he wanted to create hadn’t ever been done before and couldn’t be done. He decided to create a company and produce those ‘impossible’ special effects.
Promises are easily made. Keeping them often proves more difficult because when we are pressured to strive always for perfection, we find it simpler to agree to undertake impossible tasks than to say no.
Whenever you give your word to someone, you have to follow through on it. You have to keep your word, because that’s the right thing to do. Because that’s the respectable thing to do. Otherwise, don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep, and don’t commit yourself to things that you aren’t willing to follow through on, regardless of what might possibly happen in the future.
Have you ever felt alone? No where to turn for an answer? No hope? No future? Trapped, unable to move forward in your life?
I found this photo this morning as I was making final preparations in my hotel room to speak to an organization this afternoon in Arizona. I remember those feelings. In fact, I can still smell the despair in my hospital room, though it’s been over 13 years.
The halo and neck brace made it impossible for me to even look at my own son. A simple glance around the room was unrealistic at best. My hand around him was comforting, although I could not feel it. Please understand, I am so grateful today that this young 3 year old never left my side, even at his mother’s request to go home in the evening hours. His determination to just be there, even if I could not physically feel it, was his only quest. “I’m staying here, mom. I’m staying to help dad.” I mean really, how much help could he render? He couldn’t help me shower. Not strong enough to help me transfer. Truthfully, his youthful body limited him in his capacity to physically assist in any of my personal care.
Each day presents us with new experiences and challenges. I find one of the greatest challenges I face each day is finding enough time to do the things I want to do – and need to do – whether it be at home or at work.
I am sure most of you agree that some of the most pressing problems facing our families today are bad movies, books and language. Years ago, these would have shocked us. Today, they barely get a second glance.
Whether I am speaking with my family or at work, there are certain subjects I am uncomfortable with. Because the world seems to be changing so quickly, I find I need to talk to my children about those touchy subjects – we all know what they are.
To regret the experience is to regret the lesson – because the lesson is inextricably contained in the experience. Too often when changes occur and our circumstances are not as we planned, we tend to focus on what we lost, what we’ve missed, what’s gone wrong, who is to blame, and “why me.” We are not accepting the reality of our changed circumstance or the opportunity those changed circumstances present. We ignore the gift of change and delay our progress.
A certain amount of “Dang, I just shouldn’t have done that,” is natural; and accepting the fact that you did it – or failed to do it – is healthy. But spending too much time in regret denies us the opportunity of getting the most out of our experience – devastating though the experience may seem. By accepting the reality of my experience and the opportunity to gain what I can from both the experience and the result, I gain the blessing of focusing on new opportunity and getting on with my life.