Your choice…

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Joyce Meyer

The life that we have and lead is based on how we choose to see and interpret the world. I know people who are exceptionally blessed, yet they are always waiting for the other shoe to fall. They are always finding the bad things and focusing on those instead of the positive. I am sure that you know people who are like this as well. They can’t seem to find the good in anything or anyone. That is a choice that they make and that is the life that they choose to live.

Let’s be real. Life isn’t always fair. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes really bad things do happen. But how we choose to act, and react, to anything that happens is what defines the type of life that we have.

I love this quote from Eeyore.

It truly does never hurt to keep looking for the sunshine. Because it will come, if we choose to seek it out. As I reflect on today’s quote these other thoughts come to mind that reinforce the power of Joyce’s words. Chew on these and see what comes to mind for you.

You cannot have a negative life and a positive mind.

You cannot have a positive life and negative friends.

You cannot live the life you were created to live with a negative mind.

Every day when we wake up we have a choice about what kind of day it is going to be. Every interaction we have with others is one where we can either see them through the lens of what we are getting from them, or we can choose to see it through the lens of what we are doing for them.

If we want to have a positive life, we have to have a positive mind. It simply won’t work any other way. It’s a choice. Make it wisely.

Go catch fish…

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”

Ovid

I don’t believe in chance or in “cosmic coincidence.” Things happen for a reason and for a purpose, even if we don’t understand them in a given time.

I love this quote because it speaks to the power of positivity and positive thinking and always being ready for that fish to bite. To be ready you have to be preparing and looking for the best in life and have a perspective of gratitude for all the gifts and blessings that have led you to be in exactly the right place and moment to catch the fish.

Seasons…

“If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.”

General Eric Shinseki

This has long been one of my favorite quotes. Change is a natural state of the world. Today change happens at an ever faster rate and we have to be able to adapt to new ways of thinking and doing things. If you aren’t willing to change, then you are choosing to be in the passenger seat of this bus we call life.

For those that aren’t comfortable with change, and at times that happens to all of us, I find this verse from Ecclesiastes to be both comforting and inspiring.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

If you want to be relevant first take the time to think of how you need to change…

Success vs. Significance

“What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall

What is the legacy you want to leave from your life here on this earth? I find that this is such a broad question that it can be hard to wrap my head around what it truly means. Perhaps it helps to rephrase today’s quote in a more specific and time sensitive fashion.

For whom do you want to make a difference today and what kind of difference do you want to make?

Everyday we have an opportunity, no, we have an obligation to answer the question about what kind of difference we want to make with our lives. We weren’t born to simply live, accumulate things, and worry about how and to whom the fruits of our labors will be redistributed to when we pass away. We were born to make a difference in the lives of others.

That can mean one person, or it can mean thousands of people through the course of your life. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have to decide to make a difference; today. If you answer this question today, and every day, then you can never stray far from living a life of meaning and impact.

When you switch your focus from creating a life based on earthly success measures, and instead focus on creating a life of significance that is what will build a life of meaning. Your legacy becomes not the goal but is instead the result of thousands of daily decisions made for others, not for yourself.

Create your legacy through the journey…

“It’s the journey that matters, soak it in.  Learn lessons out of it.  Impact positively so that if you never get to your destination, at least you’d leave a legacy to be remembered.”

Emem Uko

I need to get this quote tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. Actually, I simply need to meditate and reflect on this sentiment regularly so that I can ensure that I am focused on what is truly important and make the necessary adjustments when I lose perspective. I’d much rather be remembered for how I behaved along the journey than whether or not I reached my destination.

Where are you on your journey? Are you focused on the destination or the trip itself?

Don’t be the boat anchor…

“We have enough people who tell it like it is—now we could use a few who tell it like it can be.”

Robert Orben

We all know people that are eternal optimists. They find the good in every situation, every circumstance, every opportunity. The challenge with these folks sometimes is that they can’t see always see when they need to make a change to adjust to a changing situation.

The perpetual pessimist is on the opposite end of the continuum. This is the person that is cynical and negative 100% of the time. These types are the boat anchors of progress and will standing in the way of change and progress through their constant negativity.

What is the right type? I would argue that the ideal is a person that lives on the optimistic side of the spectrum but isn’t so far out on the continuum that they can’t and won’t listen to reality. These are the folks that see the future for what it can be and have the ability to look past the current state without being blind to the challenges ahead.

No matter what, don’t be the person known as the boat anchor!

Can do…

“A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do.”

Chuck Norris

What is your natural bias? Do you often find yourself on the negative side of the continuum or on the positive side? Depending on the situation it is completely normal to find yourself on both sides at times but what is your natural tendency?

I almost always default to a perspective that is action oriented and focused on change. I want to understand what I can do to impact a situation. In the absence of action and change, my default mode is to look for something I can do. This isn’t always positive, sometimes I can spend a lot of energy on things that I should be ignoring, but with time I am getting better at choosing when to “do” and when to ignore. How about you?

The antidote…

“Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.”

Harvey Mackay

I am always amazed at how many people choose to be miserable. They choose to see the negative and be cynical about the world instead of embracing the beautiful and the positive. It is a choice that we all have and that we all make on a daily basis.

I certainly am not perfect and can have those moments of negativity as well. However, when that happens I have found that perfect antidote is to pause and simply reflect on what I am grateful for right at that very moment. Without fail I have found that gratitude is a very powerful counter to negative thinking.

The impact this has on you will absolutely have an effect on those around you. We like to be around positive people. Negative people are the ones who just suck the energy from you.

On those bad days or in those bad moments we should pause and answer this question. “What I am most grateful for in my life right now?”


Attitude is leadership..

“People with a positive attitude are influenced by what goes on within them. People with a negative attitude are influenced by what goes on around them.” 

Keith Harrell

This quote is truly spot on.  It is the internal vs. external perspective that matters so much in life.  Do you happen to the world or does the world happen to you?  

But what happens to those around you when you exhibit a positive attitude?  If they are externally driven, they will be influenced BY YOU.  Therefore your choice to be positive and embrace an internally driven positive attitude isn’t about YOU.  It is about others who are environmentally driven and will embrace the behavioral characteristics that you display.  

So, when you CHOOSE to be embrace a positive attitude based on what’s motivates you internally don’t do it for yourself.  Do it to serve others and impact their lives.  That is leadership.

 

How do you choose to invest your energy?

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”

Lee Iacocca

Victor Frankl wrote that “between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” The easy thing to do is to get angry, be emotional, put blame on circumstances beyond your control.  The hard thing, but much more important, is to look inwards and say “what can I do to change the outcome, to overcome?”

Choosing to invest the energy into something positive means getting past your own flawed beliefs and frustrations and seeking ways to do something, instead of just having something done to you.  It is a complete game changer in regards to how you see and respond to the world around you.  

Dwelling on what we can’t control requires an energy investment as well but it is an investment with negative returns.  Is this how you’d choose to spend your precious energy and time?

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