There are certain times of the year when we usually think about making some changes in our lives. Whether it is New Year’s, a birthday, or something worse, like bad news from our doctor or a run-in with a dangerous criminal. Both good and bad events can “inspire” us to reevaluate what we’re doing in life as well as what we’re NOT doing.
I think we have a very different emotional response to the things we change depending on what got us there. Hopefully we can find the positive in whatever causes us to redirect our life’s direction. But sometimes that can take a while.
When life “forces” us to change, even if it’s for the better, we can be angry about it; fighting the change tooth and nail (even if we KNOW it’s for the better). In this case, we will still change, it just might not be a pleasant transition.
What about the other instance? What is our emotional and psychological response when we clearly see that a change needs to happen, but instead of being “forced” into it, we consciously CHOOSE to make the change? This may be as simple as adjusting your point of view. Are you: 1) making a change to avoid trouble & pain OR 2) making a change to become better, stronger, wealthier, or safer? Now you may experience feelings of exhilaration, excitement, or even happiness.
I remember when I decided to reinforce the doors to my home. I initially looked at it as an irritation that the original builder and the guy who replaced my garage entrance door did an incredibly poor job. To tell the truth, that garage entrance door was so poorly installed, I doubt there’s anyone reading this who couldn’t have forced it open!
But then I changed my focus. I wasn’t cleaning up someone else’s shoddy work. I was making my home safer. I was going to feel so much better about my wife’s safety while I was away from home! My entire attitude changed and I ended up having a great time doing the work because I was thinking about being a good husband. I was keeping my family safe, and that’s something that would make anyone feel better!
Maybe your job is not what you hoped – bad boss, awful schedule, low wages. You could continue to put up with it until something changes or forces change upon you, OR you could make the choice to adventure out to another company, another career, or even start your own company.
Maybe you got bad news from your doctor. Maybe it was terrible news. You can wallow in the fear and regret of what you didn’t do with your life, OR you could use that eye-opening news to remind you of how precious and temporary life is for each of us. You could choose to do all those fun wonderful things you were putting off until “someday.” Things like start a garden, play with your kids more, work on a puzzle with your mom, take that painting class, and so on. The things that weren’t important enough to spend time on, until you were allowed to see how little time each of us really has.
Maybe your neighbor, co-worker, or even a family member was assaulted, or worse. You might become very fearful, realizing that those terrible things that are only supposed to happen to strangers on the news can become a very personal problem without any warning at all. Thinking like that, living with those constant fears can change your life for the worse. But your other CHOICE is this: instead of focusing on the fear and terror of what MIGHT happen, you can learn how to be ready, how to protect yourself, your home, & your family. You can CHOOSE to become stronger, smarter, and more prepared. Those choices help you to live a more courageous life and to be an inspiration to others who didn’t realize they could choose to grow rather than shrinking into a life of fear.
Choosing proactively, intentionally, and with determination to change your life for the better is powerful. Not just for you, but for those who look up to you, who depend on you, and who emulate you (whether you’re aware of it or not!). You can stop smoking, eat a little healthier, take an online course (there’s MANY completely FREE courses you can enroll into), read a book about achieving your goals, listen to motivational speakers on Youtube, play with your kids more than you usually do, check out some groups who enjoy the same hobbies as you, meet a new friend or two, follow your passion rather than running from your fears. You don’t have to make huge changes. The path to safety, happiness, and prosperity can be walked with even the smallest timid steps, but YOU must choose to make each of those steps.
Whatever you are experiencing in life, the good or the painful, I hope you will decide to use the strength you have within you to make a new choice. You do have that strength, and you do have enough. Don’t ever let anyone, friend or not, make you believe you don’t have the strength to direct your life into whatever you REALLY want. You are strong enough! You just have to choose.
Wishing you all the joy of following your dreams,