Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘hope for tomorrow’

No Worry, No Problem, No Drama

In the last two blogs we have dealt with how small changes can improve our lives. Specifically, in the first blog I discussed the difference in two types of motivation – restrictive (I have to …) or constructive (I choose to…) Basically, it is the difference in the mindset or approach we take when approaching a task. Either way the job has to get done but with restrictive motivation we feel put upon or upset as compared to constructive motivation which causes us to find something positive either about the task or at least the feeling of accomplishment we will receive when it is finished. Listen to yourself and others over the next few days and you may be surprised at how often restrictive motivation is used. No wonder so many people feel perpetually exhausted! Just visualize the difference in a smile or a frown. It literally takes more muscles (thus energy) to frown. When we use restrictive motivation we are, in essence, constantly frowning on the inside. Conversely, when we are practice constructive motivation we are smiling our way through it.

The next blog on the theme of small changes we can make for a happier tomorrow was on the topic of hope. Show me a person who exhibits hope and I will show you a person who is successful at life regardless of his station. When we practice hope long enough it becomes an habitual way of thinking. We train ourselves, in essence, to expect good things to happen in our lives and refuse to be sidetracked by a challenge along the way. We become more optimistic and inspired by even the little things in life because we are surrounding ourselves with positive energy. Hope truly does spring eternal and is a learned behavior.

The next small change we can initiate is training ourselves to deal with things we can change and not allow ourself to wallow in blame, fear or self pity for the things we cannot change. One sentence or thought repeated enough can make a huge difference. For instance, by thinking to ourselves ‘I simply won’t go there’ it helps us to redirect our attention to the things we can change rather than wasting our precious moments on this earth dealing with negative thinking. This one simple but powerful statement speaks volumes about what you value and what you choose to fill your mind with in life. Remember the statement – garbage in – garbage out? Negatives in the form of worry or drama are not elements of problem solving but are merely methods of either attention getting or unresolved fears. Neither approach fixes anything and, in fact, simply makes the issue bigger than necessary in our own minds. I have never seen anyone solve a problem by constantly worrying about it or repeatedly and dramatically talking about over and over. In fact, these ‘catastrophic thinkers’ can sap the life energy right out of us.

Each of us will have our own fair amount of problems to deal with in life. The longer you live the more you can see that life seems to be an equal opportunity employer. It is simply part of the human condition. Developing a Plan (sometimes even a Plan A, B and C) and working through the steps we need to follow (with mid course corrections along the way) is a constructive way to address an issue and keep it in perspective. Naturally we begin to feel more in control with any issue we are dealing with when we stop perseverating on it or on the ‘what ifs…’ and develop steps to address it.

These above ideas may simply seem like little more than common sense to many of us. However, there is a difference in knowing something and actually doing it – a big difference!

Listen to yourself over the next few days and see if you can put one or two of these ideas in motion. Just remember when dealing with any change in our lives, step by step is a cinch.

Have a great few days!

Developing Wisdom and Serenity

This is the fourth and final blog ( the first three can be found in the March archives on my website) on the Serenity Prayer. A prayer that millions of people repeat daily to help them hang on, push forward and recognize either their own present behaviors that are limiting them in their lives or impeding their desire for change. The prayer itself, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” can be life changing when you take it apart and study the intent behind the words.

To date, we have looked at what it takes (and what limits us) to change the things we can change as well as what’s required to accept the things we cannot change. Both areas involve our inner discovery of the way we choose to look at our own fear factors, early conditioning and life experiences. The gold nugget obtained by truly thinking about what causes us to react the way we do is an important element that can allow us to move forward toward greater understanding and control in our lives.

Now, let’s look at the last part of the poem, “the wisdom to know the difference.” Many people believe that wisdom is only acquired by living decades on the planet. I disagree. In reality it is not simply the experiences but our ‘thinking about our thinking’ behind them that can cause us to become wise beyond our years.

For example, when something happens that was out of our control we live through it but do we then use the mental energy to dissect the experience and search for the lessons learned? Many people are just relieved that they have made it through the experience and try to put it behind them. However, the residual feelings of ‘what next’ or the shock and fear from the experience just lays in wait in the emotional baggage in our minds. Negative emotions buried result in a greater fear of tomorrow as we try to wrap ourselves in a protective cocoon of control.

Similarly, when we face something that needs to be changed and we know we should do something about it – but don’t – it erodes our self confidence and enthusiasm for life. Over time, this pattern results in thinking that life is simply what it is and any attempt to change a particular course is fruitless or at least not our responsibility. That type of thinking erodes our hope for a better tomorrow. It takes both courage to change things that need to be changed and grace to accept those
things that cannot be changed to fully live.

The last part of the prayer, “having the wisdom to know the difference,” is not as elusive a concept as we may think. We all experience intuition, that inner voice or gut feeling, that little nudge that let’s us know that a certain path or decision is the way to go for now. Sometimes when we are unsure we say to others, “Let me sleep on it.” It gives our minds time to process what our intuitive sense is trying to tell us. Waking to the light of a new day the answer seems as clear as a bell. This is your internal ‘wisdom worker’ activated during sleep when the daily distractions prevents it from being fully heard.

Greater wisdom and serenity can result from every life experiences we have IF we do our own mental work to discover what the purpose and reason of them were designed to teach us. The answer is usually found by asking ourselves, ‘What is the most difficult thing to accept about the experience?’ Our lives are not random pieces of material thrown together but a beautiful tapestry of life experiences, each piece sewn together with the thread of lessons learned that create who we are at our core. To create our own unique tapestry we need to keep our eyes focused, our ears attuned and our heart open to accept what is clearly presented to us with gratitude.

Wisdom and serenity then is an accumulation of both our experiences and thoughtful reflection of them. When we get into the daily habit of doing so it results in less fear and more confidence as we face tomorrow. We realize the truth in the statement, “All is meant to be,” and we receive the ultimate compliment when someone says, “How did you get to be so wise?”

Have a great few days!