Life is akin to one of those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories, don’t you think? For example, your decision to turn this corner alters the outcome in the chapter. If you hadn’t made that turn, who knows what might have happened instead? Would it have been a better story, or not?
I’ve long been one to study self-help books and learn more about myself and the people I associate with. I spent all my adult years with loved ones, friends and coworkers/employers who were afflicted with generalized anxiety disorder, an unhealthy ego and a need to control and manipulate each and every situation, or a victim mentality. We grow to be what we know.
It’s no secret that we have the power to change ourselves and our life circumstances, if we so choose. I sought to do that, as well as to understand those around me better. There are three behaviors that I adopted many years ago (many thanks to Dr. Phil McGraw).
I live by them and know that they have shaped all my decisions and helped me carve out the life I’m happy living. That’s not to say that I have been perfectly diligent in carrying them out every single day of my life. I don’t claim to be perfect at anything, but if my mistakes and learning curve can save you, or someone you love, a little angst then all my head-slapping moments were worthwhile.
1. You create your own experience ~ We create the results of our lives, whether they be happy or sad, successful or failed, good or bad, we made them that way. In a college class, my professor put it a different way, “If there is a problem here, I am the cause of it.” In other words, you are accountable for your life.
If you are overweight, unhappy, hate your job, always short of money, or distrusting of people, you’re accountable. Whatever your life circumstance is, it’s your responsibility and you’re accountable. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, trust me, it does. It applies to every one of us. You must acknowledge it, if you want to change your circumstance. The alternative is behaving like a victim. As long as you behave like a victim, your circumstance will remain the same. This is how the world works.
Be prepared to ask yourself the tough questions that will get at the crux of the problem. What is it you have to do or change to turn things around? The solution lies within you. Don’t be a victim. Take control and make the changes necessary.
2. We do what works ~ Do you know someone who has health problems but continues to do the thing that will make it worse? Do you see people in relationships push each others hot buttons even though they know the consequences? Knowing what we should do and doing it are two different things. The fact is that the undesirable behavior generates some level of satisfaction or value to us, or we would not do it.
We need to understand what the pay-off is for the undesirable behavior in order to eliminate it. Stopping for fast food is easier and faster than cooking at home. Pouting makes her husband feel badly for arguing with her. Reading emails is more comfortable than staring at that blank page that is your WIP. Find and control the pay-offs and you control the behavior.
3. We teach people how to treat us~ Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one
can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When we allow a person in our life to treat us in an undesirable way, they learn that behavior is okay and continue forward in the same manner. Rather than complain about how others treat us, we need to look at what we are doing to get these results. We must commit to change in the dynamics of the relationship in order to fix it. The other person will fight the change since he/she won’t be getting the same satisfaction from their behavior. Stay the course and don’t sell yourself short. You get what you give.
Choose your own life adventure…which road will you take or help someone else take? Interested in this philosophy? For more, read Dr.Phil’s book, Life Strategies. Public opinion about Dr. Phil is mixed, but I think he’s spot-on target in this book.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about creating your happiest life.
You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!
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ATTENTION!! Be here next Friday for big doings at our Life List Club Milestone Party!! You’ll get to find out if we writers practice what we preach…or not! Vote on my blog for how well you think I did over the last 3 months.