Who holds your future?

March 14, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment.”  (Lori Schneider)  This is especially true when we see God at work in our lives. Ralph Abernathy once said, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

Some people use the term “karma” and others point to “destiny” when they discuss whatman praying controls their future. In both cases one could ask, “But, who/what controls that?” Eventually you always get back to God as the only answer to your future. If that is the case, and the thought in the opening quote is also true, then we should be asking God for His help in accepting what he has in store for use and making the best of it.

VR2The real point is that we can’t fight against the future and we aren’t in control of it, but we are in control (or we could be) of how we react to the events of the future. We need to be in the right frame of mind, a positive, upbeat frame of mind,  to face each day. Jack used another quote in today’s Winning Words that is really applicable here – “To begin, begin within.”  (William Wordsworth).

So the real answer to the opening question, “Who holds your future?”, is that you do. You don’t have control over what will happen, just how you will react to what happens. It is within you.  So, when you get hit with that lemon today; instead of letting it sour your whole day, stop and say to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming; but, how can I make lemonade out of this situation?” If you just give yourself that little pause and the chance to see some good come out or any circumstances, you’d be surprised how differently your day will go.

Sometimes it help to get in the right frame of mind to have something to refer to or to read at the beginning of the day. I am subscribed to Jack’s Winning Words, so I get Jack’s little insights five mornings a week (he doesn’t post on the weekends). I also get updatesMarlo Rutz head shot on posts to a great new Facebook chat group by local women’s empowerment coach and comedian Marlo Rutz. Marlo’s chat group is called Laughter, Light and Love. You can see it here. Marlo’s posts are to a public Facebook group that you have to join in order to see each day.

I also hope that a few people also find something in what I post to be helpful to get into the right frame of mind in the morning. In my last post, I wrote about taking control of the day, rather than letting the day control you. A major step to make that happen is to get in the right frame of mind. Taking the time each morning to get your head in a positive mode isn’t going to change what happens during the day, but it will make a big difference on the how the day goes for you.

Who holds your future? You do. Make it a bright one.

 

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Teetering on the seesaw of life or mastering the winds of change…

May 23, 2017

“The world is an eternal seesaw.”  (Montaigne) – as seen on a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Life is indeed full of ups and downs, of good and bad things, of friends and those we believe wish us no good, and of threats and rewards. No matter what state your life is in currently it is bound to change sometime soon. No matter how hard we try to grasp it we cannot hold on to the past and are forced to deal with the changes that are occurring in the present with little real insight into the future.

Intime for change order to avoid being run over by change, one must embrace change. One cannot stop the flow of change, but like a surfer riding a wave, one can get on top of change and enjoy the ride. One might even be able to effect the changes that are in motion so that they take you in a direction that you want to go, rather than just sweeping you along to some unknown destination

Perhaps the most important thing that one can do is to approach all things in life, including the changes that are happening all around us, with a positive attitude. It is all too easy, when the winds of change appear to be blowing against you, to let a negativedumb blob guy and defeatist attitude take over your life. Maintaining a positive attitude is key.  Brian Tracy pout it well when he said – “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

Good sailors know how to use the winds that are there, no matter which way they are blowing, to take them in the direction that they want to go. In order to sail in any direction other than with the wind, sailors need a centerboard (or keel equivalent) and a good rudder. In life we need that positive attitude as our centerboard and, I would sailboatsubmit, we need faith as our rudder to sail against the winds of change and the ups and downs that come with change. Sailors also study the stars and their maps to guide them, just as we can study the bible for guidance in our lives.

Change is inevitable, as are the ups and downs of life, but if we keep a positive attitude at our center and let our faith act as our rudder to guide us against the winds in life that seek to blow us off course, we will not only weather change but thrive in the midst of it. I love a quote that I found from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon – “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”

I particularly like the last four words of Jeff’s quote. For some people complaining isn’t so much their strategy as it is their response to change. Those people not only accept that bad things will happen in their lives, they come to expect them and many adopt a defeatist attitude that eventually morphs into “why even try; I know I’m going to lose”. Try to stay away from those people because like a drowning swimmer they will try to drag you down with them.

Your walking manresponse to change based upon a positive attitude as your centerboard and your faith as your rudder will allow you master change and not let it get the upper hand on you. You will control your direction and your destiny, no matter which way the winds of change are blowing. Perhaps Sherrie Eldridge put it best when she said – “The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude”

How will you react to the changes that you encounter today?


Don’t get on your own nerves…

April 30, 2015

“You know you’re really stressed when you start getting on your own nerves.”  From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sometimes I’ll do something stupid (more times than I care to admit) and then beat myself up about it. I suspect that we all do that from time to time; however, that’s really not a case of getting on my own nerves. I’m not sure that I’ve been stressed enough on get on my own nerves.man mad at himself

I think today’s little saying has to do with people who talk to themselves a lot, but may not enjoy the conversations. Maybe it involves long conversations about self-doubt or perhaps just fears. Maybe the dialogues involve trying to talk yourself into or out of something that you are considering doing. I can see how that can become annoying after a while; especially of you let it go into the mode of beating yourself up about it.

It seems to me that stress builds or a situation becomes stressful, when you have no idea what to do about the situation or what to do next. Not knowing what will come next or what to do next fill you with anxiety, which can easily morph into stress. Then you may make the situation worse by getting down on yourself for not knowing what to do – not having a plan. Some situations do not lend themselves to easy or straightforward solutions. Some things are not easy to map out, understand and see a way towards a solution; however, shifting gears into solution finding mode is one of the best ways out of that stress and helps keep you from getting on your own nerves.

So, my advice is to shift into problem-solving mode. I’ve written here about that before – see https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/03/05/problem-solving-101/

By switching gears from reaction mode into the action mode of problem solving you immediately regain a sense of control, if not control over the situation, at lease control over yourself and your reaction to the situation. You can then focus upon going through all of the steps to finding a solution.

girls huggingMany times you may be in situations where you can’t figure things out by yourself and the advice of others would be helpful. I wrote about that, too –  https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/02/15/why-is-it-so-hard-to-ask-for-help/

Sometimes you will hit stressful situations for which there is no solution. In those cases the best answer is not to continue the frustrating dialogue with yourself; but, rather to let go, admit that you will not resolve the situation by continued worry about it and seeking the peace that comes with turning to God for help. I wrote about that in –  https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/02/02/what-are-you-listening-to-time-to-change-the-tune/
So, don’t let things and stress go so long that you end up getting on your own nerves – take action, or ask a friend for helpsmiling man or find refuge in your faith  all of those dialogues will make for much more positive and helpful conversations that just getting on your own nerves.


Annoy someone today…

July 16, 2014

“A positive attitude will not solve all the problems in the world, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” – Unknown

I like that little quote because I’ve always found it to be true. I’ve hit a lot of negativity in my life – people who are mad or just disgruntled by some situation and who wish to take that out on someone. Sometimes I was that someone. The situations usually involved things that neither I nor they could really do anything about or change; but they were frustrated and needed to vent. Many times these are people who try to bully their way through life; always getting their way by being threatening, usually quite loudly.

positive attitudeI have found that it is initially annoying to them, but eventually disarming; if I did not rise to the bait of whatever comments they were directing towards me, but rather smiled and tried to react with some positive spin on things. It seems that people who try to bully their way through life need to see or sense some reaction of fear or acquiescence to their threats. It really bugs them when they don’t get that reaction. Usually they give up that tactic fairly quickly when they just keep banging into a wall of benign or positive responses to their attacks.

In other situations where there really isn’t an antagonist involved, perhaps just bad news or a cheering updisappointment in life, keeping a positive attitude in the face of events can impact those around you who see how you react or don’t react. That may initially annoy them too and lead to comments like how can you remain calm at a time like this or how can you not be sad that this happened. Well, I’m not immune to the immediate emotional reactions that we all have to disappointments or bad events; however, I can choose not to wallow in despair or sadness, but to find some good that might have come out of it or at least put it behind me and move on with life.

Allowing life’s tragedies and disappointments lead you down the path of despair stops you in your tracks and may lead to depression. Find a way to say, “OK, that didn’t work out and it doesn’t feel good, but life goes on” or maybe as we often hear from people who’ve lost everything in a natural disaster, “I’ve lost everything, but I’m still alive and that’s all that matters. I’ll rebuild my life.” What you are finding is a way to bring closure to the bad and focus upon the future – and there will always be a future.

Here’s another little quote that seem appropriate this morning. At least it puts a positive spin on things.

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”  (Seneca)

If you’ve ever met someone who has been through great difficulties you will understand that little quote. They come out much stronger people, not physically, but mentally. They usually also have a making rainbowpositive mental attitude, because they now know that they can get through things. They can be really annoying that way.

So go out today and see how many people you can annoy with your positive mental outlook on life. You’ll feel good and many of them will, too. You may be surprised how many other people have a better day from having interacted with you.


Three little words that may change your life… Yes, I can!

April 27, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

Today I did something that I never imagined I would do – I delivered the sermon at my church. Our pastor was on vacation this week and asked me several weeks ago if I would consider doing the sermon. He had been following my three little words blog series and thought that I might be up to taking on the bigger challenge of putting a whole lot more words together and doing the Sunday sermon. I thought about it for about a week before I replied – Yes I can.

Now let me disclose in all honesty that I have some experience in public speaking, but all of that was speaking about something that I knew a great deal about. I was in the IT industry for 30+ years with many roles in marketing that required that I make large and small audience presentations; so the act of speaking in front of an audience wasn’t the issue; it was the fact that this was to be a sermon, which I had only ever experienced from a comfortable seat in the pews. It was a scary proposition; but, also one that I found I was strongly drawn to accept. So, with a great deal of trepidation remaining, I replied to the pastor – Yes I can!

So, now it’s Sunday night and I can say that I did it, and It went well. Many people in the congregation congratulated me on doing a good job. I feel great about it now; but I’ve got to admit that I was concerned and unsure about it even at the moment that I started; but, I was committed to do it, because I had stepped up and said – Yes, I can!

Ironically for me, the sermon this morning was based upon the scripture in John, chapter 20, about Doubting Thomas, the one Disciple among the 11 remaining Disciples who doubted that Jesus had arisen from the grave and returned to be with them. So I had to preach about having doubts while having doubts about being able to preach (turn that over in your minds a few times).

I wrote out a script based upon some quick research into Thomas and then turned to the process of refining those words and deciding what to really say and what to drop. That’s not an easy process and I have a much greater appreciation for what preachers everywhere go through to arrive at what they end up delivering on Sunday. The key for me was to winnow down what I wanted to say once I had decided to say – Yes I can.

The challenge for all of us is to make that commitment, to take that first step to success by declaring to yourself and to others that you will do whatever it is that you are facing. Every challenge in life starts with the question, can you do this?  If others aren’t asking, you are asking it of yourself. Do I have the skills or capabilities? Am I ready to take this on? Am I willing to take this on?  Maybe it’s a new job or maybe it’s a new responsibility like marriage or parenthood. Maybe you’ve been asked to do something at work that is a stretch or maybe someone has asked you to do something that you’ve never tried to do before. If you feel strongly about your need to try to do it, the first person that you need to convince is yourself. You need to be able to look in the mirror and say – Yes, I can!

So, tomorrow is Monday and many of us have to go off to work. Do you trudge off with your head held down, afraid of what the day may bring or maybe you’re fairly sure of what it will bring and dreading it ahead of time? I’ve written several posts that were meant to help with that – Just do it was one and Deal with it was another. It is so much better to start the day with the attitude of being able to handle or do whatever the day throws at you, but remember also the advice in the post I need help that It is important to ask for help when you need it and not to fail or withdraw in self-inflicted defeat without really trying when all you need is the help that is available all around you. With or without help it is important that you eventually get to the place where you can say to yourself and others with confidence – Yes I can.

Have a great day because you can.


How do you look at things?

October 11, 2013

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”  (Wayne Dyer)-  from my daily read at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

What an easy saying to do a blog post about.  Taking a positive attitude about how you look at things will make things look positive. I suppose the opposite is true, too; which is why pessimists see so much to be unhappy about in life. This is the classic cup half-full or half-empty conundrum.

If one doesn’t look at a challenging situation and see negatives and problems; but, rather opportunities and solutions; then things don’t look so bad. I guess that also applies to looking at people. If one looks for faults or ugliness, you will probably find things that will drive you away. If you look beyond a few faults and find the good and beautiful that is somewhere within everyone, you may just find a friend.

looking afraidSo, how do you look at things when you start each day? Does the day look long, dreary and unappealing to you as you start out or does it appear to hold opportunities to meet fascinating people and achieve great success? The fact that you woke up with another opportunity to live a day, should serve as a positive start to the day, if you think about it. Days are like blank slates and what ends up written on that slate at the end of the day is up to you.

If you should encounter someone who is angry or maybe down, you can look at that happy to be aliveencounter as something to be avoided or as an opportunity to help. There is something behind the anger or depression that you are seeing and sometimes what the person is really trying to do is to find someone else to share that something with, so that they can start on the road to healing. You can be their emotional first-responder, a human aspirin (as the lady on the HAP commercial on TV says), so to speak. You may be amazed how much better that other person will feel (and look to you) after spending a few moments talking with them. You’ll also be amazed how much better you may feel for having taken the time to help.

So try to change the way you see things – see opportunities rather than roadblocks, see the beauty in people rather than just the faces that they initially present, see the wonder of the world around you and not the day-to-day ugliness; and, by doing so, you will change the things that you see.