“If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.” ~ Mary Engelbreit
About 10 years ago, I started on a journey any college dropout would embark on to quell the little voices in my head that said, “If you want to be happy, earn good money, and validate your choice of quitting college, you better get moving.”
This epiphany fueled my mission. What was my mission of choice?
Get rich quick schemes. The guy on the TV said it would work so it must be legitimate, right? Needless to say, I dangerously careened out of control in the years to follow with each scheme I bought into.
At rock bottom and nearly bankrupt, I did some serious soul searching sprinkled with a little counseling. I learned I was correlating my level of life satisfaction with the size of my bank account.
At that time, I was not happy with my meager vocation or the person I had become. The wealthy, extraordinary life I longed for was vanishing further out of reach with each passing year.
I didn’t realize it, but I was searching for something I already had. Cloaked before me, right within my immediate reach was a beautiful life worth living. All I had to do was open my eyes and change my perspective.
Change Your Perspective
Maybe you feel like the fire is gone and there’s just nothing exciting in your life. Maybe you're just plain disheartened with who you have become and the life you are living.
No matter how discontent you might feel, know it's only temporary. You can choose to change that feeling if you lift your veil of dismay and aim to create clarity about your life and what matters.
Focus on these 12 gifts and the world will seem like a much brighter place:
1. Your buddy network.
Friends are there to comfort and guide you every step of the way. They also deal with trials every now and then, like you. It is adventurously therapeutic for you to walk together, communicate authentically, and support each other through times of difficulty.
2. Your beautiful world.
Stop and take time to appreciate the trees, the birds, and the wind blowing in your face. Look around you. It's a magnificent world that's available to you 24 hours a day—for free. The simplest things that can make you happy are around you, right now.
3. Your ability to work.
Even if you're currently out of work, there are opportunities, and you will seize one eventually. It’s always empowering to realize you have options to earn and take care of yourself.
4. Your opportunity to travel.
It's a big world out there and you have the chance to explore new sights and different experiences. The cultures of other countries will leave you mesmerized with how congruent or vastly different we all are, even though we live under the same blue sky. And if you can’t travel far, you can still venture to unfamiliar places and experience something new.
5. Your opportunity for altruism.
Release worries about your own plight and focus on others in need. Join causes and relief programs, talk to a suffering friend, or assist people in hospitals. When you take the focus off of your life through meaningful advocacy and volunteering, you will make a difference and appreciate how fulfilled you really are.
6. Your family.
You most likely have a partner, a child, or a relative who heavily depends on you. These people enjoy life in part because you are alive. This is an important role, treat it with care.
7. Your role in the environment.
Your time here on earth will determine how the future generations will live theirs. Quite empowering, huh? People today have a responsibility to keep the environment safe for others to enjoy down the road. Life is meant to be shared, including the generations that follow.
8. Your uniqueness.
Grab a pen and paper and write down all your skills and talents, no matter how small. You may be surprised at how many you have that you do not utilize. Start sharing these gifts to bring joy to others around you, and give them the chance to appreciate your uniqueness.
9. Your blessings.
Pessimists have the habit of complaining about things they don't have. Do the exact opposite and love your life for the things that you do have, no matter how little. Be thankful for your home, your food, and the people you care about in your life.
10. Your goals.
Goals make you feel alive and keep you motivated. Challenges make people stronger. If you keep working toward your dreams, you will feel more confident and empowered with every passing day.
11. Your modern technology.
Technology enables us to share and learn on sites like these. Without the web, I would never have discovered the simple wisdom of Tiny Buddha and how to deal with criticism, especially at a time when I needed options. Where else can you get such insight? Remember that we are fortunate to have access to tools that enrich our lives.
12. Your potential.
Be part of the big solution in changing the world for the better. Every person has a moral responsibility to live their life mindfully and bring about positive change for others. The cause and advocacy may vary, but as a whole, our commitment to utilize our potential makes life and the world better for everyone.
We have options to combat a negative outlook on life. Of course, we still have to deal with the natural ebb and flow of happiness and sadness in life, but that gets easier with practice.
Choose to see what’s right about the world. Then go out there and really live.
Photo by mhofstrand