Our New Year’s resolutions may still be intact this first month. A fitness coach says the first couple of weeks in January are really busy but things slow down very soon. Here are some principles for choices that last for 2014.
First, your happiness will be determined by the quality of your thought life.
Ancient wisdom says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Clearly stated but practice challenges us. I know who are miserable because they believe are victims of circumstance? They live by the rule of procrastination: “When my ship comes in…, then….” Unfortunately, their ship never gets into the water! Every problem is excused because of something I can’t control. A favorite is, “If it weren’t for…” which somehow justifies any trouble.
A popular television show, “Hee Haw,” featured a mountain song which said, “If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.” So it goes for the man who thinks negatively. Eventually “everything” is against him. Nothing ever seems to work out right!
The rule of anticipation is much more positive. Practice expecting good things and watch them show up at your door. Successful careers result from discovering what makes you happy and finding a way to make a living doing it. People who do are among the most satisfied in the world. In your handling what life throws at you, discover the tests the Rotarians use in these four questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it bring GOOD will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? I am not a Rotarian, but I practice those four tests in my thinking.
Rational-Emotive Therapy reduces life’s issues to the discovery of our irrational thinking. When I identify how I think irrationally, I can pinpoint the source of my uncomfortable feelings. Here’s an example: It is irrational to think that EVERYONE must like you. Even if you are successful 90 pe cent of the time, some folks who will not like you – just to be different! But if you allow one person’s disapproval to determine your happiness, you will be a miserable soul. Your goal may be to have as many of your acquaintances approve of you as possible, but be realistic – not irrational – with those expectations.
Finally, as you make choices for the New Year, remember the most important power you possess: you have power over your own mind, even when you can’t control outside events and influences. When Bonheoffer was imprisoned in Germany, along with millions of Jews, he decided that his captors could take everything from him but his choices. In one extremely humiliating scene, he recalls standing naked before guards, being interrogated. He resolved, “They can take everything from me but my dignity. I am a child of God.” He survived his internment.
Most of us will not face tests that stern. We can learn from his behavior. After enduring beatings and imprisonment, Paul was still said, “I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me.” He had an anchor in the storms of life.
Find your anchor. Fix your thoughts on the things that count. You’ll make a difference in your living in 2014. You may even make a difference for someone you love too. Happy New Year!