- Jonthan Lockwood Huie
From the way most people live, one would never guess that humans are beings of free will. Repetition can be a choice, but often it isn't. The athlete or pianist who practices the same routine day after day, year after year, has their eye on a goal. The unending repetition is a conscious choice in the pursuit of a life dream. But what about the sameness of most lives? Observe the morning commute, the after-work drink, the Sunday football game or religious service - how many of those people are consciously following their dream, training their mind, body, and spirit through that daily repetition? And how many are mindlessly slogging through each day out of habit and boredom?
You can take charge of your own life - today. Here are 9 secrets to get you started:
1. Believe in yourself. A daily affirmation may seem to be a silly idea, but give it a try anyway. Write your own affirmation about your abilities, and repeat it each day before you leave your home. Start with the following, and modify it until it fully expresses your commitments, beliefs, and intents.
I am unlimited.
I take responsibility for my life.
My every action is a conscious choice.
I can accomplish anything good that I truly set my mind on.
I keep focus, and persevere.
2. Make peace with your past. In the words of William Shakespeare, "What's done is done." You can't change the past. You can't undo any actions you took or failed to take. Your only choice today is either to waste energy and emotion on regrets and resentments, or to treat your own past like a history book - an interesting, but emotionally neutral, recitation of ancient times.
3. See each day as a new beginning. Don't project your past onto your future. Suppose you won the lottery yesterday, would that mean you will win the lottery again tomorrow? Usually, we are fairly realistic about not expecting a run of good fortune to continue, but when we hit a streak of bad luck, we tend to project that failure into our future and think times will never get better. So you stepped on a banana peel and slipped yesterday, does that mean it will happen again tomorrow? If you got fired or your lover left, it's unfortunate, but there's always tomorrow - a tomorrow that can shine so long as you don't project yesterday's shadow upon it.
4. Look for the best in people. Everyone has good points and bad. Everyone will please you at times and annoy you at others. While there is power in choosing to associate mostly with positive people, there is even more power in seeing the best in everyone. Everyone has a lesson to teach us. Let the impact of an unkind or thoughtless word last only a moment, but bask for a whole day in gentle words and insightful thoughts. The happiest among us have no enemies.
5. Make a gratitude list, and review it often. Not everything has gone well in your life, but much has. Too often we focus on the negative and forget our great blessings - health, friends, family, beauty, nature, our body, our mind, Spirit, life itself. Perhaps you have arthritis or your spouse just moved out. Yes, those are big negatives, but your list, anyone's list, of blessings is vastly larger than any list of problems.
6. Design your future. Visualize being in the future you desire. Make that vision so real you can taste and smell it - a three-dimensional full-color motion picture with surround-sound. That is your goal - your destination. Never forget it - never lose track of it. Let what you do every day be done with that vision in mind. Be the aspiring athlete or musician whose every day moves them one inch closer to that three-minute mile or perfect concerto.
7. Either learn how to enjoy your work, or get a new career. Make a list of what you like and what you dislike about your job. Perhaps you enjoy your customers and co-workers, but find your boss annoying. Limit your awareness of the annoying times to the moment in which they occur, but let thoughts of the service and camaraderie permeate your day. If you find that the frustrations of your job outweigh the enjoyment, get a new career. Whatever your interests, there is a way to do something you enjoy, make a difference in the world, and get well paid at the same time. Make a list of all your interests and abilities, and think big. Don't let anyone else's small and limited thinking deter you from your goal.
8. Enjoy everything you do, or don't do it. Yes, you have to file your taxes and stop at stop signs whether you like it or not. This secret refers to those things you do merely out of habit or to avoid embarrassment. Enjoy that party, or don't accept the invitation. Feel fulfilled by that volunteer committee, or don't join. Believe in that particular charitable cause, or don't contribute. Everything in life is a choice - make wise choices that maximize your happiness.
9. Feel Unity with Spirit and all creation. You are never alone. Your Higher Power, whatever that means to you, is a constant support - never hesitate to ask for guidance and blessing. Remember that Spirit knows better than you what is best for you, so ask for comfort and affluence rather than the affections of a particular person or a higher paying job. Whatever your circumstances, and however often you may have felt rejected, there are many people in this world who live in the tradition of the "Good Samaritan." When troubles weigh upon you, do not hesitate to find and rely upon these people - they are far more numerous than you think.