What Can You Achieve with the Right Attitude?

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude Thomas Jefferson

When creating a meaningful life, it is never a question of whether there will be difficulties but when. Life is filled with moments that we can allow to crush us or that we can use to build a better us.

One of the best tools I know of to utilize in building a happy, meaningful life is exercising gratitude.

Gratitude and acknowledging our blessings always makes our lives better – no matter how difficult the difficulties are.

Today, I share a wonderful article by Marc Chernoff. I hope you enjoy it!

6 Things Happy People Never Do

Happy people do a lot of things.  They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.

But they NEVER…

1.  Mind other people’s business.

Forget about what others are doing.  Stop looking at where they are and what they have.  Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you.  YOU are walking your own path.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.  We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves.  So stop the comparisons!  Ignore the distractions.  Listen to your own inner voice.  Mind your own business.

Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.  Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be.  Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU.  Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Seek validation of self-worth from others.

When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you.  And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.

How are you letting others define you?  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you.  People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life.  So forget what they think and say about you.  Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.

Those who accept you are your friends.  Those who don’t are your teachers.  If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true.  If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true.  Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem.  What other people call you is their problem…

What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.

3.  Rely on other people and external events for happiness.

Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need.  But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have.  We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy.  Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such.  Don’t let your happiness be held hostage.  It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.

As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be.  If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.  Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier.  Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy.  Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.

The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation.  Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you.  A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)

4.  Hold on to resentment.

Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past.  What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.

We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.

Forgiveness is the remedy.  It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past.  To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you.  Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

5.  Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.

You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.  So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.

When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY.  When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.

Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself.  Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life.  You don’t need negative thoughts.  They are all lies.  They solve nothing.  All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.

6.  Resist the truth.

It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth.  Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.  If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night.  You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular.  It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one.  It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live.  Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.

Today’s inspiring articles shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/16/6-things-happy-people-never-do/

 

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Your Freedom is the Most Expensive Thing You Have….

your-freedom-is-the-most-expensive-thing-you-have-soldiers-1010631From the time that I first stepped foot on Russian soil – during the Kosovo conflict, I have treasured my freedom and my U.S. citizenship. It was not until that moment that I understood what lack of freedom was or that it was even possible to lose it. The freedoms that this nation enjoys has come at a cost. I hope that each one of us who walks the soil of America as free citizens will cherish the gift that has been given to us by the soldiers of this nation and the inspired United States Constitution. Today, I am including just a brief portion of my book that addresses the trip my husband and I made to Russia to adopt our two youngest children. May freedom be a gift that we all enjoy forever!

From my book:

Greg and I were a little nervous about flying to Russia, but that  nervousness increased dramatically when our plane made its first  landing on Russian soil. Our first landing was made in Khabarovsk,  Russia. We were surprised to see that the airport seemed more like an  abandoned military base. Old weathered airplanes with questionable  functionality dotted the tarmac. Our initial astonishment turned to  tension as armed men in military type uniforms drove up to our  airplane and one of their commanders barked harsh words at the  flight attendants and demanded possession of their passports. Our  first touchdown in Russia made it painfully clear to us that while  on Russian soil, we would not have the same freedoms that we were  accustomed to in the United States.

Our second landing was just outside the city of Vladivostok,  the destination for our adoption. Though friendlier than our initial  landing, going through customs verified our initial impressions that  as foreigners in their country, we were not welcome visitors. 

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Adversity…Making Lemonade From Our Lemons

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. Charles R. Swindoll

Do you have individuals from history that you would love to spend time with and chat with for a few hours – maybe even a few days? Benjamin Franklin is one of those people for me.

There are many individuals who, through their example and legacy, continue to mentor me and my life even though I have never met them and most of them have long departed this world.

The one consistency that all mankind has faced and ever will is adversity. It is the stuff that growth and improvement is made of.

Yet, in regards to adversity, we all have a choice: To let our difficulties defeat us or to enable them to grow and refine us. I don’t always succeed as well as I would like, but I try to enable my challenges to create a better person of me.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about your own life. Is there something you can do better? Can you turn your lemons into lemonade? Remember, we are never defeated unless we give up! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Overcoming Obstacles: Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues Worth Learning

You may know Ben Franklin as the wise elder of the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Ambassador to France, Governor of Pennsylvania, as well as an ingenious inventor, scientist, and witty author.But you may not know his humble background and the obstacles he overcame to succeed. After all, most of our famous Founding Fathers came from rich, privileged backgrounds. Instead, a look at Ben Franklin’s life provides a worthy education in character.

Born and Raised

Born as Benjamin Franklin in Boston on January 17, 1706, he was the 15th of 17 children, the son of a soap and candle maker. After only two years of schooling, at age 10, he was forced to leave school and make candles for his father. As for further education, he was self-taught. At 12, he was apprenticed to an older brother James, who ran a print shop.

James was a cruel taskmaster, and would beat young Ben when displeased – which was often. When his brother started a newspaper, The New England Courant, James would not allow brother Ben to publish any of his own writing. So Franklin submitted 14 witty pieces under a made-up name, Mrs. Silence Dogood, and they delighted the paper’s readers. But when James discovered Franklin’s ruse, he was jealous and punished him severely again, eventually forcing Ben to escape his servitude – which was against the law.

Franklin ended up in Philadelphia, with just the wet and ratty clothes on his back and three pennies to his name. Hungry, he went in to a bakery shop and came out with three loaves of bread, one for his mouth and two tucked awkwardly under his arms. It was October 6, 1723, and as he devoured the bread, the bedraggled young man saw a charming young woman, Deborah Read, watching him. Little did either of them know that seven years later, they would be married!

An Early Lesson Revealed

In Ben Franklin’s famous Autobiography, he looks back on the mean treatment he received from his brother, and reveals an important lesson: a lifelong “Aversion to arbitrary Power.” This hard-earned lesson would match up well with the philosophy of the revolutionary movement. After all, just as Franklin got out from under his tyrannical brother’s beatings, so would the Colonies strive to gain independence from the tyrannical King of England’s “arbitrary power.”

The Philadelphia Years

That poor, 17-year-old boy pounded the pavements of Philadelphia and was able to find work, using his skills as a printer’s assistant and his many outstanding traits and talents to make his way in the world. He borrowed money and set up his own printing business. Before long, he was known as a tireless, honest, and diligent businessman, and Franklin gained attention and landed major jobs, setting up a thriving business.

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Deborah Read, they set up their own dry goods store, and Ben opened up a book store. He didn’t stop there. At the ripe age of 23, in 1729, he bought a small newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and turned it into the most successful paper in the Colonies. He even created the world’s first political cartoon of himself! And, while getting involved in civic improvement groups, in 1733 he also launched Poor Richard’s Almanack, which became famous for its down to earth advice and witty writing, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Prominence and Inventiveness

The list of Franklin’s ideas and accomplishments goes on and on, and this only scratches the surface:

  • The nation’s first free library
  • Philadelphia’s first fire-fighting company (“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” was Franklin’s fire prevention advice).
  • A fire insurance company
  • The founding of the Pennsylvania Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania – both still in existence today
  • Inventions such as the heat-efficient Franklin Stove and bifocals
  • His famous experiments with a kite in a lightning storm verified the nature of electricity, and led to his invention of the lightning rod
  • He even played three instruments and composed music!

By age 42, Franklin’s inventive, industrious nature had brought him from rags-to-riches, enabling him to retire from business and devote his next four decades to the revolutionary politics for which we know him best.

Franklin’s 13 Virtues

As we’ve seen, Franklin overcame many obstacles at a young age. And when he was just 20, in 1726, Franklin took what he had already learned from adversity and developed a method to improve his character by what he called “13 Virtues.” It was something he worked on for the rest of his life. His idea was to focus on only one virtue each week, “leaving all others to their ordinary chance.”

His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:

  1. “Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  2. “Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  3. “Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  4. “Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  5. “Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  6. “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  7. “Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  8. “Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  9. “Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  10. “Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation.”
  11. “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  12. “Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

Franklin admitted that he fell short of these virtues many times, but believed that sincerely trying his best made him a better man, and contributed to his success and happiness. In his autobiography, he devoted more pages to the 13 Virtues than to anything else; in fact, he wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”

We are all, in a sense, “descendants” of the great Founding Father, Ben Franklin. So by all means, take these virtues to heart, “follow the example and reap the benefit!

Today’s story shared from the following website: http://www.learningliftoff.com/overcoming-obstacles-ben-franklin/#.WTm0C8bMxBw

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An Invitation to Fast & Pray for Our Nation

esther-fasting-reviseduntitled-1Sarah Land has initiated a Nationwide fast on Sunday, November 6, 2016. I love Sarah’s idea. Our nation and each of us need it! I believe in this country. I believe that the Lord has blessed this nation. I believe that now, more than ever, the United States of America needs to turn our hearts to our Creator for guidance and strength. I share with you Sarah’s words:

“With the Election coming up, I suggest that as a nation we fast for our country. Try to fast at anytime that you can on this day. If you can’t on this day, do so on another day. Fast for inspiration on who to vote for. Fast for Peace. If for whatever reason you can’t fast, just pray. Invite everyone.

If you don’t know how to fast this is how I fast: Start with a prayer. Prayerfully abstain from food and water for two meals. End with a prayer.”

I would ask that you also fast and pray that the individuals who will lead this nation and our communities by utilizing the Lord’s guidance would be elected.
The Lord is the perfect source of help and strength! There are many more stories throughout the scriptures that tell of the Lord’s assistance and protection! For example, here is a portion of the story of Elisha from 2 Kings 6:14-16:

14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

 15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

I learned in heaven that God is the same – He never changes. How can you change perfection? Why would you want to? God has helped His children throughout all ages! He continues to help us today as we turn to Him and request His help (And do our part)! I hope you will join with Sarah, others and myself in prayer and fasting on November 6th!

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Let Your Vote be Heard this Coming Election!

US_Flag_HangingBanner3a_outlineThere is a lot of coverage being given now to the U.S. presidential election. Rightfully so! I think that I may have a perspective about that campaign that is held by few others You may wonder what a near death experience has to do with politics? It has everything to do with politics and with life!

I know that the United States of America was founded under the influence, guidance, and protection of God – the Creator of us all. I also know that God will continue to protect us and our freedoms if we continue to serve and obey Him.

Some seem to be of the opinion that God blesses His children the same regardless of their behavior and choices. That is not true. God loves His children regardless of their choices and behavior but He does not bless them the same irregardless. What kind of parent would reward their naughty child the same as the obedient child?

I saw in heaven the evil that is a part of Satan’s work. His work carries on in this world to the extent that we choose to serve him and not God and/or ignore that Satan exists altogether. We each count and we each have important tasks to accomplish with our lives. Who we elect matters. The lives of unborn children matter, families matter, freedom as defined in our constitution matters, receiving blessings from God matters, and most of all – God matters. There is not such thing as a perfect candidate. For too long, our country has voted for individuals who “look good or are popular” according to standards that are light years away from God. Please join with me and let your voice be heard with those that follow God this coming election day!

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