How are you feeling today?
Did you wake up anticipating a great day, looking forward to the challenges and victories? Or did you wake up expecting to encounter more drudgery, disappointment and stress?
Studies show that regardless of which line above describes your expectations, you will be right.
One of the quotes most frequently attributed to President Abraham Lincoln involves a person’s own choice of their disposition. Lincoln said people are about as happy as they want to be.
You and I have the stuff inside us to excel in trying circumstances.
Choosing to have high expectations is one key to accessing that internal drive, commitment and joyous accomplishment.
Choosing to have an expectation of good things has a real effect on the outcomes of our lives.
This is not a matter of simply being blindly ignorant of the challenges in life. It is a matter of keeping one’s focus on the desired outcomes in life, not the least of which is enjoyment.
Imagine if a motocross racer focused on the obstacles he must avoid, rather than the narrow path of the racecourse. He would certainly not win the race and would likely crash.
Just as a child learning to ride a bicycle is apt to run straight into the tree he desperately wants to avoid because he is so intently focused on it, we are magnetically drawn to the things we give our highest attention to.
Most of us would like to experience more joy in our lives.
This column is about the process of creating that joy.
Joy comes from within us, not from any external factor.
I recall a comment made by pastor Joel Osteen on more than one occasion. He says that in Texas, they have a saying: “Don’t let them steal your joy.”
The comment would imply that all of us have joy inherent within us. It would also imply that it is possible for us to allow others to take that joyful feeling away by their words or actions.
If these things are true, and my experience has shown me that they are, then it is certain that we can create greater joy if we so choose.
To manifest more joy from within, it is a simple matter of taking time to constantly focus on the blessings that we have. Regardless of our current difficulties, we all have so much to be thankful for and joyful about.
If you can’t immediately make a long list of great things in your life, you may be temporarily overwhelmed by the darkness of troubling circumstances that obscures the light of the blessings.
You may need to ask a friend, relative, pastor or counselor to help you begin to see the positive side of things.
Every life has blessings and disappointments.
No life is all good or all bad.
By continually and repetitively choosing to maintain a laser-like focus on our goals and objectives, and celebrating the good things in our lives on a daily basis, we are naturally more joyful and more successful in everything.
When we allow ourselves to become worried about what might happen, or something that someone else says or does that might hurt us, we are drawn ever closer to trouble just like the young bicyclist is drawn to the tree.
This is the time of year that we should be very joyful, yet it is easy to allow our joy to be destroyed by someone else’s thoughtlessness or rude behavior.
By keeping our attention on the great things in our lives and allowing others to be responsible for their own misdeeds, we are more likely to maintain and increase our inner feelings of joy.
Instead of worrying about the views of others, find more joy by selflessly giving to others.
This can be in the form of physical gifts, or in simply making it a point to be a greeter, encourager, consoler or congratulator.
Remember, the first one to smile always wins.
Next week, I will have some interesting news about kids’ health that every parent or grandparent should know.
Until then, stay happy and stay healthy, and don’t let them steal your joy.