It’s an honor to write regularly for Maria Shriver and to be one of her
‘Architects of Change’, which she describes this way:
“…people who see a problem in their own life or community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Have you ever noticed how quickly people can shift from something good to something rotten?
They make a choice to like something and instantly knock it down.
They seem to be happy and grateful and then resentment suddenly erupts… good feelings get shadowed by a bad hope and what began as something positive and nice shifts right into negativity and spite.
It can go like this:
“Great to hear about your new job! Let’s see how long this one lasts.”
“I’m so happy we’re friends but Dick won’t like it if he sees us together.”
“You’re always so positive. It’s pretty irritating.”
“Congratulations on your new business. Nobody expected you to do so well.”
And, here’s a personal favorite of mine. I was performing at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and as I left the stage a fellow actor said to me:
“We listen to you sing every night and wonder when you’ll make a mistake.”
See how quickly people shift back and forth between gratitude and resentment – the positive to the negative — goodness and joy into meanness?
It’s quite a study this shuttling back and forth but the exciting fact is this — you always have a choice. You can select gratitude over resentment and the process, choices, feelings, thoughts and preferences you make will directly affect the quality of your entire life and the kind of person you will be.
How happy are you?
Take a close and serious look at yourself; examine your life, your thoughts and feelings. How does your mind work? How do you act and think at home, at work, when you’re with friends and other people?
How happy are you?
If you choose gratitude; live it and give off positive energy you’ll be strong and happy. If you select cynicism and displeasure that’s exactly what you’ll get. Negative choices won’t build kindness and good feelings for yourself or for other people. If you’re always complaining, mocking and tearing things and people down what is your life like?
I’ve known several intelligent, hardworking people who have success all around them but they’re always unhappy. Something is broken in them, and they choose not to help themselves. Certainly there can be emotional and physical hardships and struggles that are out of people’s control, but there are alternate solutions available to feel and live well. And one of them is the great and good effect the choice for gratitude and positivity can have on anyone. It’s not a silly game. It’s serious stuff. Think about this:
- If you drench yourself in negativity how do you think you’ll feel?
- What kind of energy is in gratitude compared to the energy of resentment?
- What does steady resentment do to your mind and body?
- How do you want to live your life — hating and disliking things or being happy and thankful?
Ingratitude comes with a hefty price and negativity will pay you back badly. Remember –
You have the ability to make new choices:
- To live with positivity or without it
- To live with gratitude or without it
- To live with kindness or without it
It’s just as easy to like things as it is to scorn them. What you focus on takes the same amount of energy. One choice makes you happy and another choice makes you miserable.
I believe the quality of your life will vastly improve when you surround yourself with positivity.
Here are the benefits
Shawn Achor in his book — The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – explains how this works:
“When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude, and optimism. The role happiness plays should be obvious—the more you pick up on the positive around you, the better you’ll feel…
The second mechanism at work here is gratitude, because the more opportunities for positivity we see, the more grateful we become. Psychologist Robert Emmons, who has spent nearly his entire career studying gratitude, has found that few things in life are as integral to our well-being.
Countless other studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier, either; gratitude has proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes. When researchers pick random volunteers and train them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks, they become happier and more optimistic, feel more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep, and even experience fewer headaches than control groups.”
Some people reading these powerful and hopeful words will quickly dismiss their importance because it’s easier to do that than it is to do the real trial and error work to test it, see if it is true and change.
Smart people will take up the challenge. They will study and work at it like they would learning a language or getting a master’s degree in business. They’ll be logical and scientific. The fact is — many people already get it and do it. They choose to live a positive, healthy life every day and they thrive.
One of my favorite quotes about changing negativity into optimism is by American composer, pianist and band leader Duke Ellington. Reading it always makes me happy:
“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.”
What an inspiring and fun choice, right?
Why not infuse your life with, “… happiness, gratitude and optimism.”?
See if choosing gratitude over resentment makes you, “…more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely… happier and more optimistic…”
Please send this on by clicking on the social share icons below
And…take a look at this — What Is Being True to Yourself?