February 18, 2009

Being Successful & Happy in the Face of Adversity

In today's economic slump, jobs are being lost and families are being put under strain. Financial problems are the number 1 cause of divorce in America today. Don't want to end up broke, alone, and miserable? Here are a few ideas to keep your head up & your heart happy.

Be thankful for what you have. The old saying goes "Have what you want; but want what you have." You should pause and take stock of your life. Examine all that you own & possess, and not just the material objects. Think about your boyfriend, husband, children, parents, and friends. Realize that you have it good. You have people that love you and want the best for your life. You have people who look up to you and emulate you. And there are people that inspire you. You have a roof over your head, and most of your bills are getting paid. Things could be much worse.

Which leads to the second point: remember that there is always someone worse off than you. Quit having a pity party for yourself, and reverse your thinking. Count your blessings instead of wallowing in self pity. If you totally reverse your thinking like this, you'll suddenly become grateful and selfless, realizing that you have indeed been blessed.

And when you realize you've been blessed, you'll want to bless others in return. Giving your money, time, and energy, to help another person is the greatest act of love you can do. And perhaps there has never been a better time to serve somebody else than right now when everyone else is busy looking out for Number One; themselves. Besides meeting a basic need, volunteering or helping someone else will satisfy your soul and will make God smile.

Be true to yourself. Do what you want to do. Don't let anyone make you think that you don't deserve what you want in life. Have big dreams, and pursue them! This time of economic crisis is not a time to be frozen with fear; it is a time for you to get creative to achieve all those wonderful dreams you have. You may have to sacrifice to get there, but anything worth having is worth fighting for, right? If it was easy, it wouldn't be nearly so worthwhile to obtain. If you want to quit your "traditional" job and do something that you love but may be frowned upon because it seems less conventional, then weigh your options, consider carefully, then do it!

You were given talents & dreams for a reason. Perhaps God wants you to use one of them, and trust Him with all the other details? This is between you & God, so discuss it and see what He says. He may say "no", He may say "yes", or He may say "not yet." But whatever the question, you can be sure that He will answer, although it may not be the answer that you wanted. But His plan for our lives and our plan for our lives are sometimes not the same.

Look for the "good" in all circumstances. Have you heard the story about the lady who had a recurrence of a very fast-moving form of breast cancer? She would not have known about the tumor growing silently & undetected in her armpit, unless she had been hospitalized with a near-fatal injury. The doctors were able to save her life by running a series of diagnostic tests, revealing her malignant tumor, which would not have been found otherwise, if she had not already been in the hospital for a serious injury. She said that she had lived through the horrible accident; so she was going to live through cancer as well.

She is an example of someone who finds the good in everything, even if it is obscured. This way of thinking will keep you motivated, happy, upbeat, and optimistic, against all odds. Isn't that the best way to be in this world?

Know when to work hard, and when to rest. It takes hard work to get anywhere worth being in this life. But you also must remember to take a day off, sleep in, kiss your wife, work in your garden, take an evening walk, or laugh at your favorite comedian. You need to let your brain and your body rest and recooperate. Lay those heavy burdens on God; He is much stronger than you so He can carry them much easier! Enjoy living; soak in all the beauty of life. If you don't take time out for these important times, then what's the point of all the work? Don't you work hard so you & your family can enjoy a happy life? Well that life begins right now, if you let it. Your family doesn't want a bigger house or more spending money; they want you & your presence at the dinner table.

Have you ever heard anyone on their death bed say, "Oh, I wish I would've worked more...." No! They lament that they didn't spend enough time with family and didn't soak up life to the fullest. Don't work so hard that you have no time left for enjoying life. What a shame that would be.

Don't be too hard on yourself. You know that you are your harshest critic. When your inner critic starts belittling you for something that happened long ago or yesterday, give that inner critic a name and tell it to get lost. Realize that you did the best you could, and you may have fumbled the ball, but tomorrow is a new day and you will remember the lesson you learned. Learn the lesson and move on. You owe that to yourself.

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