I recently finished listening to an audio book by Joel Osteen, "Your best life now: 7 steps to living at your full potential." I felt I had to blog about it because I'm such a firm believer in positive thinking. In the book Mr. Osteen outlines 7 things we can do to live a happier and more fulfilling life. What's more is we can start now, we don't have to wait until we've completed a complicated list of instructions. We can start reaping the benefits right from the first page. Here is a summary of the 7 steps.
1.) Enlarge your vision. Stop selling your dreams short. Many times we find ourselves saying, "If I just had a little more money," or "If I could just pay off a few of these debts." We need to dream bigger dreams. Another part of this 1st step is to start expecting good things to happen. If we go through life expecting nothing but the worst, too often it becomes a self-fulling prophecy. If we can try to be more positive and start expecting good things to happen, even if they don't, we'll have a more satisfied life.
2.) Develop a positive self image. In addition to expecting good things to happen, we also need to start thinking good things about ourselves. This I've experienced first hand. When all we do is think negative thoughts about ourselves, "I'll never have a better job," or "I'll never find someone to share my life with." Again it can become a self fulfilling prophecy. We need to build ourselves up rather than knock ourselves down. It's really not rocket science that when we think good things about ourselves we are a lot less depressed.
3.) Express positive thoughts and words. Words can be wonderful tools of healing and also devastating weapons of destruction. When we talk to others, we need to be careful of what we say. Particularly to our spouse and children. We need to build them up with words of encouragement. When we speak with our children with constant negative words, telling them they will never amount to anything and similar phrases. These words too often turn out to be true. But when we tell them things like, "You can do anything you set your mind to," and "You're God's special gift to me." These can have a wonderful impact on our children.
4.) Let go of the past. Too often we fall into the trap of feeling miserable about past failures and consequences of bad decisions. It's one thing to learn from our mistakes, but quite another to dwell on them all day long. We need to let go of past failures and start living in the present. Making each day the best it can be.
5.) Stand strong in adversity. This is a tough one, at least for me. It is extremely hard to remain positive when it seems like your world is crashing around you. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we at least try to keep having positive thoughts, even during negative events. One thing adversity can do is make us stronger for having gone through it.
6.) Live to give. There are few things more satisfying than helping others. Every time we do something nice for someone else, both the giver and the receiver can experience the consequences. Helping others has the remarkable ability to make everyone happy. It's the ultimate win-win situation.
7.) Choose to be happy. I am convinced that life is about 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. The most successful people in the world with anything they want can also be the most miserable. Likewise, people in the most tragic circumstances can be the most happy. Happiness is a choice, it is not based on the events in which we find ourselves.
Obviously all these things are much easier said than done. I have to constantly remind myself of these steps, and I certainly don't always succeed. But success can be found in the making the journey. The more we try to follow these suggestions, I'm convinced the happier and more fulfilled we will be.