Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 7, 2008

Twelve choices that can dramatically improve your life

Personal choices radically impact our lives. Thatís why it is so important during our formative years to learn how to make wise choices. One purpose of public education is to teach students to make intelligent decisions.

When we are infants our parents make most of our decisions for us. They decide to change our diapers. We donít have a choice in the matter. We donít even decide to wet our diapers. It just happens.

Gradually we discover that we live in a world of choices. We learn that we can choose to be content or to be miserable. We can choose to enjoy the food that is available to us or we can complain about it.

We cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose how we shall react. That is one of the great benefits of the human brain. We can think rationally about the consequences of our decisions. We can choose, for example, not to allow someoneís behavior to provoke us to anger since anger is detrimental to our health. There are many wonderful choices we can make that can profoundly influence the quality of our lives. I want to share twelve of them with you.

One, choose to like yourself. Enjoy being the person you are. Donít kick yourself. Never wish you were someone else. You will never be anyone else! Affirm your own self worth. Be careful not to think you are ďthe greatest,Ē but do think of yourself as a wonderful person.

You are not a biological accident; God made you. He made you because he wanted a person like you to enjoy the world. When you have a day, get over it in a hurry. Refuse to let yesterdayís bad day ruin today.

Two, expect other people to like you. Since you want other people to like you, put Zig Ziglerís "likeability factor" to work for you. Zig says if you want people to like you remember that people like a smile, like optimism, like people who listen, and like kindness. Practice daily those four things. Always remember this: people like people who like themselves. If someone does not like you, accept it and donít fret about it. Just hang out with people who affirm you as a likeable person.

Three, embrace enthusiasm. Itís good for you. Every morning get excited about being alive. You are breathing; give thanks! Refuse to let your chin drag the ground. Wipe that frown off your face and put a smile on it even when you are hurting. If you will, you can live every day with enthusiasm. Do it. Stop drooping and start dancing. Kick up your heels. Live every moment with passion.

Four, expect your future to be good. Live with positive expectation. If Mr. Gloomy comes by, tell him to get lost. Look for Mr. Cheerful and ask him to stay awhile. Take charge of your attitude. Expect the best. Believe good things are going to happen to you. Turn a deaf ear to the prophets of doom.

Five, keep on learning and growing until you gasp your last breath. There is so much to learn and do. So donít quit on life until it quits on you. Young dogs and old dogs can learn new tricks. Most of my heroes are 80 and 90 years old. They are still learning and growing and I want to be like them. They inspire me to stay alive as long as I live.

Six, refuse to let disappointment grind you down.Disappointments are a part of life so accept them. But donít allow them to lead you into despair. Look despair in the eye and say, "Whoa! I am not going to let you spend one night with me; you are not welcome in my life!" Disappointments are permanent only if you allow them to be. Rise up from the ashes of defeat and plan your next victory.

Seven, hold things loosely in your hand and treasure your relationships. Be content with what you have. What matters most are your relationships. If you have anything you love more than your family and friends, give it away. Things cannot hold your hand when you are hurting. Work hard to love people not things.

Eight, stop trying to solve your problems by worrying. Worry is a thief; it robs you of joy, peace, health, and contentment. Worry changes nothing for the good. It only makes matters worse.

Find a quart jar. Label it your Worry Jar. Jot down your worries on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar. Refuse to think about them until next Thursday afternoon at 2:00 oíclock. Then look them over and remind yourself how foolish it is to worry. Instead of worrying, try to think like the woman who said, "When I walks, I walks slow; when I sits, I sits loose; and when I feel worry coming on, I just goes to sleep." Right on, Sister; right on!

Nine, believe that a sense of humor contributes to healthy living. Life without humor is dull, deadening, and boring. If you wake up one morning and canít think of anything funny to laugh about, go look in the mirror. What you see there before you "fix your face" is bound to make you grin. And donít ever waste a grin without adding a little laughter to it. Laughter is good medicine.

Ten, be understanding of the mistakes of others. You make mistakes. Other people make mistakes. Be merciful. We all have the gift of saying something stupid and insensitive now and then. So give others the break you expect them to give you and move on. Like you, most people need a friend, not a judge.

Eleven, never underestimate the value of optimism. Nobody ever wakes up and says, "Boy, I hope I run into a pessimist today!" Pessimism tends to ruin our day. But optimism is as welcome as warm sunshine on a beautiful spring morning. So, brace yourself and be optimistic. It wonít kill you, and it could help you to have a good day. Think of yourself as an incurable optimist. Then act like one.

Twelve, listen to the people who cheer you on, not the people who try to drag you down. Both kinds of people are in everyoneís life. But we can choose which ones we will pay attention to. Be thankful for your cheerleaders. Try to be one for a few other people, especially your family members and friends.

Believe me, these personal choices can make a marvelous difference in your life! + + +