The Power of Choice

“If today you are a little better than you were yesterday, then that’s enough.” –David A. Bednar.

Steven R. Covey teaches in his book that 10% of our lives are made up of things we cannot control, while the other 90% is determined by the way we respond to them.

I feel it helpful to share the things I'm learning because it creates a greater understanding for myself as I attempt to explain different concepts. It really expands my comprehension and in turn hopefully helps others in some small way. We need those constant reminders and positive affirmations. I’m not claiming to be an expert, I just love to share information that has helped me or inspires me in some way.

In Steven R. Covey’s book, he talks about a little girl and her dad having breakfast together. The daughter accidentally spills some coffee on her dad’s work shirt. He get’s upset, yells and storms upstairs to change his shirt. He comes down and realizes that she is still sad and hasn’t finished her breakfast. She ends up missing the bus so he takes her to school. When he drops her off she doesn't say goodbye because she's still upset.  So since he is now running late he exceeds the speed limit and gets pulled over and handed a ticket. Then of course he arrives late to work and realizes that he left his brief case at home.

We've all had days like this right?

It started from the spilled coffee and the way he responded. All of that could have been avoided if he had just responded in a calm, non reactive way to his daughter. After all, it was an innocent mistake. His response is what determined the rest of his day.

Now I want to share with you how this relates to ME. A few months ago I wasn’t having the best week and now I can admit that it was because of  the way I chose to respond to certain situations.
Basically, Sean and I had a conversation and I chose to get my feelings hurt and I let that affect the way I felt for a good 2-3 days. It affected the way I treated Sean AND the kids. It quickly became a downward spiral because I allowed it to.
We have all had those days where nothing seems to go right. Ninety percent of the time we have brought it upon ourselves. It’s the cold hard truth. Hopefully through out our lives and with a little practice, we will get better at this principle. It’s not an easy one to master that's for sure.  I’m 34 years old and I still act like a child sometimes.

How many times have you ever said “Ugh…You’re making me so mad!” I say that to my kids sometimes and I hate to admit what I'm actually teaching them.

 That others have control over their actions and emotions. That it's okay to blame others for the way they're feeling. It's simply not true!  Nobody can MAKE us feel anything. We ALLOW those feelings to take control. I'm not saying we should all be to the point where we never get mad or hurt. We should feel those feelings but not allow them to take over and consume us.  We should feel them, be hurt, be sad, be mad, but with the self control to remain calm on the outside until we work through those feelings on the inside. We need not fall into the blame game...

“Oh I’m no good at anything because my parents didn’t provide opportunity.” Or, “We were really poor growing up, so I couldn’t afford to go to college, so therefore I can’t find a good job.” Or, “I’m really overweight because we were taught really bad eating habits growing up.”
There are so many excuses we could come up with. Sometimes it's easiest to blame others for our circumstances. We need to get really good at this principle, and defining where the true problem lies…within ourselves.

It’s hard being a mom, because we are still learning and feel pressure to be that perfect example. 

Even this morning on our way to school, I felt really bad because I snapped at Lily for getting gum out of my purse. I hate when she does that because then all the other kids want gum and she can’t have gum at school anyway. I was like, “Lily, stop it!”

She was wondering why I was getting so mad, and I was like, “oh sorry Lily!” 

Its so hard to be a good example. But I want to be the kind of example of someone who is humble enough to admit fault and say sorry.

We have been given a lot of control over our lives, 90%, that's a lot!!!

I think it comes down to 3 things:
1.     Being humble. Accepting fault and constructive criticism.
2.     Being proactive. Take action. Stop with the excuses. We need to build the kind of life we want.  We can create that with our 90%. It’s a matter of choice. Its how we use our time and how we choose to respond to things. Stop making excuses. Who says you aren’t talented, gifted, beautiful, creative, outgoing, smart, ambitious, determined, compassionate? Maybe you just haven’t learned all you need to learn. Get educated. Overcome those obstacles. Stop putting labels on ourselves.
3.     Being grateful. Anytime you feel like things are falling apart, in any situation, you can ALWAYS find the positive. It’s just a matter of looking for it and being grateful for the lessons within the trials. Enjoy the journey.
We have the choice to respond positively to any situation. It’s a life long process. But it’s good to have these reminders and work at being better than we were yesterday.

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