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Today we have a guest post by one of my blogging buddies, Jennifer Boykin, who also happens to be the creator of a new site called “Life After Tampons.”  Please show her some love and check out her site.


Three Choices Happy People Make

By Jennifer Boykin

Creator, Life After Tampons

Do you feel like Sisyphus?  Every morning you drag your sad old bag of bones out of bed and get to work pushing your boulder of responsibilities and challenges uphill, only to have it come rolling back to the ground every night on your way home from work?

Or do you wake up more like the Duncan Donuts guy.  Remember him?  It’s always dark when he gets up.  He shuffles around the house getting ready and muttering to himself, “Got to make the donuts.  Got to make the donuts.”  But then, he turns around at the counter of his shop and claps his hand with glee at all the donut buyers clamoring for his fresh Boston Creams!

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was certain I was doomed to a life of drudgery and unhappiness.  Truly.  If you had my problems, you’d be unhappy, too.

And then I would list my problems – my losses – for you.  So you would HAVE TO AGREE that lasting happiness was just not going to happen for me.  You might shake your head in sympathy, and then you’d get up and go about the business of enjoying your own life.

I wondered how you did it.  Really, life just wasn’t fair.  Of course I could be happy if I had your life.  If my dad hadn’t left me (47 years ago!), my baby hadn’t died (20 years ago!) and blah and blah and blah and blah.

Certainly, there were times of great joy, particularly with respect to my three sons.  But then something would happen and it would completely derail me and I would go all the way back to the beginning of the Loss List again, just like Sisyphus’ boulder.

But then, finally, MERCIFULLY, I figured it out.  Happiness is a choice!  Happiness is a DECISION!  And even better, it’s MY decision.  YOU get absolutely NO VOTE AT ALL in whether I get to be happy or not.  What you do or don’t do, what you decide or don’t decide, how you behave or don’t behave, what you say or don’t say – absolutely none of it has any bearing at all on my happiness.  (Further, since you get the same choice, I’m no longer for your happiness, either.  What a relief that is!)

BUT – there is a CATCH.

And here it is:

Although the CONCEPT of happiness as a choice is simple to grasp, its IMPLEMENTATION  is not.

In order to CHOOSE to be happy you MUST be willing to GIVE UP:

  1. YOUR STORY – This means that you no longer have permission to replay your unhappy memories over and over again.  You also don’t get to share your woes repeatedly with friends.  You might tell one or two friends about your CURRENT concerns, but then you move on.  Instead of repeating unhappy ideas and memories, you insist on shouting out your joys.
  1. “Bright Shiny Object” Syndrome – This means that you don’t use spending as a way to numb your pain.  Instead, you learn to “be comfortable being uncomfortable.”  You develop the maturity to sit with discomfort because you have learned that it passes more quickly that way.
  1. Selfishness, for a Life of Service – When you extend yourself to others you learn that you always have something to give.  When you help someone else, you forget about your troubles.  When you focus on others instead of yourself, your problems become “right-sized.”  You gain perspective and gratitude from helping others.

The sacrifice you make to be happy is your status as Chief Martyr of the Universe.  To “get happy” you have to give up the “sugar high” of attention you get from your misery.  Believe me, I’m the mother of a dead child – there are people in this world who would enable my unhappiness on this situation alone until I drew my last breath.

But my daughter’s story isn’t about loss.  It’s about triumph.  The miracle of Grace’s story is that ALL HEALING IS POSSIBLE.  That’s the message of her life.  That is her legacy.

And I have my own.

So, if you’re chronically unhappy see if you can’t make some better choices about what you focus on.  Decide to be the Duncan Donuts guy and leave Sisyphus aside.  Truly the world needs more donuts than martyrs anyway.

 

Jennifer Boykin’s vision is to “rebrand a gazillion crones.” She speaks, teaches, and writes as the Creative Visionary and Chief Rabble-Rouser of the MidLife Reinvention site, Life After Tampons. When you come and visit, don’t forget to sign up for your free/priceless home retreat, “21 Days. Reclaim the Sass!” Then, visit our Facebook and Twitter Wisdom Circles. We’d love to hear about your dream.

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“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”Soren Kierkegaard


We all have those moments in our lives when we look back and say…”What was I thinking?” Maybe if we had just asked ourselves one question — like the one here in this video clip from the tv show “The Office,” we could have prevented some of those moments from happening. Although the advice is meant to be funny, I still think it’s some good advice.



“Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.”Marcus Porcius Cato


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Others can stop you temporarily — you are the only one who can do it permanently.” –Zig Ziglar

When you are faced with an obstacle, problem, or a decision to make, do you quickly come up with a solution that you later on regret?


Whether we are faced with a problem, a big decision, or deciding something as small as what to eat for dinner, my dear hubby frequently teases me by saying, “You’re always pointing out the options.” I’m not really sure why I do it. I think it’s because: 1 – I want to make the best decision and not live with regret. Maybe this is a result of my childhood stint as a Girl Scout. Their motto is “Be Prepared.” Hey, this could explain why I overpack for trips. 2 – I want/am sometimes determined to find a way to do what I want (without hurting others), and 3 – it makes me feel like I really have the freedom to choose what is going to happen in my life instead of feeling like a victim, or like I’m being forced to just accept something because there are no other options that appeal to me. That way I’m not just choosing between the lesser of two evils. However, there are some times in life when it feels that way…but in reality, you are still making a choice — even if you don’t like the options. A close friend of mine came up with a good quote — “Some people’s whole life is one big consequence. They are living their lives as a result, as a consequence, of making one poor decision after another.” While I was searching for info for this blog post I came across these videos on obstacles/overcoming obstacles, that I think are worth sharing.


Brian Tracy — Four Steps to Getting Past Obstacles

In a nutshell:

All successful people are solution oriented

1. Define the problem clearly
2. Ask what specifically is holding you back from achieving your goal
3. Determine all the possible solutions. All the different things that you could do to overcome that obstacle. Once you have a list of solutions decide which one you’ll pursue.
4. Take action


Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” –John Wooden

Harvey MacKay — Overcoming Obstacles


If at first you succeed, don’t take any more stupid chances. –Anonymous

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average. –M. H. Alderson

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. –W. E. Hickson

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it. –W. C. Fields


You might also like:
The 3 Decisions that Control Your Destiny
26 Quotes on Choices

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“Everything you want in life has a price connected to it. There’s a price to pay if you want to make things better, a price to pay just for leaving things as they are, a price for everything.” –Harry Browne


Think about your life. What price have you paid to get it?

When I was a child (around 10 or 11) I decided that I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I expressed this desire to my parents. After they had some time to think about it, they sat me down for a talk. My parents told me they were willing to buy me a guitar (and send me to guitar lessons) on the condition that I practice every day. The choice was mine. I thought about it and decided I didn’t want to pay the price.


“Every luxury must be paid for, and everything is a luxury, starting with being in the world.” –Cesare Pavese


Let’s pretend for just a moment that I had decided to put in the time and effort to learn how to play the guitar, and I got really, really good at it. I got so good at it that I ended up in a famous band touring around the world. I made tons of money, partied with other famous people, stayed in the finest hotels, didn’t have to clean up after myself, and didn’t have to cook a meal.

That may sound pretty great to you. At the time I made the decision not to learn to play the guitar the only “price” I saw was one of time/fun. If it turned out I didn’t like it (the guitar lessons), I would still have to keep it up for who knows how long. I knew my parents. This wasn’t like wanting a dog and promising you are going to feed it, take care of it, and clean up it’s poop — and then getting the dog and not doing it. This was serious. This would be enforced.

Think about it — Everything has it’s price. You pay for the choices you make in life. And you can pay for choices you don’t make (like natural disasters, accidents, getting robbed, etc.), and for what you choose not to do (for example, getting an education, unprotected sex, saving for a rainy day, learning a new thing, etc.). Some of the ways in which we pay are with our time, freedom, money, trust, peace of mind, health, relationships, privacy, sweat (hard work) and tears.


“No matter what we want of life we have to give up something in order to get it.” –Raymond Holliwell


Seriously think about it. Let’s look at actors/authors/performers. They had to deal with rejection numerous times. No one becomes an overnight success. (A good rags to riches story is that of author J. K. Rowling, of the “Harry Potter” series. You can read about some of her life/struggle here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._K._Rowling.) I’ve heard actors say they prepare themselves for a role by studying for the part. The other day my hubby told me of one great actor who said to prepare for a role he moves away from his family for 3 months. He does this so he can be alone to study for his upcoming role and to live “in character.” Now let’s add to the list. Think for a moment about the life of a singer/musician. It’s easy to see the rewards. What price do you think they pay?

Here are some things I can think of. Time. I know one thing involved is many, many hours of practice. If they go on tour, that’s large amounts of time away from the comfort of their home, their family and friends. Relationships are sacrificed. Maybe in part it’s due to the lack of time and nuturing a relationship needs. For some, the price of fame also includes the loss of their privacy. Who wants to have to wear a disguise just to go to the store? Photographers are constantly following celebrities and taking photos of them at times when they don’t necessarily want to be photographed. And then there are the constant rumors that go around about their lives. Plus, moments that I think any of us would want kept quiet are broadcasted and written about for the whole world to know. Haven’t we heard enough stories and seen enough photos of Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? We keep hearing in the news about all these men cheating on their wives. Do we really need to know who’s zooming who? Is it any of our business?

Not long ago I saw this woman on tv who was living a very extravagant lifestyle — courtesy of her hubby. She said when she realized her hubby was cheating, she decided to turn a blind eye to it because of the lifestyle they lived. She loved the lifestyle (and the shopping) and didn’t want to give it up.


“You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.” –Andrew Jackson


Everything has a price to pay. Are you willing to pay it?

“A price has to be paid for success. Almost invariably those who have reached the summits worked harder and longer, studied and planned more assiduously, practiced more self-denial, overcame more difficulties than those of us who have not risen so far.” –B. C. Forbes


Paul Weller – Everything has a price to pay

Other quotes on paying a price:

“When you want something, you have to be willing to pay your dues.” –Les Brown

“If you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done.” –Mike Ditka

“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up to you the object of your struggles only after you have paid her price.” –Napoleon Hill

“Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure, and the temporary failures.” –Vince Lombardi

“Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.” –Vince Lombardi

“Albert Einstein when asked what he considered to be the most powerful force in the universe answered: Compound interest! What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.” –Mignon McLaughlin

“Take what you want, God said to man, and pay for it.” –Spanish Proverb

“Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” –Ralph Ransom

“For every promise, there is price to pay.” –Jim Rohn

“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” –Jim Valvano


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“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein

Are you doing the same things, the same way, over and over again and expecting different results?

I stumbled across this poem, “There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk,” by Portia Nelson. The poem creates an analogy between life and a journey down a sidewalk. This made me think about the choices we make in life. How many times do we keep making choices that only lead us into the same “hole in the sidewalk?”

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk
– by Portia Nelson

    Chapter One

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

    Chapter Two

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

    Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.

    Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

    Chapter Five

I walk down another street.


Portia Nelson (1920 – 2001) was a renaissance woman: author, singer, composer, lyricist, painter, photographer, and actress. Over the years she wrote the music and lyrics for many revues, television specials, and films. Portia authored the much-loved book “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery,” originally published in the 1970’s. There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk was made into a musical based on the book, and Portia directed, created the music and lyrics, and performed in the production at the York Theatre in Manhattan. This amazing poem has been praised by psychotherapists, metaphysicians, and legions of fans from every walk of life. It is used in numerous 12-step substance-abuse programs, and has been quoted in such diverse books as “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,” and the preface of “My Lives,” Roseanne’s best-selling autobiography. It also appears on a poster in Dr. Maguire’s office (Robin Williams) in the film Good Will Hunting (1997). John Gray, Ph.D., author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” says: “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” explains in a simple and concise way, how life works. It is full of practical wisdom that will allow you to embrace and change your life.”

Are you doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results?

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Today’s post builds upon a previous post titled, “100 Most Important Life Choices” . The following are 26 quotes from Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s book titled “Choices.”

1 – “No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life.”

2 – “You may think that in life, a lot of things happen to you along the way. The truth is, in life, you happen to a lot of things along the way.”

3 – “Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.”

4 – “It is only when you exercise your right to choose that you can also exercise your right to change.”

5 – “It is your programming that has created your choices in the past. It is the choices you make today that are creating the programs of your future.”

6 – “If you were given only one choice: To choose or not to choose, which would you choose?”

7 – “The choices we make by accident are just as important as the choices we make by design.”

8 – “Another person’s choice is nothing more than another alternative for you to consider.”

9 – “There is no life as complete as the life that is lived by choice.”

10 – “There may be a thousand little choices in a day. All of them count.”

11 – “Whatever you choose, you might as well enjoy it. It is your choice.”

12 – “When you have a problem, make a choice…you’ll feel better.”

13 – “If you’d like to know what your choices have been, look at yourself and the life you have lived. What you see is the choices you’ve made.”

14 – “Who knows what you could accomplish in life if you made more of the right choices along the way?”

15 – “Some people choose to live by complaining. Other people choose to live.”

16 – “You cannot manage your life if you do not manage your self. You cannot manage your self if you do not manage your choices. Manage your choices, and you will manage your life.”

17 – “Learning what to choose, and how to choose, may be the most important education you will ever receive.”

18 – “The choices we make in the heat of emotion would be better if left for some other day.”

19 – “Listen to the quietest whispers of your mind. They are telling you the choices that will help you the most.”

20 – “Even the best of choices is only as strong as the choices that stand by its side.”

21 – “It is the big choices we make that set our direction. It is the smallest choices we make that get us to the destination.”

22 – “Each day that passes, your choices will come and go. They are like diamonds in a chest of jewels, each waiting to be discovered.”

23 – “Those who choose to succeed always do better than those who never choose at all.”

24 – “The highest levels are most certainly filled with those who chose to be there.”

25 – “If you have to take time to make a choice, take time. Then make the choice.”

26 – “The end result of your life here on earth will always be the sum total of the choices you made while you were here.”

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“When it comes down to it, it isn’t the major choices we make in life – career, marriage, etc. – that count the most. It is the everyday, minor decisions that make life work for us.” –Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.


Have you ever stopped to think about the impact your choices have had, or are having, on your life? When I was thinking about a topic for the next blog post the word “choices” came to mind. Occasionally I hear people say, “I have/had no choice.” And I couldn’t understand why they felt that way. See, they had a choice, they just didn’t like the choices. I guess you can say it was a choice between the “lesser of two evils.” Or they felt they were not able to make the choice they really wanted. Well my feeling was….if you can’t do it now, then plan for it so you can do it at some future date. Just come up with a plan, take action, and stick to it until you achieve whatever it is you want. Nobody said it would be easy, however, it can be done. That’s just my two cents worth.

In his book “Choices,” Dr. Shad Helmstetter came up with a list of the 100 Most Important Choices in your life. Before we get to the list, here’s a little of what Shad Helmstetter had to say about making choices:

“When we begin to take a careful look at the choices we make, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the most important choices are the choices that guide and direct the major areas of our life.

It is easy to think that if we make good choices about our career, marriage, education, income, family, etc., we should be able to do just fine.
But what about the other choices – the thousands of almost unnoticed choices that all of us make (or do not make), day in and day out? How important are those “little” choices?

They are exceptionally important. It may be the big choices in life that set the direction for where we’re going, but it is the little choices that get us there.

Our loftiest goals become nothing more than unfulfilled dreams in life that fall by the wayside if we do not just as carefully make, and act on the smaller choices along the way. What do the little choices look like? I’ll give you some examples.

Here is a list of 100 choices. Some of them seem important; others seem so insignificant that we might wonder how they could be important at all. But each of them makes up some part of what we call “life.”

As you read through this list, notice that any one of the choices, no matter how seemingly insignificant, affects something about us; what we do, how we spend our time, what we think and how we think, how we feel, what we like or dislike, what works for us and what does not.

Each of us makes tens of thousands of choices in a lifetime.” A few of them are mentioned below. This book looks like it was written in 1989, so keep that in mind when wondering why you don’t see references to email, computer games, the internet, or social networking sites. Remember, these are just some choices. Emphasis on the word some.

Your 100 Most Important Choices:

1 – Who you spend most of your time with

2 – How you comb your hair

3 – What your favorite foods are

4 – What you eat most often

5 – How often you call home

6 – The books you read

7 – Your posture

8 – How much or how little you smile

9 – What you watch on television and how much you watch

10 – Your hobbies

11 – How much you exercise

12 – Whether you argue more than you should

13 – The style and color clothes you wear

14 – Who you invite to a party

15 – Whether you write letters

16 – Which telephone calls you return

17 – The appearance of your home

18 – How long something stays broken before you fix it

19 – How late you stay up at night

20 – What time you get up in the morning

21 – How well you listen to others

22 – Whether you smoke

23 – Whether you gossip

24 – How well you are able to concentrate

25 – The political candidates you vote for

26 – Whether you like or fear computers

27 – How fast you drive

28 – How much risk you are willing to take

29 – Whether you save money

30 – Whether you are a leader or a follower

31 – The amount of time you spend with your kids

32 – How organized you are

33 – Whether you go to church

34 – Whether you belong to a social or service organization

35 – How often you change shoes

36 – Who you admire most

37 – How often you are late for something

38 – What you do about a traffic ticket

39 – Who pays the bills in your household

40 – Who decides what to have for dinner

41 – How much time you give yourself to get ready in the morning

42 – What you do at the end of the day

43 – What you drink, if, and how much

44 – Where you buy your groceries, and why

45 – How calm you are

46 – Whose opinions you ask for

47 – How you handle problems at work

48 – Whether you attend concerts or cultural events

49 – How often you eat out

50 – How interested you are in other people

51 – How you show your emotions

52 – What newspapers or magazines you read

53 – Whether you give free advice

54 – What kind of car you drive, and what shape it’s in

55 – How you react to negative attitudes or opinions from others

56 – What sports you participate in

57 – How you spend your holidays

58 – How important it is for you to follow the trend

59 – How much time you spend talking to your spouse or mate

60 – How important you feel you are

61 – How you use credit cards

62 – How you look at problems in the past

63– How you treat or relate to members of the opposite sex

64 – How often you feel sorry for yourself

65 – Who upsets you the most

66 – Whether you like a challenge

67 – Who controls the conversation

68 – How you feel about world problems

69 – What you think about while you’re getting ready in the morning

70 – How much you worry

71 – How much patience you have

72 – How many compliments you give

73 – What gets you angry

74 – How often you almost run out of gas in the car

75 – What you do when you don’t get your way

76 – How much you spend, and on what

77 – How often you criticize

78– How happy you are

79 – How you feel about what other people think of you

80 – How often you do not tell the truth, and why

81 – How you take care of yourself

82 – How much you respect yourself

83 – How often you complain

84 – How often you have to be reminded of something

85 – Who you talk to when you have a problem

86 – How you leave your desk or work space at the end of the day

87 – What movies you attend

88 – How often you get a haircut

89 – How often you have friends visit

90 – How much encouragement you give to others

91 – How polite you are

92 – When you do your Christmas shopping

93 – What you think about, when you have time to think

94 – How much time you take to sell your ideas

95 – Whether you eat breakfast

96 – How you feel when you come home from work

97 – What you do when you’ve made a mistake

98 – What you do when someone else has made a mistake

99 – How you react to being stuck in a traffic jam

100 – What you think about just before you go to sleep at night


Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s website is: http://www.shadhelmstetter.com


You might also like: The 3 Decisions that Control Your Destiny
26 Quotes on Choices

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