The people of the United States are about to elect a new President. Who that will be may feel to you like a new beginning, or perhaps the beginning of the end! Like all things in our lives, the story you tell about everything, from the impact of the new president, to the economy, to how you live your own, personal life – truly determines the life you will create.
As an expert in positive psychology, I know one thing for certain: my story, your story, and everyone’s story is written one word at a time, one sentence at a time, and thankfully it is always in a state of personal edit. How any story will unfold over time and end is truly within our individual control. We are not victims, we are powerful participants.
It was apparent in January that the “talk” about the economy — and specifically real estate — was very, very negative. I accepted I could not change that conversation in a large way, but I became determined to find a way to use my expertise and to help teach everyone I could reach to re-craft the conversation.
So when I designed my most recent conference on positive psychology in Prescott, Arizona, I decided to talk about and attract speakers who had lived through great trauma or difficulties that made their lives powerful examples of how we choose the story that we live with each and every word we speak.
Today, no matter who you are, you are challenged to examine the story you tell yourself and others about your life. I challenge you to find and to truly listen to those inspirational people you know in your own life that have overcome great hardship and made incredible lives anyway. Ask yourself, “If they can thrive after what they have experienced, what action can I take to thrive in my situation?”
If you don’t have inspirational people around you, turn to your local library and discover them with ease. From lives we are well familiar with, like Helen Keller, to those we have yet to meet, the stories of those who author incredible and joyous lives, despite great obstacles, are everywhere. Consider the author of, “Pain, Power & Promise.” Nanette M. Oatley was a vibrant 22-year-old athlete and dancer, when an accident left her paralyzed. Her story goes far beyond what we would expect as she celebrates her journey back into professional athletic competition and her personal triumphs as a friend, wife, mother and business woman. She shares her never-give-up attitude toward achieving personal and professional goals and inspires us to reach beyond our own obstacles.
Books like these are abundant. Because those who have survived and thrived, no matter what, are eager to share their inspiration with others. We need to be eager to listen and learn.
Learning to recraft our language to embrace our positive power, instead of our perceived limitations and circumstances, is a must in our life journey. The words we speak are a roadmap to our actions, to our thoughts, to how we effect others, and to accessing and creating our own happiness.
Remember, real success begins when we begin to author and articulate our own definition of personal happiness.