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You Have More Control Than You Think
Jeff Keller

courtesy: S.S. Mani of Kalakad.org

I arrived at the doctor's office at 7:30 a.m. for a routine check-up and was invited to take a seat in the waiting area. About five minutes later, the doctor's assistant, a young woman who appeared to be in her 20s, called my name and asked me to accompany her to the examining room.

As I entered the room, she smiled and said, "Good morning, how are you today?" I responded, "Terrific" and then asked her, "And you?" She replied, "Good so far, but it's still early." I'm sure you know exactly what she meant. Nothing had happened yet to ruin her day. But she was leaving open the possibility that something negative would occur to change her mood.

I'm not here to criticize this woman. When I was her age, my attitude was a lot worse than hers. Furthermore, I thought precisely as she did - that my attitude was determined by the events that unfolded or the people who crossed my path that day.

Fortunately, about 20 years ago, I began to realize that I had it all wrong. Rather than being reactive, I decided to become proactive. I took control over my own attitude by reading and listening to positive input every day.

Slowly but surely, I gave up the knee jerk reaction of being negative or frustrated when things didn't go as I pleased. Instead, I was able to make a different choice, regardless of outside conditions. While I wasn't exempt from disappointments, I now had the ability to deal with them more constructively.

What helped drive the point home to me was this: I observed that many people were having a wonderful day even though I knew they were facing challenges. For example, many people in wheelchairs were smiling and happy while others in good health and with full mobility were miserable.

Then there were those who were happy even though they had very little money and were fortunate just to have a roof over their heads and enough food to eat, while others with considerable wealth and a lovely home were unhappy because they couldn't afford to buy a larger home.

If you think carefully, you'll come to the inescapable conclusion that people have the ability to choose to have a great day, a bad day or something in between. Happiness is indeed a choice. This is something that each person has the power to control, yet only a small percentage of the people in the world exercise this power in a way that serves them.

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