Conference provides a great opportunity to reflect and recommit ourselves to a better path. But truth be told, every single day holds the same opportunity. Each day provides a new opportunity to consider your ways and act to change your life.
Consider your time
We all have the same 24 hours each day, but we all choose to spend it differently. And how you spend your time reveals what you value most in life.
Me? I’ve always been a big fan of sleep. There’s no way it’s overrated. It’s fantastic! But you can pursue many things to excess, and sleep is no exception. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the admonition in D&C 88:124 to “arise early.” I’m actually still working on that.
But I’ve found, when I can do it, an early start radically changes the entire day. I’m way more productive, producing more value more easily. I feel more focused and energized throughout the day. And at the end of the day, I’m just more satisfied with myself.
I don’t get those benefits if I prioritize personal playtime and consuming content, and neither will you. If you want your best life, you need to answer these questions: Do you devote more time to worthy causes or frivolous pursuits? Are you the captain of your life’s ship, or do you just float wherever the waves of life take you?
Consider the consequences
Speaking of sleep, what does “retire to thy bed early” mean? I think we each must find our own way. For myself, the sooner I get to sleep, the easier it is to beat the sun up. My body simply takes what sleep it needs, so staying up late doesn’t help me “arise early.” And if I don’t get up early, I won’t get the resultant benefits.
In fact, getting up late usually means getting the exact opposite. I get tons more desire to play and waste the day. If I do manage to drag myself into some productive pursuit, I’m anything but focused. My mind goes all over the map. At the end of the day, I’m left with nothing but the shame of having wasted the day.
On my mission, I heard an African story. Every morning a gazelle awakens. He knows his best chance of escaping the tiger hunting him is to get as much of a head start as he can. But every morning that tiger also awakens. He knows his best chance of eating that day depends on catching the gazelle before he starts running. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a gazelle or a tiger. When the sun comes up, you had better be running.
Consider your needs
Your sleep schedule is just one of many ways you should consider. We should all reflect on what we need to get where we each want to go and then consider getting what we don’t have but need. Sometimes that means gaining new knowledge. Sometimes that means acquiring a new tool. Sometimes that means having the right people in your life. Your Heavenly Father, the Lord, and the Spirit are indispensable members of that support team. Don’t forget to include them in your plans for success.
In the end, you won’t get the most out of life unless you live intentionally. Only by choosing your activities with intention can you get the most juice for your squeeze. And the best intention for your time includes your own personal ministry by which you contribute to making the world a better place.
So consider your ways. Are you making the most of every day? Are you living with intention? I can’t say I always have. But I can say I’ve experienced real joy in living when I’ve consciously chosen how to spend my time to achieve worthy goals. And I’m grateful to be reminded of the opportunity each day brings to consider my ways and make changes where necessary.
If you haven’t considered your ways recently, do so now. You’ll open the door to feeling more satisfied with yourself each and every day. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Language reflects thinking
Now this isn’t the f-bomb many of you are thinking of. This was in sacrament meeting, after all, and the speaker radiated mainstream Mormondom. But how can you understand what I’m talking about without me being just as profane? Since I can’t think of any other way to do it, here goes. The f-bomb she dropped was family ward.
Yes, that phrase is profane. Words mean things. Language matters. And anyone who thinks it doesn’t — that this is just some petty concern — just doesn’t understand how language works and its effect upon people.
Simply put, the language we use reflects the way we think. It expresses culture. And as we’ve discussed often on the broadcast, the traditional culture of the LDS community has revolved around being married with kids. Some singles have kids, but by definition no single is married. So using a phrase like family ward just perpetuates a culture which excludes singles.
The nature of language
This isn’t something that’s just in the heads of LDS singles. Nor is it solely a product of how singles think, something that can be corrected with a change in perspective. For those who think it is, let me tell you about the cookie jar.
Yes, I said the cookie jar. Why do we call the cookie jar a cookie jar? The simple truth is because it’s a jar in which we place cookies. If you take the lid off a cookie jar, you expect cookies to be inside. That’s why it’s called a cookie jar. If there were peanuts inside, you’d call it a peanut jar. If there were bolts inside, you’d call it a bolt jar. That’s just the nature of language. Calling a container a cookie jar is like saying that is where cookies belong.
Family ward works the same way. It says families belong in that congregation, implying that people without full families don’t belong. Again, this isn’t just in singles’ heads. It’s the nature of language, which reflects how we think. And I’ve seen that play out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered marrieds who merely tolerated my presence in their ward. Their attitude definitely said, “You can come here if you want, but you really belong over there in that singles ward. If you do go there and get married, then you can come back and join us here in the main group.”
A higher level of thinking
As I sat there in sacrament meeting, I wondered how I should approach the speaker about her f-bomb. I didn’t really know her personally, nor did I have much opportunity to know her. She and her husband has just moved into the ward. As young as they are, I wanted to believe she said what she said out of ignorance.
In the end, I felt good about approaching her through an email message to her husband. I tried to be delicate and firm at the same time, in the end offering the suggestion to replace that f-bomb with general membership ward or, if that was too much of a mouthful, shorten it to general ward. I also expressed willingness to entertain other suggestions.
I never got a reply to the email. But I can surmise based on comments she made in later weeks in Sunday School that she realized how insensitive she’d been and wanted to change. And I felt satisfied with that.
If you’re still using that vile expression, please stop droppin’ f-bombs. The language we use will reflect what we truly embrace in our thinking. Let’s embrace a more inclusive culture within our LDS community by using language that reflects truly inclusive thinking. When we do, we’ll grow from seeing each other more as God sees us. We’ll benefit more from the contributions we make into each other’s lives. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Looking back on my decision and its outcome, I still have no regrets. But I also have something else, something that I didn't anticipate. Looking back on my trip and my lack of regret for it got me thinking. Why can't it be that way for everything in my life? Why can't I simply decide to live without regret?
Begin with the end
I don't regret my trip because from the start I saw it for what it is. I don't know the future, but I know that, if that opportunity to see my mother would be the last to make memories while she could still recognize me and I didn't take it, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I refused to live with that regret. And so I embraced my travel with the end in mind.
And that's the key. Stephen Covey's first habit of highly effective people is to begin with the end in mind. That speaks to the need to be self-aware. After all, you can't begin with the end you aren't aware of.
That's more than just an awareness you want a life without regret. It's an awareness of the choices you can make today that promote or prevent that end. I didn't know and still don't know whether the opportunity I just took is the last to be with my mother while she still recognizes me. But I do know the potential it had to become such. And I refused to tolerate that possibility.
Become aware and act
It's really not any more complicated than that. Gain an awareness of yourself and the potential your choices have to lead you towards or away from the end you want. And then act accordingly.
That's not just for living life without regret. That's for any end you want in life. Adopting an end in which your life has no regret is just a good place to start. It will give you courage to go farther and pursue your fullest potential, a life without regret, the life that is your best life.
The path that leads you there will of course have challenges. I faced resistance before making my journey to see my mother. My advisor expressed disapproval with my decision to travel home. But I held firm and shared my rationale for my decision. He understood, and we made plans for what would happen after my return.
I don't think everyone will have that experience. Sometimes things won't work out. Sometimes you'll stand your ground, and your challenges will overcome you. But you can always hold your head high knowing you chose to live your life without regret.
Make your choice today
I've made plenty of choices that brought regret into my life. I've known regret in both the short and long term. And now I know it doesn't have to be that way. I can live without regret.
So can you. You can live without regret if you will gain the awareness you need of yourself and your choices to know the end you want and then make those choices that will lead you to that end. That decision won't remove the regret you already have from past choices. Only Christ and His Atonement can do that. But you can decide to embrace the Atonement, just as you can decide that from this moment forward you will live without regret.
So live without regret. Life is too beautiful and time too precious. Don't squander them with choices that will bring regret in any amount. Know yourself, know what you want, and go after it. And every day you don't have it, keep going after it. Don't apologize, don't make excuses, and don't delay any longer. Start living your life without regret today. You'll savor the wonder of living more fully. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
You don’t need a plan
I remember years ago hearing a speaker at a singles conference talk about living in the moment. She encouraged intentional living, saying living with intention can lead you to own your life. I’m a big fan of owning your life, so I was with her that far.
Then the speaker defined intentional to mean having a plan. The joy of living in the moment, she declared, comes from following a plan. And that’s where she lost me, because I couldn’t disagree more.
To act with intention requires a conscious choice. Living with intention therefore means living in the moment. When you consciously choose in the moment what you do, you refuse to let your habits simply play themselves out. That act allows you to embrace life and all the true joy of living.
You don’t need a plan for any of that to unfold for you. All you need is to use the one gift from God we all have — agency. You simply make a conscious choice.
What happiness really is
Happiness comes not from just doing the right things but from giving your all to all the right things for you. Giving your all is a conscious choice. When you choose that path with full awareness and intention, the true joy of being alive can be yours.
Most don’t live like that. They live on autopilot, a life filled with comfort and a sense of stability. But true joy isn’t found in comfort and stability alone. True joy comes from consciously embracing the right things.
I use that word embracing intentionally. You can’t just execute a routine of righteous activity and expect happiness to find you. The happy life doesn’t just come to you because it’s somehow your right or because you’re somehow deserving of it just because of who you are. To get the happy life, you have to make it. That requires consciously choosing the right things. That means getting out of autopilot and its routine living. And that means embracing all the right things for you.
Make your happy life
In the end, your focus always determines your reality. Focusing on what you don’t have and can’t do always brings a reality of scarcity and helplessness. And a life that feels lacking and helpless is never enjoyable.
But the same principle works in the other direction. Focusing on what you do have and can do brings a reality of abundance and empowerment. As you begin to see how richly the Lord has blessed you, you feel gratitude come to you. And life starts feeling joyful.
That focus on what you have now and can do now is key to living in the moment and making the happy life you want. Focusing on the present and not the future is a conscious choice that helps you live with intention. And the gift of agency from a loving Heavenly Father brings that choice within reach of us all.
The happy life doesn’t find you. You find it by making it. And that starts when you start living with intention. Righteous intentional choices lift what you do to a new level because in so doing you give your all to the right things. And when you give your all to the right things, life in return gives back to you all the joy and satisfaction of a life well lived.
You’ll always get what you give, so give your all to the right things for you and get the life that’s right in all ways for you. You can breathe with confidence, walk with boldness, and bring your focus away from the future and more to the present moment. You’ll then open yourself to a life you can savor regardless of your circumstances. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Yet in other respects, I feel like I’m worse, especially when compared with what I’d expect to be at this point in my life. As I think about why I’m where I am, I realize I’m no different than anyone else. We do what we want.
Tony Robbins once said, “Change is never a matter of ability. It’s always a matter of motivation.” If you really want to make a change in life, you simply make the change. It’s never a matter of ability because, if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to do it.
So despite the volume of our protestations, we all do have the life we really want. My life is where it is because that’s where I want it to be. I see a change I think I want in my life, and I think I want it because it appears to give me something desirable. But in reality I have the life I truly desire most, because results come only from actions, and I chose the actions that have given me the results I have.
Still, I keep returning to the question of making changes in my life because what I have truly desired does not completely satisfy. Why then do I not make the changes that will give me that different life? I have ability to change but not sufficient motivation. I’m just too comfortable where I am now.
I think many of us live in this same rut. We don’t really do what we need to do to achieve positive change because we’re far too comfortable with out present life. Pursuing positive change opens the door to problems and challenges involving pain and confusion. I think all of us have enough of those not to want any more.
At the same time, there’s no reward without risk. You can’t really feel the deep joy of love without opening your heart to betrayal and loss. You can’t lose weight without exposing yourself to pain and discomfort a new diet might bring or to the exhaustion and injury that exercise can inflict. You can’t experience the good results from being out in the world without exposing yourself to the bad things that happen to people every single day.
Many of us sense these risks and pull away. We want safe, sure, guaranteed. So we stay in our comfort zones, yearning to get out but never wanting to do what will get us out. We’re just not motivated enough. We’re doing what we want.
So how then do you get motivated enough to change? I think we’ll all have our own answer, but I do see one common thread that could tie all those individual answers together. You get to a point where you won’t tolerate not having the change any longer.
You just get sick and tired of being sick and tired. You make a decision — a real decision, one in which you cut yourself off from every possible outcome except the one you pre-determine. You put your all into producing the actions that will produce that pre-determined result. And to keep yourself motivated, you surround yourself with like-minded go-getters who’ll support you in going after your best life.
Not everyone will do that, but either way, we do what we want. We have the results we have because of the action we’ve taken, and we take that action because that’s what we really want to do. If you really want to do something different that’ll produce different results in your life, then you’ll do that. Hitting rock bottom could be the greatest blessing ever, because there you can more easily find your motivation to do something different. As you then decide not to tolerate anything less than your absolute best, you’ll get yourself on the path to your absolute best life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
How did friendship come to be so bad? That’s totally upside down. Friendship is good, and when you understand the fundamentals of the dating journey, you can easily see you do want the Friend Zone.
Understand your journey
It’s hard to get anywhere in any journey without having a good map and then getting your bearings on that map. That’s what knowing the fundamentals of the dating journey does. They provide that good map and help us get our bearings.
One of those fundamentals is understanding the different stages. And the first stage of the dating journey is the Friendship stage. You’re in this stage when you first meet someone, and you’ll be in this stage until you start dating. In this stage, there’s no commitment of either party to each other; anyone can come and go as they please. That lack of commitment is necessary to foster each person opening up enough to let someone else know them better, which you need to foster true friendship.
Friendship is the foundation of all successful long-term relationships. That’s why the Friendship stage is the first stage of the dating journey. Without friendship, a married couple won’t have the stamina to get through the difficult times and challenges that sooner or later come to every marriage. If you want to build something that lasts, begin with a solid foundation.
Be where you are
The Friendship stage is where building that solid foundation starts. You don’t necessarily need to have that foundation completed before proceeding to the next stage. In fact, you’ll be building that foundation of friendship all along your dating journey. But you should have the core established before going further.
Many singles encounter difficulty in their dating journey when they try to rush it. Seeing singleness as something to escape, they want it over as quickly as possible. That propensity to rush leads them to think they’re in one stage when they’re really in another.
Singles progress more effectively through their dating journey when they consciously choose to be in the stage where they are. You may want to be dating someone, but if you’re in the Friendship stage, then be there. That doesn’t mean you don’t look for opportunities to date. It means you focus on friendship building skills you’ll need when you’re with whoever you do eventually marry.
So when you’re in the Friendship stage, be in the place where you are. Focus on building friendships and enjoying people for who they are and what they have to offer without any expectation of getting something in return. There’s no commitment in this stage of the dating journey, so you don’t have to accept anything you don’t like.
Enjoy the journey more
When you focus on being where you are, what was once complex and confusing becomes simple and clear. Truly being in the place where you are allows you to let go of worries and concerns about the future. You can’t cross a bridge until you get to it, so focus on crossing when you get there.
Being in the place where you are also allows you to experience more joy in your journey. Because you’ve pushed aside concerns about future stages for when you’re actually in those stages, you’ve cleared the space for more joy to come into your life. You can learn to enjoy people for who they really are without concerns about what they might offer you in return. The friend zone then changes from the equivalent of some God-forsaken wasteland to a wonderful paradise of plenty where life just becomes enjoyable. And isn’t that what we all really want in the end?
Yet whatever the cause or extent of injustice, there’s hope. Though not speaking directly to singles, Elder Renlund taught the best way for singles to confront the injustice in their lives — find peace in Christ. He knows our wounds from infuriating unfairness and can heal our hurt. When we embrace the Prince of Peace, we can have faith He’ll right every single wrong.
The peace we seek in a world of infuriating injustice begins inside. Once we get good with ourselves on the inside, we can then turn to help others on the outside. And in helping others become better, we ourselves become better.
That process can’t begin anywhere but on the inside. The strength needed to follow the Savior’s example in serving others comes only from within. Only by getting good with you on the inside can you be in position to strengthen and uplift others.
That requires dealing with unfairness in your life productively. Of course, Christ offers the most productive way of confronting any challenge in life. And so, Elder Renlund points us to the Savior:
The Lord understands what it’s like to carry your burden. He can make your burden light because He’s already carried it. His life wasn’t exactly free of injustice, and the Atonement brought to Him whatever suffering you’ve experienced that wasn’t in His life. He willingly carried all that burden because of His love for you.
And because of that love and willingness to accept your sufferings — burdens which weren’t at all fair He should carry — you can trust Him He’ll support you in this present world and someday somehow correct whatever injustice you experience.
He’ll also help you find advantage in that injustice. As the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi taught, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Every obstacle you face must therefore also come with its opposite. What’s the opposite of an obstacle but an opportunity? So there must be an opportunity with every obstacle.
Likewise, every injustice must come with its opposite. If an injustice is something horribly wrong, then its opposite must be something fantastically right — a delight, a joy, a thrill, a gratification. So every injustice must come with a gratification.
The gratification that comes might not relate at all to the injustice. But one gratification we can all have from whatever injustice we experience is that which comes from supporting someone else in similar circumstances. Elder Renlund spoke of this:
Your injustice gives you an experience by which you can extend compassion and support to others with similar experience. The never-marrieds who experience injustice in the search for eternal companionship as well as those experiencing injustice in divorce or being widowed can reach out to other LDS singles with similar experience. You can leverage your injustice to lift others higher.
That means every confrontation you have with injustice presents you with a choice. You can retreat into yourself and become embittered. Or you can give of yourself and become empowered.
You make your choice with your focus. Focusing on how wronged you’ve been creates a reality of wrong, which leads to bitterness. Focusing on how you can leverage the injustice to help others creates a reality of hope, which leads to empowerment.
We all know which choice is better. As Elder Renlund counseled,
Though the injustice you face may make it easy to feel the Lord has abandoned you, He hasn’t, nor will He ever so long as you turn to Him.
Only the Prince of Peace can grant a fullness of the peace we all seek in the face of injustice. So whatever injustice you face in your life, take the Lord at His word that someday someway He’ll right every wrong you experience, and give Him your burden. When you do, He can heal you and help you leverage your pain for your gain in helping others. Instead of becoming bitter, you become better. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
When the options before you seem untenable, it’s time to get some new ones. Most people simply accept what they’re given, but the truly successful open new doors when the old ones close, even if that means making the new doors themselves. If you feel your dating options are limited or even non-existent, it’s time to expand your horizons, dare to step out, and strike new ground.
Increase your service
The key to increasing your success is thinking probabilistically. Target actions that increase your probability of success. Often that means increasing the likelihood of crossing paths with acceptable prospects. When you know what activities those types of people have in their life, it’s easier to find new opportunities to meet them.
For example, if you want a worthy companion you can take to the temple, you need to cross paths more with temple worthy people. What activities do temple worthy people have in their life? Service is a big one. How do you cross paths more with people who have service in their life? By serving more yourself.
So expand the scope of your service. Really delve into your ministering assignment. Get more active with family history in family history centers. Pray for and be attentive to service opportunities in your ward. Spend more time in the temple. My grandfather met his second wife while serving in the temple.
You get more opportunity to meet quality people when you cross paths more often with quality people. The probability you’ll do that increases substantially when you position yourself for that crossing to happen. And the best way to do that is to identify what the people you want to meet do in their lives and then do the same things in yours.
Leverage social media
The advent of social media offers an amazing opportunity to do just that. The business model social media platforms use lets you leverage them for free. And when you understand the fundamentals of the dating journey, leveraging social media for dating becomes quite natural.
Too many LDS singles frustrate their own progress by thinking huge commitment when considering dating. They aren’t being in the place where they are. The dating journey has various stages, each with more commitment than the one before. The first stage, Friendship, has zero commitment. Guess what stage you’re in when you first meet someone? Yep, Friendship. So focus on building friendship when you meet people since that’s the stage you’re in.
Join groups that attract the type of people you want to meet, get active in group discussions, and you’ll increase your probability of crossing paths with quality prospects. Then be in the place where you are — whatever stage of the dating journey you’re in — as you get to know people. Your journey will go better when you’re in the place where you are.
Adopt a personal ministry
My final suggestion I’ve mentioned before. Long-time audience members will recognize my encouragement to adopt a personal ministry. Find some contribution of goodness you can make, and then devote yourself to making that contribution.
Adopting a personal ministry makes you a more interesting person, which in turn makes you more attractive in dating. And the people who’ll cross your path as you perform your personal ministry are more likely to be quality prospects interested in devoting themselves to causes similar to the one you embrace with your personal ministry. What a wonderful foundation for a friendship that could grow into a wonderful foundation for marriage!
If you’re frustrated with the dating options LDS singles typically pursue, expand your horizons by imagining new options that approach dating in different ways while still based in the fundamentals of what you’re trying to do. We all have opportunities all around us, and when we embrace new and different ways of thinking, we can see more of those opportunities and then take advantage of them. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
As I watched the film again recently, I couldn’t help but think about dating. Johnny Lingo saw in Mahana something no one else saw. Where everyone else saw an ugly woman worthy of mockery, Johnny Lingo saw a woman so beautiful everyone would remember her as such forever. The obvious parallels to dating invite us to see others as they could be and not just as they are. And indeed, we can make more progress in our dating journey when we see with Johnny Lingo eyes.
Exercise your influence
Perhaps the most important dating lesson here is the influence we have over our own dating journey. What we think of ourselves truly makes the biggest difference.
Many LDS singles think other people determine their progress in dating. I used to be one of those, but not any more. Now that I understand my influence over the choices others make, I no longer have the victim mentality that once drove me to blame others for why I’m single.
Johnny Lingo certainly didn’t have a victim mentality. He could have easily chosen to court another woman. All the single women in the island village had their eyes on him. And Mahana thought so poorly of herself she preferred hiding in a tree over facing her suitor.
But Mahana changed her tune after Johnny Lingo exercised his influence. He didn’t make her change how she thought of herself. Rather, he invited her to do so by thinking better himself of her and acting in accordance with that perspective. He exercised his agency to influence others to choose in his favor. That’s a powerful lesson we can apply in our own dating journey.
Walk beside them
Johnny Lingo saw in Mahana the beautiful woman she really was. And he helped her to see that for herself so she could release that beauty for all to see. He truly walked with her.
So often in dating, we look at potential prospects solely as what they are today. We then assume they’ll always be that way and judge accordingly. And we certainly don’t do anything to help others become what they could be. It’s much easier to reject them then walk with them towards their potential.
That wasn’t Johnny Lingo’s attitude. If he’d taken that approach and viewed Mahana as the ugly woman everyone else saw, he’d have chased after some other woman in the village. But Johnny Lingo saw Mahana as she could be. And he walked by her side to help her get there. In the end, that approach resulted in his wife being the most desirable woman on the island.
Adjust your vision
What if we took that approach to dating? What if we started seeing each other with Johnny Lingo eyes? How different would dating be for us?
Instead of seeing people as they are now, try seeing people as they could become and asking, “If this person were to achieve his or her potential, how attractive of a prospect would he or she be then?” Johnny Lingo didn’t judge Mahana based on what she presented before he married her. He judged her based on what he knew she could become, and he helped he get there. That’s what he married, not the ugly girl hiding in a tree, but the beautiful woman who would elicit the admiration of all who saw her.
We LDS singles need to adopt this approach in dating. We need to see with Johnny Lingo eyes. When we do, we’ll see more opportunity all around us. We’ll make more progress in our dating efforts. And we’ll enjoy both our single and our married lives more. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
How many of us are doing that? How many of us are taking the action needed to improve our lives? Again, only action produces results. And it doesn’t matter how undesired your reality is today. You can flip any reality into something better when you flip your focus.
More than just seeing
Some may find that a bold claim. If you’re engulfed in your own negative experience, you’ll rightly wonder how simply looking at something different can change anything. But we’re talking here about focusing, not just looking.
Just because you look at something doesn’t mean you’re focused on it. When you drive a car, for example, you’ll look ahead for the most part because that’s the direction you’re going. But occasionally, you look in your mirrors to get a sense of what’s around you. That’s part of safe driving. But how safe would you be looking mostly in your rear view mirror? You’d find driving your vehicle safely difficult if you did that.
That’s the difference between focusing and seeing. Everyone has undesired experiences in life. Simply looking at them won’t create a negative reality. Only when you constantly choose to keep your vision fixed on the negative are you focused on the negative. And a focus on the negative means a reality filled with negativity.
How it actually works
Changing a negative reality is as simple as choosing a positive focus. If a negative reality results from a negative focus, then a positive reality will result from a positive focus. But how exactly does that work?
Many think reality is the collection of what happens to you, but this perspective drives a focus on what others do or don’t do, and the resulting reality is one in which you’re disempowered to change your own life for the better.
What happens to you does play a role in shaping reality, but you play a much larger role with the meaning you assign. You’ll get a certain result depending on your actions. And, yes, other people play a role in determining that result. But whatever the result, you choose what that result means. And that meaning plays a larger role in creating your reality than what others do.
The same undesired experience can come to two different people, and you can find one in complete turmoil and the other in complete peace. The same thing happened to both, so why don’t both have the same reality? It’s because reality is more than just what you experience; it’s also what meaning you choose to give your experience. And the way you assign meaning is through your focus. You choose your focus, and thereby you choose the meaning you assign to your experiences, and thereby you choose your reality.
Stand and own it
When you understand how it all works, the ramifications can overwhelm. If you choose your reality, then the one ultimately responsible if you don’t like your reality is you! That realization usually precedes one of two responses: You’ll either cower back and hide, or you’ll stand up and embrace it.
Cowering can be comfortable, but that choice disempowers you, surrendering you to a victim mentality that keeps you in the prison of always blaming others for why your life isn’t what it should be. But your best life has you empowered with a victor mentality that liberates you. And that’s where the harder choice to stand up and embrace the truth comes in. To have your best life, you must stand and own it.
If you don’t like your current reality, you can flip it when you flip your focus. Stand up, own your life, and start making intentional choices to seize your power of agency and move yourself towards your best life. You’ll feel the empowerment that comes from taking control of your life. You’ll feel the satisfaction that comes from making progress towards your goals. And you’ll learn how to stay positive no matter what negative experiences come your way. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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