Monday, March 15, 2010

Reading Material for the Chutes & Ladders of Life

Here's a list of directives from the ZenHabits blog on how to be a positive person. Like a lot of these types of suggestions, they include nothing new under the sun, but it's the implementation that's the hard part:

Realize it’s possible, instead of telling yourself why you can’t.
Become aware of your self-talk.
Squash negative thoughts like a bug.
Replace them with positive thoughts.
Love what you have already.
Be grateful for your life, your gifts, and other people.
Every day.
Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
But be inspired by them.
Accept criticism with grace.
But ignore the naysayers.
See bad things as a blessing in disguise.
See failure as a stepping stone to success.
Surround yourself by those who are positive.
Complain less, smile more.
Image that you’re already positive.
Then become that person in your next act.

I've been reading The Happiness Project, too, and she also has her own list of twelve resolutions to live by, and her blog readers write in with many more.

I too work on creating my guiding principles each year when I do my yearly goals - the method I use has you focus on three guidelines for the year that you set for yourself.

It seems like I've been working on this for years - trying to assemble a comprehensive list of guiding principles based on wisdom gained from my own or other people's experience - the Gospel of Liklik, if you will. I probably have pages and pages of these scattered over the various notebooks of the years. Perhaps this blog is a good place to try to assemble a comprehensive collection? An ongoing work.

I often find myself wishing for my own version of "scriptures" to read over when I'm feeling at a loss or particularly un-wise. I'm afraid that actual scriptures, while replete with many useful nuggets, are rather abstruse to parse through when you're looking for a quick hit of inspiration.

I do in fact have a binder I started in college to be my own little Book of Comforts. I collected in it poems, clippings, quotes I copied, things I printed off the internet - but after it filled up I kind of gave up on a second volume. The first is rather worse for the wear after a run-in with cat puke.

Ever since karaoke a couple week's ago I've had a line from Destiny's Child stuck in my head: "If I surround myself with positive things..." - that's kind of where I'm at right now. Another blog I was reading spoke about paying attention to what you're giving your attention to. Trying arrange for myself a feedback loop of the positive, the inspiring, the good.

And I should qualify, I don't mean smarmy fake positive. I mean gritty, earthy, maintaining-my-belief-in-the-human-spirit-against-all-odds positive. A positivity that can stand with composure in the face of earthquakes and devastation, poverty, injustice, unfathomable loss. A hard-won, single-weed-growing-out-of-the-concrete-cracks type positive.

And also the kind of positive that says yes, embrace all the chutes and ladders of life, believe in your own possibilities, your capacity for joy and bringing joy to others and survival and the capability to overcome and accomplish and thrive.

To life! And also, back to work, to make good on all this grandiose talk of positivity and self-actualization.

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