March 26, 2007

The Choice Is Yours by Mike T. Smith

Filed under: Family — vistab @ 11:37 pm

Every day we are faced with lots of choices. Most of them seem easy with relatively short term effects such as choosing what we are going to wear to the office or what to eat for breakfast. When we drive to work we still control our cars so we choose which route to take. There may be factors such as traffic or an accident but we ultimately make the choice. Other choices have long term effects such as employment, the choice to create a family, where to live. But the truth is most of us are not aware of a choice that we can all make that affects long term and short term, the choice to be happy.

I read about this in a book when I was in college and I immediately knew that this was garbage, psycho-babble 101. After all I was 18 years old and I had life figured out. I knew everything and I knew that your happiness is decided by outside elements that happened in your everyday life and it’s that simple. Good things happening to you meant you had the right to be happy, bad things happening meant you had to act like everyone else. Happiness comes from the outside in but later on in my life I would cross paths with a man who would teach me that this is not true, that true happiness comes from the inside out.

6 years ago I began working with a retired marine named Dayne Flanagan. He always had a smile on his face even when there was really no apparent reason too. He seemed overly happy, but the biggest difference between him and other people I had met who acted this way was that his seemed sincere. I had him figured out. He’s crazy. He was always making people laugh and he was the type of person that people enjoyed being around, full of confidence and wit, charming, always smiling. But you know what? He was the type of person that I wanted to be. Within a few months, we started working together on a few big projects at work so we spent lots of time together at work. I asked him one day, “Dayne, how and why are you always so happy?” His reply, “Because I choose to be.” I thought he was patronizing me. I got mad. I said, “No really I want to know.” He said, “That’s it.” I said, “It is not that easy.” He said “I didn’t say it was.” He explained to me that it is that simple but it is far from easy. It is hard to stay with a good disposition when there are so many bad attitudes around you every single day. We all know that misery loves company, but think about it Mike there really is a good side to everything. I asked him where he had learned to think like that, considering he had spent most of his life in the military and all of the people that he had got a chance to meet his answer shocked me. He smiled and said, “My mom.” He even coined a phrase for this type of positive thinking. He called it “mom speak”.

Honestly I wasn’t immediately receptive to his way of thinking. I was convinced that his way of thinking worked, for him, but that wasn’t me. I am not that type of person and I was not raised to think like this. However he did put me in a different mode of thinking. I started to become a people watcher. I mean I really watched people. I watched every kind of person I saw and how they would react to every situation possible. I noticed something special. I notieced some people can be told that they have only 6 weeks to live and smile and say “That’s all I need, thanks doc for telling me in advance” and live their last days the way they wanted and remember all the good times they had that had made their life so sweet. And on the other hand why is it that I have actually seen someone drop a pencil and use the most colorful language, enough to make sailors blush.

It was a long process that I tried to fight but I learned the truth, life is all about attitude. 10% of life is what happens to you and 90% is how you react to it. Consider this: The Law of Attraction, clearly stats that you will attract people who are just like you. If you complain or walk around with a sour look on your face always complaining about something before you know it you will have a whole bunch of people following you around the mall with that same look on their face complaining about mall parking, the food court, how kids dress, you get the picture. And then you will be saying, “Man what is wrong with these people? Am I like a magnet for unhappy people?” Yes! But if you walk around with a nice sincere smile on your face you will in time surround yourself with these people. Now ask yourself who do you want around you?

So the choice is yours to be happy or to not be happy, sounds a little too easy when it’s put like that doesn’t it? I thanks God that he allowed someone to cross my path who cared enough about me to teach me “mom speak” while I am still in my 20s. I never had the privilege of meeting Dorothy Flanagan she passed away 4 years ago, but her “mom speak” has made such a profound impact on my life and I plan on passing it down to generations below me. Hey I am only 29 so I can still pass it up.


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