I was watching an episode of The Biggest Loser the other day and something one of the contestants said really caught my attention. She was a divorced woman in her mid 30’s, and she was telling the story of how she had tried to have a baby with her ex-husband for about 7 years, but never managed to fall pregnant. She blamed this on the fact that she had always been overweight. As a result of the childless marriage, her husband decided to divorce her, and he subsequently married another woman, with whom he did have children.
The thing that caught my attention was that she said, “the hardest thing for me is the fact that I lost the opportunity and someone else got it instead of me”, or words to that effect.
I can fully understand her feelings and it’s quite natural to feel the way she does, but the fact is that life just doesn’t work like that. I don’t believe in dwelling over lost opportunities, what-ifs, good luck, bad luck, being in the right place at the right time, and so on. All these things come under the umbrella of life, and life is always perfect. There is no right, wrong, good or bad, there’s just perfect. People say that everything happens for a reason, and it does. That reason is that it’s the way it’s meant to happen, because it’s perfect for you. It’s the way it’s meant to be for you.
That woman from The Biggest Loser has no idea how her life would have played out had she fallen pregnant to her husband. Perhaps she would have ended up as an abused wife, or a single mother. Perhaps her child would have been born with some disability. Who knows! She didn’t miss any opportunity. Although she never realized it, there was never an opportunity there, because it just wasn’t right for her.
Life is constant process of change. And every small change from point A to point B is never a straight line, it’s made up of ups and downs. So life itself is a collection of small ups, small downs, big ups, and big downs. There’s nothing we can do about this, they will all happen, no matter what. But what we can do is change how we let them affect us, by choosing where to focus our attention.
If we choose to focus on the downs in our life, we give the downs power. If we choose to focus on the ups, we give the ups power. Which do you think will make our life happier and more successful? If we’re always worried, stressed and sad, it’s because we choose to be, by focusing on the downs in our life. If we we’re always happy, optimistic and calm, it’s also by choice.
I have a close friend whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago, fortunately, in the early stages. This woman is one of the most positive, carefree women you’ll ever come across, and her diagnosis didn’t change that one bit. Each time she went to the hospital for her chemotherapy treatment she would walk in happily greeting everyone as if there was nowhere else she would rather be. She wasn’t putting that face on just to try to stay positive, that was her nature, which developed over years of focusing on the ups of her life, rather than the many downs that she has had.
Throughout her treatment she was never anything other than happy and optimistic, and she has since passed the 5 year point that marks her official remission. She breezed through the whole ordeal and quite frankly, the cancer never stood a chance against her. That’s the power of choosing where to focus your attention. When you understand this concept, you’ll also understand that the downs of your life don’t have to be such a big deal. They’re as big as you make them. Same with the ups.
For many hours each week, we go to work to earn money. With that money we buy things we need, but also things that we enjoy and make us happy – clothes, accessories, a fancy car, big TV, big house, and so on. We sacrifice many hours of our life working for these things, because they make us happy. But the funny thing is, they don’t. We make ourselves happy. These are just things for us to focus on so that we can create the happiness inside us.
But the crazy thing is that we totally ignore the opportunities in our life to create happiness that cost us nothing at all – no money, no time. Wherever I go, to the gym or anywhere else, I try to be as bright and happy as possible. I encourage and compliment people every chance I get, and all that positivity comes right back to me. The other day I saw a neighbor wearing a lovely new dress. It caught my attention because she normally dressed in dull, boring clothes. I told her the dress was lovely and she looked beautiful in it, and it made her so happy. Since then she’s been a friend and great to chat with.
What did that cost me? Nothing! What did I have to sacrifice to get that happiness? Nothing!
The fact is that we choose whether our life is bright or miserable. We choose our moods. We can’t always choose our experiences, but we can choose how to respond to them, so the experiences themselves aren’t that important. Choosing a happy, optimistic life leads to success, in weight loss and in every other area. Getting into shape is tough, and when you’re battling through a torrent of self-imposed pessimism and fear, it becomes practically impossible.
So choose the easy life – choose happiness, and choose success.