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When It's Time to Face Facts

Does Your Life Need Fixing?

No matter how "out-of-whack" your life seems to be, it can be fixed so that it is functional again. I firmly believe that. Just as a broken-down car can be made road-worthy again, so your life can be made to work again.

Simple Guidelines

Can Cottage Industry Save the American Economy?

The American economy and society as a whole just may be saved by a large-scale and wholehearted return to cottage industry.  The very conditions that are killing off giant corporations and large-scale manufacturing may be opening the door to profitable home-based careers and family-run businesses — to an extent not seen in this country for nearly a century.  more...

As with any other kind of repairs, there are some simple rules:

1. Take full responsibility. Don't waste time blaming other people for the mess your life is in. Decide right now: Are you only the victim of other people, and of some strange power they have over your life? Or do you have the ability to make your own choices and take action?

2. In taking responsibility, don't waste time blaming yourself and listing all the wrong choices you've ever made. Every living creature makes mistakes and wrong choices. Sometimes we simply act out of ignorance, not understanding the full impact our actions will have on others — and on our own future. Sometimes we do know right from wrong, and choose to do the wrong thing anyway. Welcome to the human race. To make wrong choices along the way is human.

3. Understand the power of ideas, words, choices, and actions. What you think about people, about yourself, and about life makes a big difference. People often succeed in life not according to how much money or power they have, but because of how they see themselves and the world. Many "rich" people "assume" that they will succeed, and so they often do. And whenever they fail, they become determined (they get mad) and try again, because they refuse to accept ultimate failure as an option. Many "poor" people give up right away when they experience small failures along the way, because they assume they're going to fail anyway. On the other hand, many, many, many folks who were born and raised as "poor people" achieve great things and become very, very successful.  Why? Because they refused to see themselves as ultimate failures.

4. Any repair involves creative problem-solving: the kind that every human being is born with. What sets us apart from all the other species of life on earth is our ability to keep working at a problem until we finally figure it out. We're not the only intelligent species. Many other creatures exhibit the ability to learn and even solve problems. But we are the best at the task. Creative problem-solving is what we're famous for. (Just ask us.)  And that's a good thing, because we often make a mess of things first, and then we have to figure out how to correct the problems we created.

5. The goal is to solve the problem, not to simply say that we tried (and failed).  Fixing anything involves effort. When we get an idea of how to fix this or that, we must then act on it to see if it works. Until we take action, until we put forth the effort needed, nothing gets fixed. Every problem waits for us to apply the solution. If our first ideas don't work, then we need to adjust our ideas, based on what we learned in earlier attempts, and try a new approach.

6. Every problem has at least one truly good solution. Every failed attempt at finding a good solution is worthwhile if we gain more understanding of the problem. Every life can be made to work better as long as we're still breathing and willing to make the repairs.  The fact that you may have failed, so far, in working things out does not mean that you will continue to fail.  You are closer to finding the answer now than you have ever been. 

7. If a thing (anything, at all) is worth doing, then it is worth doing — so do it. Every goal that makes things better is worth reaching. The very best goals are those which benefit everyone, or at least those around you. But even if it seems that only one life is made whole again by reaching your goal, and even if that one life is yours, then the goal is worth every effort put into it.  Repairing a human life is the best goal of all.

8. Every day spent on reaching the goal of fixing your life is a good day, a day well spent. Some days may show little or no discernable progress. That doesn't matter, so long as the day was spent doing what must be done to reach the goal. If all you do today is dig a ditch, or haul garbage to the dump, or build a fence, or wash dishes, or mop floors, then the day is a great day so long as that work is helping to bring you closer to the goal of getting your life back in shape.

9. Keep a written record or scrapbook of your progress. If you can't write, then draw a simple picture of every step you take in reaching your goal. Record every success. Make a journal that you can go over when things get you down. And things will get you down, now and then. So prepare now for the days when things seem to be going backwards. There are days when it's hard to tell if we are doing the right thing or not. Everyone faces days like that. But if you're still working at making your life whole again, then you're still on the right track.

10. Grasp the importance of joy, honest celebration, and real gratitude. Joy and celebration do not come in a bottle, in a pouch, or in a pill. Real joy is far superior to the artificial high offered by alcohol, stimulants or drugs. Real celebration comes when a person learns to recognize the good things in life. Gratitude for good things is an important part of any meaningful life. When repairing a car, one does not rip out all the parts that work properly. In our lives, we must acknowledge what is good and right in order to properly single out things that need fixing. Be thankful. Celebrate your victories, even when they seem small. Allow joy to overcome discouragements and delusions of failure.
 


Allow Others to Misunderstand

Life is complex and most of us have lives that are interwoven with many others. Don’t be discouraged, shocked or upset when family or friends seem to reject the efforts you put into fixing your life. Some people may feel threatened by the improvements you're making. If they've given up all hope, for example, in repairing their own lives, they won't want anyone else to “show them up” or make them feel guilty for not trying. Even successful people are sometimes made jealous by the success of others (as though you must stay down in order for them to stay on top). 

And to be fair, people may not know they can believe you this time, if you've promised before to do better.  Be prepared for mixed reactions.

Most people simply don’t understand when they see someone making big changes in their lives. And some folks just find it hard to believe anything truly “good” can ever happen to anyone they know. This is common to human nature. It means nothing at all, except that you may not find much encouragement from those you know and care about.

Be patient with them. They will usually begin to come around once they see lasting changes in your life. Those who may seem to be against you at first often become your biggest cheering section later on. Give it time.  After all, no one is perfect.

Placing Things In Perspective

Every human life is important. There are good things in this world that only you can do, and right things that only you can accomplish. The world needs your success. For example, other people will be inspired when they see you turning things around in your life. But the biggest and most important reason for positive change in your life is you. Do it for yourself.

No matter who or what seems to stand against you, keep going. It may truly seem at times that God Himself is against you. But God never stops anyone from making things right in their hearts, minds and lives. Don’t allow frustrations, small (or even big) disappointments, economics, or anything else to keep you from going forward. Choose each day to do the right thing, no matter what life seems to throw at you.
 

Jim Sutton

 

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This page last edited 04/17/14

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