Every day we are faced with decisions that are out of our control. Next time you miss that important appointment because the Uber driver got lost, or your grumpy boss is throwing a hissy-fit, remember to chalk it up to chance. You're not responsible.
Here's what you are responsible for, and what you can control: how you respond to your environment and the people in it. This means making some wise choices.
Smart and generally happy people experience greater success because they make those good choices every day, no matter what curve balls life throws their way.
As Tony Robbins says so eloquently, "Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision."
If you're itching to get going on that premise and start exercising good decisions daily, you won't regret it. Begin by incorporating these into your daily routine, and watch what happens...
Choose to leave the past in the past.
So you had a terrible "yesterday." We all do. But if you're still obsessing today (or a week afterwards) over a bad decision or something that went terribly wrong, you're choosing the wrong mental path.
Shark Tank mogul Barbara Corcoran has something to say about this. She says, "The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves."
Accept that failures are part of the learning process as an entrepreneur, learn from them, remember the lessons, put it in the past and move on. That's what successful people do.
Choose to surround yourself with positive people.
As I've written in the past, gossip is one of the most toxic things that can happen to destroy workplace morale, bar none. If you really want to stop being around gossip, put limits on those who do it. Turn down lunch invitations from toxic peers, and walk away from parking lot conversations that go south.
Then seek work relationships with positive people. You'll know them after a while; they're the ones who go on about their business and never get sucked into negativity.
While negative peers are complaining and campaigning with gossip, positive peers are thinking ahead about how to improve a bad situation, taking accountability for their actions, and moving toward contributing to solutions to organizational problems.
Choose to live in peace.
This means peace with others, your current situation, and the path you're on.
My path was a vision, then a business concept, trial and error, investor pitches, trial and error, a startup launch, advice from mentors and sages, more trial and error, and an internal compass that said "this is the path," even if it meant Raisin Bran and Top Ramen for dinner.
Choosing peace allows you to stick to the plan even when the skeptics say you're crazy. Peace blocks distractions that try to derail you from the plan.
Peace means minding your own business, not comparing yourself with others, and being grateful every day for the place you find yourself.
Choose to live happy.
The choice to be happy has long-term psychological benefits. Brain research by Dr. Wataru Sato of Kyoto University says that when you choose positive behaviors (like meditation or forgiveness), you hold the key to rewiring a region of the brain called the precuneus.
By changing your daily habits, you'll be able to control your sense of well-being, purpose, and happiness. I think that's brilliant.
So if you're caught in a vicious circle of nasty emotions like doubt, fear, and uncertainty, replace those emotions by consciously and intentionally choosing happiness, joy, and hope.
Use the tools of meditation, prayer, journaling, and mindfulness to aid you in the process. Check in with close friends and family after two weeks and ask if they have noticed a difference. I would wager a small bet that they have.
Choose to respond instead of react.
We often react when triggered by negative events in the past that cause us to get defensive or act out in fear. Once we get a handle on the root cause of our negative reactions, we can respond with confidence and self-control.
By modeling appropriate and effective communication, you set the example for others to follow as a cultural trait. Remember, when triggered to react, reflect on what's pushing your buttons (the root cause), and choose a "keep calm" approach as you process your emotions for a more tactful response.
What tough decisions have you made to improve your life? Reach out to me on Twitter and leave me a comment.