I wholeheartedly believe that this past year has been an opportunity to grow as an individual and the way I approach each and every day. I think I approach challenges in new ways and look at difficulties with a new attitude. It might be an exaggeration to say that it has been a "life changing" experience.. but I do know that there are four key words that come to mind as I reflect on The Daily Challenge project that I began just one year ago. (As a side note, in some ways it feels like this year has been a lifetime, and in others I can hardly believe that I am sitting here, already one year later, creating a reflection blog post! Time truly does fly.)
When I think of the importance of staying upbeat and optimistic, four key things come to mind: People, Perception, Positivity, and Passion. Allow me to elaborate...
- People: Believe in them. It's as simple as that. I've found that looking for, seeing, and finding the best in people, oftentimes has a better ending than doubting them. I believe in the power of humanity as a whole and the overwhelming good of the human race (do you remember witnessing the world coming together after the devastation in Haiti? It was a phenomenal and powerful event that proved the world is a good place after all.) I think it is also important to remember the powerful effect we all have on each other. A good attitude can spread like wildfire (and unfortunately, so can a bad one), and it is important to share the love, cheer, and happiness that we all seek in our everyday interactions. From something as simple as a kind text to a close friend or leaving a post-it on a stranger's door, I think there are many things that we can do to share the love that we have for one another. I found that during some of the toughest times the only thing that can lift me back up is my friends and family members, and sometimes even strangers! Sometimes, (and this is really tough to do), you have to rely on others to pick you up when you're down; and remember to pass it along to someone else in need. Believe in people, love them, and create a chain reaction of positivity with all people you encounter.
- Perception: Picture this, two people experience the same event (for example, a job loss), the first person is devastated and convinced that it is the end of the world, there are obviously no options left; the second person takes this event as an opportunity to reevaluate their career path and personal goals and is proactive in finding a solution. So who has the happy ending? This brings me to my point - every event, and I mean literally every single one, can have multiple outcomes purely based on how you interpret it. If everything that happens in a given day is just awful, terrible, and you find yourself a victim of Murphy's Law over and over again, maybe it's time to reassess how you are perceiving the situation. We can all be victims of things - trivial daily things even - or we can triumph and overcome these obstacles and move on. It is usually easier to admit defeat - isn't that the case with most things? No one said hard work was easy. But the real victory is shifting your perception with events and occurrences that you encounter to see things in an uplifting way. You don't have to be a victim of life! Challenges become opportunities - road blocks become new avenues - failures become chances to start something new... etc. Suddenly everything in the world looks brighter and more beautiful! Each moment is a gift and it's important to remember that our moments are limited.
- Positivity: Ok so you may be wondering, isn't "positivity" the entire point of this blog? Well yes, in fact it is, and that is why I think it is imperative that it is included in the four key words! Positivity, more specifically having a positive and optimistic attitude and outlook to each day, is absolutely the most important thing. It's not easy to wake up each morning with a smile or to sit in traffic patiently, or to accept a less-than-perfect grade on a paper, but the point is that life goes ON! Believe it or not, in spite of how you approach each day, time continues to pass and we ultimately have two options: let life happen to us (and continue to harbor negative attitudes) or LIVE LIFE and stay positive and share that with others. There is no better remedy for loving each moment than staying positive. I will continue to recognize the fact that with life there will come unexpected events - tragedies, disappointments, etc. and these are facets of life that we will encounter and must be prepared to endure. I believe that in times of these events the most important thing for yourself, and those who surround you, is to maintain an optimistic attitude about what is to come. Ups and downs are a natural occurrence for everyone, but I stand by the fact that you don't have to be a "victim" in these situations.
- Passion: Last but not least, one of my favorite of the four words, passion. Whether it is your career, your studies, a new hobby, a recent interest, your family, or a loved one, you must be passionate about something in life! Life is too short to be disinterested and disengaged. Passion can endure the toughest things and is often an outlet for stored up energy that needs to find its way out. Using myself as an example, I can think of several times where I was busy or "stressed" and needed a way to vent my energy to minimize negativity in my life. It was during these times I turned to one of several things - my blog (I'm not sure if it's apparent, but my passion lies in writing and sharing positivity with others!), art (I enjoy painting when I have the chance), discovering new musicians (I love nothing more than finding a new band that I can share with my friends), researching social media trends (yes, it is nerdy but I love a good "top 10 tips for Twitter" list!), working out (I love a good run or bike ride after a long day in class or at work.) Without these things, and my passion for them, I have no idea how I would have made it through the past year! I am convinced that as humans it is in our nature to be passionate in life to drive our energy toward the greater good. Imagine for one second a world without passion - what would people do?! No one would ever care to excel at work or in school, people would live isolated and alone, and everyone would be bored out of their mind! Ok that is an extreme version - but regardless, my point is that I think it is important to have things that bring happiness to your life and those around you.
Alright so that was a pretty long winded response to what has been on my mind, but I figured after a two week hiatus it was only appropriate that I provided some good content! I will continue to expand on this list over the next week or so.. and in doing so I ask you to share what you think the top words or phrases are that drive positivity in your own life? What do you think of when you take a step back and evaluate optimism and how you meet "The Daily Challenge" of staying upbeat?
Share your stories at TheDailyChallengeBlog@gmail.com.
All my love,