Empowerment – Taking Control

Staying Positive

In many of my writings I have been encouraging people to empower themselves by developing a positive attitude and taking control of the situation in which they find themselves. My wife pointed out two articles in our local newspaper discussing two families; one was the Giffords / Kelly family, who recently encountered major trauma in their lives and how they were approaching it. I think a lot of people believe that their options in handling life’s misfortunes are limited. I believe it’s a big mistake to make either this assumption or to assume that life is safe. At best, life is unpredictable and full of challenges BUT anyone can effectively deal with life’s challenges if they are willing to make the effort. How then do we begin to embark on such a course? Do you realize the strength to handle life’s adversities already lies within you? Let me assure you of its existence that becomes most obvious when you look at people who have faced major challenges in their lives. Notable among those individuals are former presidential candidate John McCain who suffered through five years of torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp, Lance Armstrong who returned from a near death experience with cancer to win seven consecutive Tours de France, a physically demanding bicycle race which lasts 21 days and covers over 2200 miles. Elizabeth Edwards who recently passed away after losing her struggle with breast cancer and Eric Weihenmeyer who although blind climbed Mount Everest in 2001 are others to mention only a few. More recently Kevin Everett (Buffalo Bills) and Bob Woodruff (ABC News Anchor) both were seriously injured but found the ability to face and overcome their adversity; and most recently Gabrielle Giffords who continues to show the effects of having a positive attitude and determination. Currently, medical research indicates positive attitude of those injured aids in recovery. To be successful in the short run and in the long run one needs to face life’s challenges directly and with a positive attitude. The sooner you begin, the more successful you will be. Believing you have no control, giving less than your best effort, cutting corners and taking shortcuts now will only make it more difficult in the future. Later when you face a serious challenge you may not believe you have the strength or ability to deal with it. As Beverly Sills stated “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”. Instead, the opposite is true. Positive attitude, commitment, and dedication will help in your effort to succeed in dealing with life’s adversities.

Included here are eleven suggestions by psychologist Irma Johnston for staying positive in the face of a major challenge.

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