I was driving down the road the other day listening to some talk radio show and I was completely annoyed when a radio personality recommended a book she had recently read. Without going into any specifics about the book, she simply said in a high-pitched flowery voice: “This book changed my life!”
My initial response to this statement was one of absolute disdain. I can’t stand it when people make one event, or in this case, reading one simple book as becoming such an earth shattering event that it would be the sole reason for their personal, dramatic, mountain top-like experience that has altered her course in life forever. I’ve just seen too many times when people take these simple events and claim them as way more than they really are.
I know they are well-intentioned, but when someone says this type of thing to you, how do you react? If we can be honest, I’ll bet you feel a little irritated as well. Maybe this stems from the feeling that once again, everyone else’s ship has come in and you missed it. The person who tells you how this book has changed their life might as well be saying to you – “my life is better than yours; I found the answer, you haven’t; don’t you wish you were me and so smart and successful, but alas, you hit all the red lights while I fly right through with nothing but green lights for miles. You can almost see them putting their thumbs to their ears, waving their fingers and smirking while they say “naner, naner, naner, you can’t catch me…”
Ok, maybe not to that extreme, but maybe so. In either case, after this momentary pity party, I had to start asking myself the question as to why this statement bothered me so badly. Why was it, that in just one phrase spoken over the radio waves, I found myself in the sea of cynics, riding each passing wave of pessimism to the depths of self-pity? This is when it struck me – I’m asking the wrong questions. My subconscious mind automatically flows to the path of least resistance. That’s why it’s called subconscious – somewhere below active thinking – therefore, I’m not actively pondering the concepts, I’m just reacting.
So, as I began to actual think and not accept the downward path that I was heading, I had to ask myself a deeper question, which was “why did this statement bother me so badly”. Why did those few words cause such a negative reaction from me?
Over the next few days I began searching for the answer, focusing on what it truly means to “change your life.” After giving this some time to percolate, I came to this conclusion: every experience you have “changes your life.” Sometimes these experiences have huge consequences while other experiences don’t even make the foot notes on the pages of your life.
This can be likened to a snowflake falling through the sky. They say that no two snowflakes are identical as each seemingly insignificant gust of wind, or contact with other flakes carefully forms the snowflake into a wonderfully unique flake, different from all others. So too are these somewhat insignificant events in our daily lives – but added up over time, they make all the difference in who we become.
So, what influences in your life will you allow to direct the path upon which you will travel? It’s a choice. You can’t always determine what happens to you, but you can decide how you react to it. One of my favorite quotes is by Chuck Swindoll: “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.”
So, just for today, decide to be changed. In a positive way. By either acting or reacting to the cards life deals to you. For the hand you hold at the end of the day is partly the cards you are dealt, and partly the cards you decide to discard or keep. Your choice.