• Lisa Allen

Improve your life in one step

Those who know me have heard me say many times, “Attitude is everything and happiness is a choice.” Always those two things together.

I have a short video on this subject, too.

We all know people whose attitudes are critical, negative, pessimistic, and sometimes downright cruel. As far as we can see, there is no need for it. I can think of one person in particular. She had financial security, a husband who loved her and pretty great children. She still chose to be miserable. By screening everything through a negative filter, she had little happiness.

In another case, I used to try to tell my ex “don’t go looking for the hurt.” She always did and it’s one of many reasons I ended that relationship. Back to choices again.

Then there are those who seem so damned lucky. Their life, no matter what is thrown at them, always works out. If we look closely, chances are it’s their attitude and those choices they make. They face the same family, financial and emotional challenges we all do.

It comes down to the pause.

What pause? The moment between stimulus and response. Some of us have no pause. Touch us and we scream immediately without looking at the bigger picture. We react. Reactions are primitive, blunt and often brutal. Everything gets whacked with a sledgehammer.

Responses on the other hand are measured, considered and crafted. Big difference.

What does all this have to do with money? Everything.

Reaction: “I got a stimulus check! The car needs new tires, but I’m going to buy a TV! I deserve it.” Really, Best Buy was sold out. Time horizon: nanoseconds.

Response: “I got a stimulus check. I’m going to save it in case the car blows a tire.” Response. Time horizon: weeks or months.

Reaction: “Uh-oh, I can’t pay this bill. I’ll ignore it. If they call me, I’ll yell at them.”

Response: “I can’t pay this bill. I’ll call them and try to work out terms.” (Vital point: Be nice. Kindness will get you anywhere. My family calls me the customer service whisperer. That’s my secret. Be nice.)

Reaction: “I was fired! I’m going to find a reason to sue!” The person spends their time trying to get even with their previous employer rather than looking for another job.

Response: I speak from experience. I realized I contributed to my dismissal because I hated my job and it showed. I used the occasion as an important lesson of pursuing jobs that align with what’s important to me, rather seeing it as a wrong against me personally. It wasn’t. That job just wasn’t a good fit.

If we choose to respond carefully to the events in our lives, we take control of our futures. If we react, we’re like pin balls bouncing off in unpredictable directions.

Last week, I met with four friends being careful of social distancing. I asked each one what was the best thing that has come out of this pandemic. In every case, it was the renewed focus on the important relationships in their lives.

Money is the tool that enables us to free up our time and reduce our worries so we can choose to enjoy the people in our lives, family, friends and strangers alike.

Choose a positive attitude and happiness comes right along for the ride.

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