Two of the 10 axioms of Choice Theory state the following:
- The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
- All we can give another person is information.
How we behave is up to us. Do you choose to complain all the time, or do you make the best of a bad situation? Do you choose happiness or sadness? Do you give, or do you take?
A while back I wrote about Professor Randy Pausch who’s “last lecture” titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” went viral. Here was a man that was given 6 months to live and instead of feeling sorry for himself and angry he chose to be upbeat and spread a message to the world. The behavior he chose is to express positivity over negative thoughts and energy.
Behavior has 4 components to it: Acting, Thinking, Feeling and Physiology. The first 2 are within your control, but the last two take time. Feelings can be changed by the thoughts we have but it can take time because controlling feelings takes practice. For instance, Randy could have felt dejected, sorry for himself and miserable, but instead he chose to be upbeat and positive. Showing gratitude and finding joy can change your feelings over time.
I have a friend who will regularly buy coffee or sandwiches for the homeless. It brings him joy, and he is consistent in that behavior in all aspects of his life. He chooses that behavior every day and uses it to teach his kids love and compassion. He’s instilled the behavior of generosity into his kids, who now mimic him when they can, whether it’s in school, in public or at home.
Now for the physiology of behavior; to me, this is the most difficult component. A neurologist friend of mine told me that we can change at the cellular level over time, but it certainly wouldn’t happen overnight.
It’s never too late to choose to change your behavior for the better. Start with looking at things with a glass half full attitude, smile more (smiling has been proven to increase your mood and decrease stress- both of which are positive changes) and be kind.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Choose to have a great weekend.