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Taking control of your life

October 3, 2013

Here’s a great idea
In his book, Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman says,
“There is a vast, unclaimed territory of actions over which we can take control. The way we think about [those things] can actually diminish or enlarge the control we have over them.  Our thoughts are not merely reactions to events; they change what ensues.”  (pp. 6-7)

In other words….
If we habitually believe that misfortune is our fault, is enduring, and will undermine everything we do, then more of this “misfortune” will befall us than if we believe otherwise.  Pessimistic prophecies become self-fulfilling.  On the other hand, optimists tend to believe that problems are temporary and manageable. When we face problems with a positive attitude, we find ourselves conquering hard experiences and transforming them into opportunities for growth.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
The next time you discover you are condemning yourself, your past or your future, try looking for the positives instead. What have you learned from mistakes? What are you learning now? What will you be able to do better in the future because of what you’ve learned?

Find Out More…
about personal well-being, check out Getting Our Hearts Right or The Personal Journey programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Learned Optimism.

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