Kick the Dog or Not?

I awoke in somewhat of a foul mood this morning. A particular problem was on my mind.  The old me would have stewed in this state of negativity for most of the day.  I would have kicked my dog and cussed my wife - after all isn't it their fault my life is so miserable?

Right now, this moment I'm turning it around.  I'm going to do something positive with the situation.  I'm going to spend a large portion of my day learning new skills and improving my knowledge in order to solve this problem.  Then perhaps I'll spend a nice evening with my wife enjoying the sunset. I might even pet that miserable hound of mine and take him for a walk.

We can do this with our lives as a whole as well. We can ask, "Why did this have to happen to me?" Or we can ask, "What can I, with my skills, knowledge, and abilities, do to transform my life and how can I share my solutions with others to make their lives a little easier?"

When we see a successful person we can ask, "Why aren't I that lucky?"  Another option is to ask "With all of the opportunities to learn - through reading, watching, asking questions, and networking - what new skills could I add to my arsenal?"  "What value can I add to this world?"

I'm not just speaking of positive vs. negative thinking; I'm speaking of the words and actions emanating from your thoughts.  Will you change yourself?  Your life?  The lives of others?  

Positive or negative?  

Adding or subtracting?
Ultimately you are responsible, not the dog.  

“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Making a difference, attitude, learning, Seth Godin, blog.


  1. What a helpful post, Dan. We truly do have the ability to act and improve our situation. I am so glad you will enjoy the sunset and not kick the dog! I used to think positively all the time, but only when I took action did things improve.

  2. It's a choice each moment.


  3. Yes cubed, Dan! Optimism breeds action,indeed. Otherwise, we can spend endless hours in our heads indicting blameless culprits for all our shortcomings.

  4. Great post Dan!

    I often think to myself, like you mentioned above, "why did this happen to me" or "why aren't I that lucky". Those are internal dialog that I have been fighting with for a long time and your simple solution of turning those questions into questions on how I can fix the situation instead of complain about about it makes a lot of sense.

  5. I once had a friend (whose name also happened to be Dan) who said, "Nobody ever says 'thank you so much for complaining!'" That got a lot of laughs, but it is, of course, true.

    Self-pity is pretty easy to do, as is blaming everyone else. But taking full responsibility (and being optimistic) means always looking for choices. It definitely takes practice (and that's me talking from experience!)

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