One of the most asked questions this year has been, Are we better off than we were? Certainly everyone has his own perspective, but where each of us lands on this issue is highly dependent upon our personal frame. What I mean by that is that we each have a filter through which we see the world. We may not always be able to control our environment or the outcomes that affect us directly, but we can decide what kind of perspective and attitude we adopt about our lives.
While it might seem obvious to the most casual observer, I have come to realize that if one takes a positive view, things tend to “look up.” On the other hand, a dark perspective seems to ensure more pain than pleasure. I’m not talking about being naïve or looking at the world through “rose colored glasses” but about making a rational decision to adjust one’s perspective in order to increase the pleasure and happiness in life. There are many popular adages that support this idea. Here are a few worth paying serious attention to:
“We are as happy as we make up our minds to be.”
— Abraham Lincoln
“No one has ever injured his eyesight by looking at the bright side of things.” — Unknown
“The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.” — H.H. the Dalai Lama
“The surest way to happiness, is to lose yourself in a cause greater than yourself.” — Unknown
This last saying gets right to the theme of our issue this month and provides an example of how powerful this idea can be. Lest we forget, this is the “giving season” and, while helping others should be an “everyday item” in our lives, this is the time when we remind ourselves of the happiness gained by thinking of others.
When I met Anne Mahlum, the founder of a nonprofit organization called Back on My Feet, earlier this year, I was struck not only by her passion and innovation but also by the exemplary outcomes her organization was achieving. You see, Mahlum had decided to go where few have dared to tread—tackling the rehabilitation of those without a place to live, the homeless. She had established chapters in some major urban areas with unusual success based on a simple approach—getting these forgotten folks literally “back on their feet” by walking and running. She told me she wanted to launch a new chapter in Austin in January, 2013, and I said, “Where do I sign up and how can I help?”
I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult the lives of these folks are and it is inspiring to see how camaraderie, support, and the goal of being fit and healthy can give them a new perspective on life and truly get them back on their feet. It’s a lesson for all of us.
Check out the article. It will make your day. And help support Back on My Feet. I am sure it will put a smile on your face and add a measure of happiness to your life. It’s indeed a gift worth giving and receiving.
Keep Austin Fit,