SerenDestiny #15: Are You Managing Your Mood or Is It Managing You?

“I am in love with hope.” – Tuesdays with Morrie author Mitch Albom

I guess you can tell I’m in love with quotes.

It started when I was 10 years old.

Our family was visiting our grandparents for Thanksgiving. It was raining outside so us kids couldn’t go outside and play. Instead, we were banished to the back screened-in porch. (Those were the days when children were to be seen, not heard.)

That was fine with me because Granny had stacks of Readers Digest. One of my favorite things in the world was to curl up on her comfy couch and read exciting first person accounts of resourceful people fighting off bears and moving Norman-Rockwell-like anecdotes such as the one of a mother looking out the kitchen window at her kids flying kites and impulsively deciding to leave the dishes to go join them.

My favorite part though was not the anecdotes and jokes; it was the quotes. The distilled wisdom sound-bites that tickled my brain and resonated with my soul.

Even then, I would read these profound insights and think, “Yes, that’s how life’s supposed to be.” I cut them out, posted them on the bulletin board above my bed and carried them around with me so I could peek at them whenever I got discouraged. Invariably, they’d center me in how I wanted to view the world. I’d regain my emotional footing and be on my way.

That’s one of the reasons I feature inspirational quotes in my blogs, books and presentations.

Seeing the right words at the right time can transform us from being re-active to being pro-active. They can motivate us to pull ourselves up by the mental boot straps instead of wallowing in our misery.

Next time you read or hear a quote that resonates with you, don’t just think, “Wow, that’s great” and then move on. That means it’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Instead, write that meaningful insight down and post it where it’ll be in-sight, in mind.

Or, key it into your iPhone, iPad or favorite digital device so you can access it wherever you are, whenever you want, for an instant attitude adjustment.

Imagine you were feeling a little down today, but then you saw this quote from cyclist/cancer survivor Lance Armstrong,

“I take nothing for granted. I now only have good days or great days.”

Wouldn’t that insight give you instant perspective? That’s the potential of the right words at the right time to remind us what really matters.

It’s easy to grouse about the traffic, get discouraged by the news, complain about a challenging customer, kvetch that our internet server is down.

And the more we dwell on petty annoyances, they more power they have to determine our mood. That means our valuable time and mind are being frittered away on thoughts that undermine rather than add value.

If, instead, you post a meaningful saying on your refrigerator or near your desk where you see it throughout the day, it will help you manage your mood instead of letting it manage you.

Tom Stoppard said, “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

From now on, keep your eyes open for sacred words that “deserve your respect.” When you come across an insight that gets your eyebrows up; stop, write it down, key it in and keep it top of mind so it can nudge your world . . . in the right direction.

Do you have a favorite quote that has the power to lift you out of a funk? What is it?

Has there been a difficult time in your life when advice from a friend or a wise saying helped you regain perspective? What was that?

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