1. I can choose to allow myself to be damaged by situations and circumstances, OR
I can tell myself great things about the importance of the efforts I am making for self-progress and the contribution I am making to the lives of others. I can see situations and circumstances as an obstacle course to help me build resilience and capacity.
2. I can choose to be afraid, using my time and thoughts to build many layers of fear, OR
I can find reasons to recognize the significance of every minute in the story of life. Even if it’s only that I will never have that minute of my life again! Joy is in the minutes; I find, taste and enjoy each one.
3. I can choose to let separation from my “comfort people and comfort zones” depress me, OR
I can be enthusiastic about discovering the specialties of the new people I encounter, and remember the old ones I have lost with gratitude — remembering their potential, personality, and presence. This is the easiest and most powerful way to create a trusting environment in which I can be my real self, and in doing so, give someone else the permission to be his or her authentic self. Happiness is catching – it jumps from person to person.
4. I can choose to look at my own mistakes and the mistakes of others, and lose hope, OR
I can think about how we treat small children. When we want them to learn something, we are enthusiastic. We cheer and clap every time they take a step. We don’t begin an outburst of abuse every time they stumble and fall. We encourage them vigorously. We laugh and our eyes sparkle and our happiness nourishes them with the courage to get up and run.
5. I can choose to have an inferiority complex and become subservient, or alternately a superiority complex, and develop the compulsion to control, OR
I can observe the new light of every rising sun, knowing that it will set and give way to the light of the moon. In the early morning, I rise with a burst of enthusiasm and absorb newness from the Supreme Light; and at dusk with humility and gratitude, I absorb the day’s experiences into my being as a point of light, radiating the coolness of contentment in the stillness of night.
6. I can choose to take sorrow and make my soul into a living room of people’s pain and agony, OR
I can learn from the wisdom that ‘we live best as a family and we serve best as teams.’ Being present at a game in the stadium is much more fun than watching it alone at home on TV, because we get caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd. The excitement of watching it live sets us tingling with happiness. Life is a live game with all the players on the same field. I am most happy when, as an observer, I appreciate the skills and talents of each one, not seeing winners and losers. I see significance in the experience, not merely in the outcome.
7. I can choose to become disheartened with illusions by building skyscrapers of desires and wants, OR
I can try waking up enthusiastic about life, opening my eyes and being grateful to be alive, saying good morning like I mean it. I can find something meaningful in my day to look forward to, something that brings joy to the soul — something simple like singing in the shower, sipping my first cup of coffee, or taking my kid to school. I can be continuously grateful for the small things in life.
8. I can choose to be co-dependent and blame myself for the problems and weaknesses of others, making my conscience an abyss of guilt, OR
I can respect people as individuals with a right to their thoughts and feelings based on their personal life’s experiences. I can truly empathize with another only when I am free from blame and guilt in relation to what they are feeling. To create an awareness of being in a really great space of self-respect and to be present with my whole being as I reach out to another with care and compassion is true empathy. Empathy elevates relationships.
9. I can choose to be violated and be a victim of the pressures of others, based on the various forms of criticisms, OR
I can concentrate on completing the task that I have, up till now, found tedious, and find ways to motivate myself to it! I can reflect on the intention of benevolence, and the benefit it will bring to others, and be amazed at the soar of creativity and how much more quickly the time passes.
10. I can choose to think that my identity is molded and shaped by the external factors of other people’s opinions based on cultural, social, religious, gender and economic norms, OR
I can celebrate differences, recognizing that every person is unique and has innate gifts from which I can learn. To inspire people to achieve or to do things they never thought they could or to create spaces in which differences are appreciated are genuine gifts of friendship.
UN, New York