A few weeks ago, I rear ended someone on the way to work, and it turned out to be one of the best things to happen to me.
Normally, something like this would take me out for days, leaving me pissed off, depressed, and hopeless. And I was pissed at myself for a few hours after the accident happened, but I finally decided that I wasn’t going to let this steal my joy.
I wasn't going to let this steal my joy.
I decided that I would not run from responsibility. I would choose to own what I had done and face it head on. I wasn’t going to let something small like this take my joy away from me.
I wasn’t going to allow myself to choose powerlessness.
Because in life, stuff happens to us. The world will throw things at us to try to take away our joy and turn us into cynical, pessimistic, powerless people. But it’s how we respond to the crap of life that determines our character.
How we respond to the crap of life determines our character.
This accident was a test of character. Life tests us all the time. It’s a matter of making lemonade with the lemons that get tossed our way.
Here’s 3 takeaways I took from this accident on how to not let the world steal our joy.
1. Joy is a choice
Joy is always something that must be chosen. We can choose anger, anxiety, frustration, or we can choose joy in all situations.
In thinking of all this, I cannot help but think of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. He has this quote that always wrecks me:
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."
Think about that. In the midst of the most horrific circumstances, surrounded by extreme pain, hopelessness, and death, he was able to choose joy. If someone in that dark situation was able to choose joy, can’t I do the same?
2. Pessimist or Optimist?
Which do we choose? In every situation, we have the power to choose if we are going to be negative or positive, powerful or powerless, mature or immature.
Positive thinking will let us do everything better than negative thinking will.
Successful people, wealthy people, and joyful people don’t allow negative thinking in their lives for long. They don’t tolerate it, because it causes them to be cynical and reactive to the world, instead of being optimistic and proactive.
We can’t win with a negative mindset. Everything in life starts with our beliefs. What are you believing?
3. We control our attitude
You and I always get to control our attitude in any given situation. Our attitude determines how far we will go. As Zig Ziglar says, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
Attitude is critical to doing what we were born to do. Because life isn’t always easy, and things will not always go the way we want them to. It’s how we respond to the challenges of life that have a say in how successful we are.
I have to know that I can’t always control what happens to me, but I can always control what happens in me.
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up. - John Maxwell
Practical Next Steps
We ultimately have two ways of living this life: We can be the kind of person who allows life to happen to us (a powerless way of living), or we can be the kind of person who happens to life (powerful living). Which person are you? Ask a close friend to answer that question for you.
Share with a friend
Japheth is a writer, photographer, and encourager. He currently resides in Redding, California where he is learning how to make life awesome every single day.