Taking Charge of Your Life

Many of us spend our lives trying to please others or pursuing goals that others have set for us.  In contrast, the authors of Invest in Yourself, Marc Eisenson, Gerri Detweiler, and Nancy Castleman, advocate the self-designed life—the conscious choice to “invest your time and energy getting what you want and doing what you believe in—not wasting them on things you don’t really want, but think you should have.”  In fact, they wholeheartedly recommend setting the bar high, “no matter what you are aiming for in life.”

The first step to taking charge of your life is clarifying your values and priorities.  The reason this exercise in self-reflection is so powerful is because identifying what is most important to you will increase your self-understanding and strengthen your sense of autonomy.  An excellent resource to help you in this process is Values Clarification by Sidney Simon, Leland Howe, and Howard Kirschenbaum.  This book is described as “the classic guide to discovering your truest feelings, beliefs, and goals.” (more…)

Increasing Long-Term Happiness

For many years, the prevailing theory was that individuals have a genetically determined happiness set point.

In other words, scientists believed that each person could temporarily experience more happiness (depending on circumstances, relationships, and life events), but would then slide back to his or her “pre-programmed” set point.  In fact, less than two decades ago, one researcher was quoted as saying, “It may be that trying to be happier is as futile as trying to be taller.” (more…)

Resilience and Transition

Resiliency is a personal characteristic that can help you navigate life in the uncertain sea of change.  It is a trait and a skill that will help you to overcome challenges and grab hold of the opportunities that you encounter along your life’s journey.

Resiliency also describes your ability to “bounce back” from loss, disappointment, or other difficult circumstances.  Those who are resilient don’t give up and have a positive outlook even when experiencing trials and tribulations. (more…)

Testing Your Strengths

 “We have repeatedly found that those who pursue all three domainspleasure, engagement, and meaninghave by far the most life satisfaction, with engagement and meaning far and away the biggest contributors to fulfillment.

Martin Seligman

The American Psychological Association (APA) expects each incoming president to pick a theme for his or her yearlong term. When University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman was elected to that office in 1998, he knew exactly where he wanted to draw the attention of APA members. (more…)

Asking the Right Questions

A world of questions is a world of possibility. Questions open our minds, connect us to each other, and shake outmoded paradigms.

Marilee Adams

 In Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, author Marilee Adams describes her vision of how individuals, families, institutions, and communities can be transformed by the “spirit of inquiry”: (more…)

A World our Questions Create

Jacqueline Kelm believes that we live in a world our questions create. In her book Appreciative Living, she writes, “The internal and external questions we ask steer our thinking, attention, and images in one direction or another which in turn directs decisions and creates our experience.”

Most of us realize how important questions are in our daily interactions—it seems we are continually either asking a question or responding to a question. What we are less aware of are the questions that we continually ask ourselves. (more…)