Go Ahead, Be a Negative Nancy
Because I am a very positive person, I used to have a terrible time making decisions. When it's easy to see the good in every possible option, it can be very difficult to choose just one. I finally allowed myself to start thinking negatively, and I was able to reveal exactly what it was that I really wanted.
Do you also consider yourself a pretty positive person? Do you have trouble deciding what you really want? Give this a try the next time you're faced with a seemingly impossible choice: Ask yourself what you don't like about the situation or the choices in front of you. Here are three examples of how this has worked for me:
1. Recognizing Mr. Right. Back in my single days I had several boyfriends who were charming, smart, good looking, and funny. Unfortunately they were also cheaters, liars, and inconsiderate jerks. I owe each and every one of them a debt of gratitude for showing me exactly what I didn't want in a man. I had to kiss my fair share of frogs before I realized I deserved someone who possessed all of the qualities I did want and none of the qualities I didn't. The next guy who swept me off my feet had to meet both sets of criteria. He did. So I married him.
2. Home sweet home. When my husband and I were shopping for our first home, the real estate market was booming. Just about every house had multiple offers and we knew we had to be able to act fast or we'd miss out. The problem was that quite a few houses had what we wanted. So we narrowed them down by factoring what we didn't want into the decision making process. This method saved us from becoming the not-so-proud owners of a darling Spanish style home with too few bedrooms and a super long commute.
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3. Chosen profession. Sometimes a decision is not so clearly based on what you do and don't want. Sometimes it's about deciding what you want less. This is exactly what happened to me when I was choosing what career path to follow.
In addition to writing, I had been acting in commercials. I loved doing both, but if I continued to pursue two separate fields with the same level of intensity, I would have burned out. I had to make a decision that would no doubt affect the rest of my life. I wanted to keep doing fun acting jobs. But the decision became crystal clear when I focused on what I didn't want-which was to miss an opportunity to write something that would help people live their happiest lives.
Since you're reading this right now, I think you know which path I chose. And actually, I still get to work in front of the camera sometimes, but when I do, it's as a lifestyle expert, and not as the mom in a Mr. Coffee commercial. Knowing what world I didn't want to miss out on resulted in my having the best of both.