How to Choose Your Thoughts, Words, and Actions

The first step to becoming the successful person you want to be is to get yourself out of the way.

Michael despised his cubicle. He was envious each morning as he passed the offices with doors, occupied by executives behind large mahogany desks. Michael wanted a promotion, but it was a wish, not a goal. A wish is a goal without the do and the deadline.

One evening Michael expressed his discontent to his wife. She quickly reminded him that he should be grateful for his job and be content. “Don’t make waves,” his wife counseled. “We’re fine the way things are. Don’t do anything that might put your job at risk!”

The next day Michael repeated her words in his mind as he walked by the executive offices. And he thought, “She’s right. I’m not smart enough to get promoted, anyway.”

What if Michael had taken another path in his mind? Instead of going down the low road of Negative Thought, he could be striding confidently along the high road of Positive Belief that always leads to successful becoming.

You have a myriad of choices every moment, and your mind will take you wherever you wish. The very first and most important thing you need to understand is your role in creating the results that are your life.

Zig Ziglar remarked, “You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you will have, be, and do in the tomorrow of your life.” Indeed, our lives are a sum total of the choices we make.


This isn’t always what we want to admit, because frequently our choices lead us to negative results. But the truth is: we own our lives. Whether we’re happy, unhappy, successful or unsuccessful, we’re accountable for our choices.

Admittedly, many people are weighed down with challenges that are absolutely no fault of their own. Children are abused, parents divorce, fat genes are part of life, and bad things happen to good people. But right now, as adults, we have choices regarding how we deal with our past and present circumstances. We can either point fingers, blame, withdraw, resent, or we can turn our faces to the future and focus on solutions. We can allow ourselves to be pulled backwards, or we can “take the best and discard the rest” from past experiences, and move forward. The choice is ours.

I Can Create Change,” has three parts:

First, assess where you are in your belief patterns; how you habitually think about yourself, others and your circumstances.

Second, understand the principle of choice. This principle makes change possible.

Third, learn how to release yourself from damaging beliefs by controlling and directing your thoughts.
Assess Your Belief Patterns

Honestly answer these twelve questions.

1. Do I usually think positive thoughts about myself and others?
2. Do I think I’m fairly attractive?
3. Am I usually clever in social situations?
4. Do most of the people in my life’s circle like me?
5. Am I kind to my family members?
6. Does my family know that I love them?
7. Am I assertive when I need to be?
8. Do I usually make wise choices about most things in life?
9. Am I generally happy with my home and neighborhood?
10. On most days do I like my job?
11. When I help others do I do it cheerfully?
12. Do I look to the future with optimism?

How did you do?

Were most of your answers “no” or “yes?” On one end of the scale are those who answered every question with a “yes.” You are usually kind, optimistic people with healthy self-confidence.

Your belief patterns are consistently positive.On the other end of the scale are those who answered every question with a “no.”

Most people answered some questions “no” and some “yes.” If that describes you, using a Daily Action Plan, as explained in the article “6 Ways to Exceed Your Expectations,” can quickly release you from all damaging beliefs as you learn how to control and direct your thoughts.


I remember the very moment it happened. It was one of those life-altering experiences we often describe as “ah-ha moments” when the mind suddenly seems to expand with new understanding. I was sitting on the front row of a seminar on strengthening relationships when the speaker quoted Eleanor Roosevelt. That great lady said, “No one can make me feel inferior without my consent.” I remember thinking, Wow! That means that we allow people to offend us; we allow people to make us angry. Our reaction to people and our circumstances is our choice! And then my mind took it a step further and I thought, that means that if we can allow people to make us angry, we can refuse to be offended or angry!

Time actually seemed to stand still as I pondered, then understood, this incredible concept: We can respond to others and to our circumstances however we choose. And I realized that the time had come to take control of my life.

Soon afterwards I learned about Victor Frankl. Let me take you to the place where he learned this same priceless lesson.


The year is 1945. You are in Auschwitz, Polland imprisoned in a concentration camp whose horror defies description. Your entire family has been killed. You’re a Jewish psychiatrist named Viktor Frankl. The guards have stripped you, beaten you, starved you and deprived you of sleep. And yet you live on, determined to somehow create meaning out of this horror.

As you are experiencing this hell on earth you come to an incredible understanding. The guards can torture you, but you have the power to respond to them however you choose. They can beat you, but they can’t take away your will to live. They can strip you, but you can clothe yourself with mental power beyond their reach. They can starve you, but you can feast on your dreams of the future. You see, Victor Frankl imagined himself at a university pulpit, teaching the future generation about the ultimate freedom – the freedom to choose how you respond to life. He was passionate about living to tell his story so that never again would a human being be allowed to cause such suffering as he had endured.

Those prison guards couldn’t make Victor Frankl angry or discouraged. Think how our lives would change if we truly understood and applied this concept! We would no longer blame others. We wouldn’t say, “You make me angry!” because we’d understand that no one makes us angry; we can choose to be in control of our emotions. We would no longer blame other people, our circumstances, the weather, etc. for anything. We wouldn’t say, “I can’t get up that early – I’m just not a morning person!” because we’re any kind of a person we choose to be. We wouldn’t say, “I’m in a bad mood because the boss is being a jerk today.” Or, “My kids are making me crazy!” Do you see how it works?
Researchers find that an optimistic personal outlook is more than just seeing the bright side of things. Believing in yourself actually produces increases in good health, motivation, and achievement for six in ten people (Schulman, 1999).

This is a wonderful, liberating principle with monumental significance as it relates to personal progress. This is a key to personal growth. You must take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions if you are to move forward in your life. To significantly progress in your life, it is imperative that you understand this principle thoroughly.

Researchers find that an optimistic personal outlook is more than just seeing the bright side of things. Believing in yourself actually produces increases in good health, motivation, and achievement for six in ten people (Schulman, 1999).

~ Dr. Paula

 How to Change Your Negative Beliefs                    How To Create Your Own Happiness 

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