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“If you don’t like something, change it!”

Sounds like common sense and should be simple, but nope, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Today’s topic for the 30 day blogging challenge is on my favorite quote.

Hmmmmm, I really had to ponder on this as I have many favorite quotes. My appreciation of each quote and its position on my list of favorites often depends on what I’m experiencing at that point in life.

So, rather than share my favorite quote, I decided to write about the quote I’ve applied most in my life. It’s the simple, common sense, advice from renowned author, Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

I first heard this quote in 1998 when I was at crossroads in my life. I was at a point where I needed to make a career decision but was unsure what to do. Any decision concerning one’s career is life-altering and requires much thought. I was young and confused but needed to decide quickly and to make the right decision.

A cub reporter then, I had received an unexpected job offer from a media house that liked my work. As I had not actively sought the job but was head hunted, I suddenly found myself having to decide whether to stay where I was or move on. Both options had pros and cons. I knew what I was leaving behind, but was uncertain about what I was going to. The stakes were high and if this new job turned out to be worse than the previous one, there was no guarantee my previous employers would take me back.

I certainly knew what I didn’t like at the job I had then and hoped that my dislikes would not resurface at the prospective new employer. I was also cognizant of the reality that the situation at the organization where I worked was not about to change. The best I could do for myself was move on, yet I was reluctant to do so because of the uncertainty of not knowing how things would turn out at the new company.

There is comfort in certainty, even when one is unhappy. I had to decide whether to settle for unhappiness in certainty, or take a risk and face the possibility of happiness in uncertainty.

While wading through the murky waters of indecision, I had a brief discussion with a friend who was also my pastor. I don’t recall much of the conversation, but I do remember him saying, “if you don’t like something, change it.” I latched onto those words! They were the beacon I needed at that moment!

Later that day, as I reflected on that conversation and the decision I had to make, I realized that I did not like my job. I decided to change it and am glad I did. The new job tripled my salary, was like a dream come true and spurred me to a new level in my career.

As time went on and I faced circumstances I did not like in later years, I found myself constantly reverting to those words.  “If you don’t like something, change it…”  The words became my maxim and triggered a significant portion of the decisions I’ve made in my adult life.

I still revert to those words frequently, and although my life is not perfect, that line has often prevented me from being complacent and settling for what I do not like. It has encouraged me to try new things and dissolved my fear of change. I’ve applied this maxim to relationships, home decisions, career choices and an array of situations. One thing I can say for sure is that I’m a happier person because of those words and their impact on my life. They prompt me to change whatever I do not like when it’s within my power to do so, and to revise my attitude when the circumstances are beyond my control.

So, next time you face something that you do not like, don’t settle for it, remember and act on these words: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

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