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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Connecting the Dots to a Better Life

"The life unexamined is not worth living."— Plato

Human behavior has always fascinated me. So much so, that I once majored in it in college.

Believing that a degree in Business Management would make me more marketable than Psychology, I later changed course and pursued another direction. Still the topic stays with me; giving me fuel for my writing, and reflection in my own personal life

I have often wondered… Despite similar opportunities and circumstances, why does one person succeed while another fails? Why do some folks find themselves repeating the same defeating mistakes? Does fate or choice dictate our future?


According to Plato, the life unexamined is not worth living. How about yours? Are you making progress from week to week? Month to month? Year to year? Do you have healthy, long-term relationships with others? Do you have roots and wings? (Which means knowing where you come from and where you’re going). Is there joy in your days and balance in your life? Do you have proper perspective?
Work that you enjoy?
Peace of mind? A home life that fills your soul?

For many, the answer to these questions would be no. These are the most common reasons.

» Ego
Often people will not and cannot see areas of difficulty due to their egos. Rather than wound their self-esteem, they continue patterns of behavior that have not produced desired results in the past.

Take for example a friend of mine, who is half of a century old. He’s never been married, but says he wants to be. Yet, he’s never had a romantic relationship last over a year or two. Never. To make matters worse, he’s always the one to end things first with the object of his affections. And usually for reasons as flimsy as cheap lingerie! He refuses to see that there couldn’t be something wrong with all his “Cinderellas”. The problem? He fears long-term commitment and is an emotional adolescent. But he refuses to see it, even though he’s had more women than Imelda Marcos has shoes!

» Fear of the Unknown
Some people simply hate change. (I used to be one of them.) Individuals in this category would rather hold on to bad relationships, bad habits, and faulty logic, simply because it’s familiar. And for some, familiarity provides comfort, no matter how foolish.

» Closed Mindedness
One of the most progressive and effortless things that you can do to promote a better life is to have an open mind. Which doesn’t mean compromising your principles, or going with the flow. What it means is trying new things. Take calculated risks. Go beyond your comfort zone. And be open to the magic of possibilities!

» Lack of Accountability
We are all the sum total of our choices. It’s important to take stock of the decisions we have made and the lessons learned. Don’t play the “blame game”. You’ll never win.

» Comparing and Competing
Want to reach your full potential? Stop following someone else’s blueprint. Be the best you that you can be. Nothing more, nothing less.

» Not Having a Game Plan
Where would you like to see yourself in the next year? The next five? Develop a realistic strategy to get there and stick to it!

» Not Having a Clue!
Connecting the dots to a better life means being rooted in reality. American Idol (the hit singing show that airs every Tuesday on Fox) is a case in point. Even after being ridiculed and rejected unanimously by the three judges, some contestants throw tantrums and absolutely refuse to entertain the idea that they do not have musical talent.

Word to the wise... If several people tell you that something is not working for you, at least consider the possibility that they may be right!

» Failure to Examine and Embrace Options
No matter where you come from, or where you’ve been, always remember there’s a way up and a way out. Look for the clues.

» Inability to See "The Big Picture"
To quote a popular expression “If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’!”

In the words of Dr. Phil, “I want you to get excited about your life!”

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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