The Choice

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Dear readers,

On my recent visit to Marquette University in Milwaukee, I had the opportunity to explore the area known as the Historic Third Ward. Located just a few blocks from downtown, this area is full of vibrant shops and restaurants, as well as a bustling public market.

However, as I turned the corner onto a busy intersection, a certain building mural caught my attention. There, painted high above the passing cars and construction, were the words:

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A positive thought.

Why did the artist choose these words? Given an open canvas with endless possibilities, why did they believe this message was so important?

Regardless of the intention, I am overjoyed this mural exists. It seems to be a nudge, a gentle reminder to all who pass that the power to conceive happiness lies within each of us. In our daily environments, it becomes all too simple to focus on the negative.

So, how can you choose positivity in your every day? Here are some thoughts:

Realize how far you’ve come. 

Who you are today is probably in many ways different than the person you expected yourself to be. I bet in many ways, you have probably exceeded your expectations. Take a moment to acknowledge the rear-view, and consider the distance you’ve already covered. Be proud of your accomplishments.

Don’t associate gratitude with possessions.

In researching positivity, the word seems to be synonymous with gratitude. Realizing how much you already have seems to be a kick-starter to finding joy. However, don’t let gratitude only appear with a bigger house, a newer car, or a promotion. Be thankful instead for the people and opportunities you have. Each day you have in the company of people who love you is a day worth celebrating.

Have the courage to be the only one. 

Attitudes are infectious. Others are immediately drawn to those who exude the light of joy. Be alert enough to recognize those environments and situations that require a shift in mood. Then, be brave enough to be a spark.

Take the choice to chase after the good, and grab a few friends along the way.

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