Everything is either a burden or a gift, and the decision is up to you.

The other day, I tweeted “Change burdens to privileges by changing the words “have to” to “get to” in your vocabulary, then watch the amazing shift in your attitude.” (I wish I could take full credit for this…this was actually one of things I’ve learned from Michael Hyatt that has stuck with me and really been a game changer for me.)

I had more people reach out to me about this tweet than I’ve had in a long time, and the sentiments were almost all identical. “JR, that is so true, and I’ve just never thought about it like that.”

So often this is the case with almost everything we face. We forget that events or circumstances are neither good nor bad until we process and apply meaning to them. We have the ability to create whatever reality we want, if we’ll first take responsibility for the reality we’re currently in. As long as our reality is someone or something else’s fault, we surrender that control.

One of the most powerful phrases I’ve ever heard comes from James Allen’s book, As A Man Thinketh:

“We are made or unmade by ourselves. By our thoughts, we forge the weapons by which we can destroy ourselves. Likewise, we also fashion the tools with which we build for ourselves heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”

Our thoughts are capable of being the most destructive weapons known to man, or the most powerful resources the universe can muster. The difference lies within us.

Let’s try something…here’s what I want you to do:

Close your eyes for a moment and think of a large empty box.

Picturing the box? Okay, great…

How big is the box you’re imaging?

Is it large enough to house a fleet of 747 jets? Likely not. You’re imagining, what you perceived to be, a large box. In comparison to the box large enough to fit the 747’s in, it’s likely quite small. What changed about your box? What took it from being what you perceived to be large to your perception of it actually being quite small?

In reality, nothing about your box changed. The only thing that changed was that with which you were comparing it to. I use this as an example of the filters we’re constantly using throughout the day. Only, we’re often not referencing the size of an imaginary box, but rather determining whether something is “good” or “bad.” The fact remains the same. Just as you were able to shift you’re idea of the size of the box, you have that same ability to shift from “bad” to “good.”

Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a choice. Don’t strive to be happy, decide to be happy. In his book, Paradise Lost, John Milton wrote:

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

You always have more control that you often realize. You create your own reality. Your reality doesn’t exist for anyone but you, and you have the ability to make it however you want! And remember, if you don’t, no one else is going to do it for you. You either live your life according your plan or according to someone else’s…and they never have much planned for you!