Welcome to Positive Life Principles. I’m Karol Ladd, and I want this website to be a source of inspiration and strength to you as you serve and love the people around you. You will find resources to refresh you and help you use your gifts and talents to reach out and touch the lives of others. Sign up for my blog below in order to stay connected and receive an uplifting weekly message from me.
How often have you thought to yourself, I’ll be happy when…
…I get the next promotion.
…my co-worker changes her attitude.
…I don’t have to do all of this paperwork.
…the kids grow out of this stage.
…my spouse says he’s sorry.
…I finally get in shape.
Whether it’s our weight or our work or our relationships, it’s easy to think that when things change for the better, then we will be happy. But that’s not what current research shows. In fact, it is the exact opposite! Positive psychology now demonstrates that those people who are happy and more positive, are more likely to be successful in relationships and in life. In his best-selling book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor shares, “Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56 percent. Students primed to feel happy before taking math achievement tests far outperform their neutral peers.”
When people are satisfied and content on the inside, it shows through their actions, attitudes and words. Happy people brighten the day for those around them instead of waiting for others to brighten theirs. Business leaders would be wise to consider ways to encourage internal joyfulness and satisfaction within their ranks. And each of us must recognize that we can’t just sit around and wait for happiness, we must choose it and experience it’s benefits.
True, heartfelt contentedness comes from within. The famous apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Paul found his inner strength in the Lord. Where do you find yours?
For me personally, joyfulness is a natural outflow of having a deep and abiding relationship with God. Knowing that my sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus, recognizing that I am never alone, realizing that He has given me His spirit to guide and strengthen me – all of these reasons allow me to experience a hope, joy and peace within my life. Do I experience challenges and difficulties? You bet, but there is an inner strength that only God can provide.
If you are searching for happiness and an inner joy, I encourage you first to read the Bible for yourself and learn about the God who loves you. If you want to visit with someone about a relationship with Jesus go to www.chataboutJesus.com
It’s easy to assume that every star athlete is naturally gifted, and yes, to a certain extent that may be true. But there is typically a more important secret to their success. It’s called practice. Take Michael Jordan for instance, the year he returned to the Bulls after his brief stint in baseball, the Bulls were eliminated in the play-offs. Jordan learned a valuable lesson, saying, “You can’t leave and think you can come back and dominate this game. I will be physically and mentally prepared from now on.” Michael Jordan realized he couldn’t coast when it comes to being a basketball champion. He resumed putting in the hard work and practice, and the next three years the Bulls won the NBA title!
Yes, Jordan may have a natural bent or inclination toward being a basketball star, but he backed it up with hard work and dedicated practice. The same is true for you and me. As much as we wish gifts and talents would just kind of show up in our lives (or in our kids’ lives), success is built through hard work and determination, not simply natural giftedness.
The legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “I believe ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there….It’s so easy to…begin thinking you can just ‘turn it on’ automatically, without proper preparation. It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there.” Solomon put it this way, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
Take some time this week to consider where you need to improve your skills, whether in business or with a hobby or even in a relationship. If you want to encounter excellence, it begins with hard work, perseverance and doing more than the average person is willing to do. Ask yourself, “What are my goals and what am I willing to do to achieve them.” Remember it doesn’t just happen.
The above quotes by Jordan and Wooten are found in the book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
“In the northwest corner of Harvard Yard stands a building as massive as the man whose name it bears. At six feet, four inches and nearly three hundred pounds, Phillips Brooks, A. B. 1855, S. T. D. 1877, was an outstanding figure of Harvard’s Victorian age.,” reads the Harvard Magazine.[i] It goes on to say, “What was the secret of this man’s remarkable life and influence? Brooks wrote in 1891, ‘…These last years have had a peace and fullness which there did not use to be. I am sure that it is not indifference to anything I used to care for. I am sure that it is a deeper knowledge and truer love of Christ…I cannot tell you how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is no figure of speech. It is the realest thing in the world. And every day makes it realer.’”
A pensive clergyman and author, Brooks experienced a depth of faith through the struggles of life. He wrote, “I often hear people praying for more faith, but when I listen carefully to them and get to the essence of their prayer, I realize it is not more faith they are wanting at all. What they are wanting is their faith to be change to sight. Faith does not say, “I see this good for me; therefore God must have sent it.” Instead, faith declares ‘God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.’ Faith, when walking through the dark with God, only asks Him to hold his hand more tightly.”[ii]
Isn’t that an amazing perspective on faith? Even in the gloomiest moments of our lives, God does not leave us. When the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was at his lowest point, he was still able to rally his faith and find his hope in God. We will all face discouraging moments especially as we stand up for what is right. But even though Jeremiah faced rock bottom emotions, he knew he could look up and find his hope in the Lord. He waited on the Lord through the troubling times. In his book of Lamentations, Jeremiah wrote a powerful commentary of hope rising up from despair.
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord
Allow Jeremiah’s words to be your strength through troubling times. When you feel alone. When you feel like no one else is listening. When you feel like you have made a mistake. When you feel rejected by your own people…may Jeremiah’s words be your comfort and reminder to keep your eyes on the Lord and wait patiently for Him. He does have a good plan. We may not see the fruit until we stand with Him in eternity, but let us remain faithful to the message He has given us no matter what the cost.
This is an excerpt from Positive Leadership Principles for Women
[ii] Jim Reimann and LBE Cowan, Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008) May 1 entry.
Fear tends to grip all of us in different areas and at different times in our lives. When we allow it to get the upper hand, it captures us in its net and keeps us from experiencing the abundant and fulfilling life God intends for us. “Where fear is,” the philosopher Seneca said, “happiness is not.”
The story is told of an old farmer who was sitting on the steps of his rickety shack when a stranger approached. Trying to initiate conversation, the stranger asked, “How’s your wheat coming along?” “Didn’t plant none,” the farmer replied. “Really?” said the stranger. “I thought this was good wheat country.” “I was afraid it would rain,” the farmer said. “How is your corn crop?” the stranger persisted. “Ain’t got none. Afraid of corn blight.” “Well, sir, how are your potatoes?” “Didn’t plant no potatoes either. Afraid of the potato bugs.” “Well, then, what in the world did you plant?” the exasperated stranger asked. “Nothin,” said the farmer. “I just played it safe.”
Oh, the stifling effect fear can have on our lives! Take a moment to stop, think and pray about an areas in your life where you are allowing fear to rob you of your joy – or worse, rob you of your desire to use your gifts and talents. It has often been said, “Courage is not the absence of fear; rather it is the ability to take action in the face of fear.”
This week, take an honest look at your fears and make a decision that you will not allow them to control your life. Instead turn your eyes upward and remember that you are not alone. Ask God to guide you and give you strength as you use the gifts and talents He has given you. Step forward one courageous step at a time.
For more positive insights check out: The Power of a Positive Woman