The choices we make

Positive thinking is a proactive choice. The glass is half full. We have all heard these sayings, but how many of us truly live by them?

I consider myself a positive person, but for about 24 hours beginning the evening of Jan. 9, I was commiserating over the loss of the century with everyone else in south Louisiana on the downer bandwagon.

Earlier that evening, as the first unofficial parade of the Mardi Gras season rolled up Poydras Street towards the Superdome, spirits were high and hopes were high. The dome was glowing purple and gold as throngs of fanatics shouted “Tiger Bait!” To state the obvious: Our Tigers, who had delighted us with their own special brand of shock and awe 13 times in the past four months, were derailed by a freight train.

Other than a small band of loyal souls who showed up to welcome the team home, it seemed all had temporarily forsaken their allegiance. It surely must have appeared that way to those young LSU players and their coaches, accustomed to cheers from the adoring crowd of supporters.

Why is it that the darker side of our human nature tempts many of us to choose to react negatively? One of my New Year’s resolutions was to put that day in early January to the test. After the fog wore off, my glass was once again full.

I choose to not let a few hours of disappointment mar an otherwise stellar season.

Research shows that by Feb. 1, two-thirds of the initial 45% of us who made New Year’s resolutions are still working on them. You would never know this from all of the bad press New Year’s resolutions get. I choose to be in that number!

Choice. Making a difference is a choice that Michael Tipton champions as he takes the road less traveled every day. As executive director of Teach For America South Louisiana, Tipton leads 150 college graduates who have selflessly put their careers on hold to teach in academically underperforming classrooms in our region. Read about the difference these teachers are making in our cover story this month.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that your resolutions will become game plans and then habit. You have to make the choice, daily. There are 86,400 seconds in every day for each one of us. No more and no less. It’s how we maximize the moments that allows us to increase our chances of success.