Do You Need a Particular Outcome to Be Happy?

Your new house

Although I rarely practice law anymore, these past months I’ve been trying to help my cousin purchase his family’s dream home in New York.  My cousin and his wife have one child and another on the way.  Because of my emotional attachment, it has been difficult dealing with the many bumps and challenges of this transaction.  Yet I believed that I could get this deal done for them.  It became so important to me in part because my cousin had been very sick at one time and the opportunity to buy this home seemed like a new beginning for him.  In my mind, I actually started to believe that my cousin needed this particular deal to happen for his happiness and well-being.  My cousin does not have a lot of money and this house would be stretching it but affordable.  It was located near his job and in a good school district.  Yesterday we got word that the bank wouldn’t lend them enough money to get the deal done.  I was so upset and feeling very down last night about the news and I was only able to sleep a few hours.  As I woke up this morning, I realized that I was feeling down not because they didn’t get the house; I was down because I had slipped out of Maybe.

The minute I started to believe my cousin needed this particular home for his happiness and well being, I had doomed myself to stress, fear and disappointment.  No matter what had happened, the house did not hold his happiness.  I fell out of Maybe because the bank’s rejection destroyed my high hopes and I interpreted that to mean my cousin’s dream of owning a nice home was no longer possible and what I wanted for him and his family could no longer be attained.  In reality, however, all that really happened is that life was not fitting into my plan, or my story for my cousin’s life. Once I opened my heart to Maybe again, I realized that there are always many more possibilities than the one we envision.

Just like I did with my cousin’s scenario, it is easy to slip out of Maybe on a daily basis.  How often, for instance, do we believe that we need to get a particular job or promotion for our lives to be going in the right direction? Or that a particular stock must go up for us to be financially secure, or that we need to land a particular client to further our careers?  How often have we yearned for a certain person to like us so we can be happy?  Story after story we tell ourselves, reinforcing the belief that life must unfold in certain ways to guarantee our well-being and success.  Logically, most of us would agree that there are many ways to achieve a particular goal, but emotionally we fail to live with this knowledge in our daily lives. When the emotional attachment to our stories defies logic, we fall into a trap. And stay there, and stay there.

For me, when I returned to Maybe, I realized that Maybe there are other homes to buy and other choices my cousin can make for him and his family.  As my cousin and I sat with all these possibilities today, our inner wisdom began to guide us to other ideas to qualify for the mortgage or to find another home.  In fact, there is a cheaper home down the same block that he had not considered because he thought it was too small.  We figured out today that Maybe it’s not too small after all.  We know we don’t have all the answers to help his situation, but we are open and hopeful that we will find his family an affordable home, good schools for his children and ways to reduce my cousin’s stress. In the land of Maybe, his options have no limits.

So today, try to list all the inner stories that you keep thinking what must occur in the future for your happiness and well being.  Do these stories about what needs to happen next in your life make you stressed or unhappy and are you losing sleep?  Now think to yourself: Maybe. Maybe this event will happen, or Maybe there is another way to achieve your goals or Maybe there is something else out there for you that you can’t see right now.  Let Maybe allow you the room to breathe and stretch and open up to all that is possible.

Let Maybe give you ground to stay hopeful until you find your way!


What Happens When We Are Willing To Wait For An Answer?


It can feel good to be able to answer “yes” or “no” to the questions about what we should do in life. It can feel good to be decisive and know exactly how we intend to resolve a problem or situation we are facing. Sometimes, however, the impulse to immediately decide “yes” or “no” to the everyday problems and situations that we face is more about playing it safe and clinging to certainty than it is about living life to the fullest.

This is why I love the idea of Maybe. Maybe allows us to contemplate the possibilities of life unfolding in many different ways without feeling the need for action the very minute a problem confronts us.  It allows us to pause and wonder if there is something else beyond what we are seeing in the moment. Maybe we have not explored how we can be more creative or more adventurous and maybe a problem can become the chance for a new direction. Maybe it is best to wait and let the situation unfold a bit more before acting in our accustomed ways.

After our pause we may come to the same “yes” and/or “no” conclusion or maybe we will try something new and it won’t work as well as we had hoped.  But MAYBE we will expand our lives and create new opportunities, meet someone new or just have an experience unlike any we have had before.

Maybe allows us to engage life full on because instead of looking only for what we “know” we expand our boundaries to an infinite playing field of all that can be. After all, are we really looking for certainty in our lives or are we looking to live a life of fulfillment, joy and abundance?

Just Maybe.

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Maybe, it is Good!!!

The other day my client Jessica, an interior designer, called me and said, “Allison, you are going to be so disappointed in me.  My largest client called me yesterday and said it was imperative that I call her back immediately.  When I could not get in touch with her, I immediately started to worry that something I ordered was incorrect or that she was unhappy with my work or perhaps she was going to fire me.” Jessica paused for a moment and after catching her breath, she continued. “I could not sleep last night and made myself sick with worry of what could possibly be wrong.  I finally spoke to my client this morning; she was calling to tell me that she wanted to introduce me to her friend who wants to hire a designer for her new home in Westchester.” After pausing again, Jessica gave a big sigh. “All that worry and emotional pain for nothing,” she said, “and the thought never even occurred to me that Maybe she wanted to give me some good news about a potential job.”

Of course, I was initially very happy for my client that she had a lead for some new work and I congratulated her.  After that, I said that I would never be disappointed in someone if they did not use Maybe. Maybe is not about handling something the right way or the wrong way. For me, choosing Maybe as a life philosophy is about living life with less emotional pain and suffering. If a situation in my life looks bad or something unexpected happens, instead of starting to worry or plan for the worst possible outcome, I pause for a moment and enter the realm of Maybe.  Maybe is a doorway for me to see that the situation that I am facing may still turn out to have a positive outcome or Maybe there is another way to achieve my goal or Maybe I will find peace with whatever I am experiencing.  This way, instead of shutting down with fear and worry, I am able to relax my mind and open up to all that is possible.

We all have many moments like Jessica had yesterday with her client.  Give Maybe a try and let me know what happens!!

Why Is It So Tough To Be A Positive Thinker?

Smiling emoticon

I remember how I felt after reading Norman Vincent Peale’s, The Power of Positive Thinking.  I was so inspired that I made a commitment to become a positive thinker.  For days, I held onto my positive thinking so tightly; when a negative thought appeared I forced it away with positive thoughts.  I later learned that there was a problem with my new life philosophy.  I realized that we can’t push down a negative thought completely, because it stays inside of us and festers and grows. In fact, after a few days of only permitting positive thoughts, I had a horrible nightmare in which many people that I loved died.  I woke up petrified and when I fell asleep again I had the same dream.  I had never had the same dream twice in one night or a dream with so much negativity and loss.  To this day I believe these nightmares surfaced because I was not permitting my mind to be negative. I was suppressing my feelings and then the pressure became so great that my mind released a tremendous amount of negativity when I fell asleep and could not consciously control my thinking.

At first I was devastated that my positive thinking journey had failed. I still loved Peale’s book, but I realized that anyone with a great fear of uncertainty would have trouble staying positive. For example, you start a business with shining dreams and aspirations.  You feel so positive until sales are low, employees quit, or the economy staggers, and then you begin to worry.  You worry that things won’t get better. You worry that your dream is gone.  You want to stay positive but the present is terrifying and based on that, your future seems bleak.  Although some people can stay positive in such situations, those of us who fear uncertainty find it very hard to find hope in the unknown. When we don’t know how things will work out or whether they will get better, we feel distraught and hopeless.

When I found the philosophy of Maybe everything changed for me.  I realized that every situation has multiple outcomes and within those outcomes is the hope that whatever is happening, Maybe it can still lead to something good, Maybe my circumstances will improve or Maybe I will find a way to accept the situation and still be okay.  For me, it was the perfect combination; I could stay positive but with Maybe I could accept and dilute my negative thoughts.  Once I realized that life could unfold in infinite ways, I was no longer stuck in my negative projection of the future.  I began to live with the continuous realization that Maybe something else could happen other than the thing I feared most.

Since embracing Maybe I am now a much more effective positive thinker.  Negative thoughts hold no sway over me because I know they are just a limited view of all that can be.

Try incorporating some Maybe into your life!  Let me know if it helps you hold a more positive and hopeful outlook on life.