Episode 060: In Pursuit of a Positive Plan of Action

“Some people are never free from troubles, mainly because they keep their minds attuned to worry. The mind attracts what it dwells on.

“Worry serves no useful purpose and can have a serious adverse effect upon your mental as well as your physical health. Charles Mayo, who with his brother William founded the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said, “I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.” Because worry is directed at some vague, uncertain threat, it is difficult to deal with it logically. The best way to get rid of your worries is to take positive action to eliminate their source. When you develop a plan for dealing constructively with problems and get to work implementing your plan, you will no longer be troubled by worries. Negative thoughts always yield the right of way to a determined person in pursuit of a positive plan of action” (Napoleon Hill Foundation).

Action is a principle of faith. Faith is another important tool for designing our family culture. When we define and design our vision and values, we are working toward our goals rather than coasting, or acting out of fear to avoid punishment. Deliberately working toward a goal will yield completely different results as simply avoiding a consequence. David A. Bednar says that “Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicate to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost. Thus, learning by faith involves the exercise of moral agency to act upon the assurance of things hoped for and invites the evidence of things not seen from the only true teacher, the Spirit of the Lord” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 64). 

In my efforts to understand resilience I learned that there are three types of coping strategies: passive, avoidance, and constructive coping. When we are passive, we sit back and wait for the stressor to go away. With avoidance, we ignore the situation and try to push it down. With both of these, we likely do things to console ourselves or numb the sensations of the stress. We are usually reactive rather than proactive. But, with constructive coping, we deliberately work toward our ability to resolve our problems, spring back from failure or struggle, and do things to create the outcome we want by acting upon the situation rather than allowing ourselves to become a victim. 

When we sit down with our families to discuss our vision, values, and goals, we may ruffle some feathers. We may disrupt our norms. We may have to sacrifice some of our avoidance strategies to adopt some more constructive strategies. 

I think I am so set on this subject because it is so hard. But I’m determined to work toward my own deliberate outcomes rather than passively allow life to drift by and look back with regret that I’d missed out on opportunities to develop and produce better outcomes. I want to improve my relationships with my kids. I want to develop skills that will make life more meaningful and fun. I want to improve my health. And, I want to actively improve my faith and spiritual health because I know that all of these things atrophy with disuse. They crumble with age and time. But I need them to keep me from falling into darkness. 

What are some ways you are working toward your goals? What are ways you can be more deliberate and constructive?

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About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.

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