Life Lesson from Steven Wright

steven-wright-headshotThere’s an old joke by Steven Wright: “Somebody stole everything in my apartment and replaced it with an exact replica.”

I always loved the surreal humor of this one-liner (and dozens of others from Wright’s seemingly endless supply, made all the better by his deadpan delivery). Recently, though, I got to thinking that this bizarre hypothetical scenario might contain an important life lesson.

As strange as it may seem, many things in our lives are repeatedly replaced with “replicas” — relationships, possessions, and situations in all areas of life:

  • You get out of one relationship only to have it replaced by another with the same dynamic.
  • You work your way out of debt, only to find yourself struggling financially once again six months later.
  • You leave a job to escape an unpleasant boss, only to find that your next boss treats you the same way!
  • You find yourself having the same conversations, thinking the same thoughts, and feeling the same way…day after day after day.

No, the specific details aren’t always the same, but your experience often is!

Why does this keep happening? Why do you so often find that the (supposedly) “new” stuff in your life is practically a replica of the old?

To answer this question, let’s look again at Wright’s joke — this time, putting ourselves in the role of the thief (or perhaps “prankster” would be a kinder and more accurate word). This isn’t a way to put ourselves down — it’s a way to empower ourselves by seeing the truth of this situation: WE are the ones who replace the things in our own lives. And, more often than not, we replace them with near-identical replicas.

The reason why this happens is simple: We create our own reality — through our words and actions and, most of all, through our thoughts. So if we keep saying the same things, doing the same things, and thinking the same things, we’re going to keep getting the same results. We’re going to keep replacing everything in our lives with replicas.

If you’re happy with the way things are, by all means, keep up whatever you’re doing (and saying and thinking)! But if you’d prefer something else, then here’s some good news: It’s just as easy to get something different!

(Well, almost as easy — it does take a bit of conscious effort to form a new habit, but you can certainly do it!)

After all, that “prankster” breaks into your house/life every single night and replaces every single thing in your life! And once you realize that this prankster is YOU (or your mind), you can decide to replace things with upgrades!

If you don’t want to replace your old, negative relationship patterns with replicas, think different thoughts about the relationship (and the other person). Say different words — to them and to yourself. And expect different outcomes.

(The same goes for health, finances, work, or any other area of your life — it ALL gets replaced by that prankster!)

All of these changes start with a decision that you’d like some new “stuff” in your life.

If this prankster is going to regularly replace everything anyway (and it is!), you may as well ask it for things that you prefer. Tell it that if it’s going to steal and replace your couch anyway, you’d like a replacement that’s a bit more comfortable than what you’ve currently got. And, while it’s replacing things, how about more harmonious relationships, a greater flow of abundance, and more joy in all areas of your life.

If Steven Wright is getting “robbed” anyway, he may as well get some nice, new furniture out of the deal! And if you are going to create (and re-create) your life experience every single day, you may as well get your heart’s desires!

(PS: Wright’s joke also has a great topper: when he tells his roommate what happens, his roommate asks him, “Do I know you?”)

PPS (unrelated to the Wright joke, but fairly time sensitive): Have you signed up to contribute to our upcoming book, 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul? There are only a few days left to sign up at 50% off (through May 31).

The book is going to have one tip per day of the year, each submitted by soulful contributors — including bestselling authors Arielle Ford, Peggy McColl, and Christy Whitman. I know that the reach is going to be amazing when we spread the word about it when it comes out this November.

I hope you’ll join us in this wonderful collaboration — a great way to share your message, expand your audience, and inspire thousands…as a published author! Click here to learn all about it and sign up!

Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Love

The Lie of Self-Criticism…and the Truth of Self-Love
Have you ever seen the Dove Soap commercials where a police artist sketches women based on verbal descriptions?

The artist (who doesn’t see the women) makes two sets of drawings: the first set is based on each woman describing herself; the second set is based on other women’s descriptions of them. The differences are staggering: The drawings based on others’ descriptions show beautiful women, while the drawings based on self-descriptions are ugly—almost deformed—with every so-called flaw grotesquely magnified.

This experiment illustrates (quite literally!) the extent to which many people suffer from poor self-image—an issue […] Continue Reading…

Smoke ’em if ya got ’em!

When my dad was in basic training for the army, every time they’d take a break, someone would yell out: Smoke ’em if ya got ’em!

(This was in the early 1950s, when it was assumed that the only reason someone wouldn’t smoke during a short break was because they’d run out of cigarettes!)

At the end of the 15 minutes (or however long the break lasted), it was back to basic training. The window of opportunity for cigarettes was officially closed, whether or not you’d smoked.

Although I’ve never been a smoker and definitely don’t encourage the habit, this line does make a […] Continue Reading…

Your Biggest Addiction

Unless I know you fairly well, I don’t know what addictions you do or don’t have. I don’t know if you smoke, drink to excess, gamble compulsively, binge eat junk food, or bite your nails.

I also don’t know if you have any positive addictions (or, if that feels too much like an oxymoron, we can just call them good habits). You might meditate every day, exercise, drink green smoothies, or do anything else on a regular basis that helps you feel better — and that, if you were to stop suddenly, would make you go through withdrawal (or at least feel […] Continue Reading…

How Do You Solve the South Pole?

As ludicrous as it might sound, what if your friend told you that they wanted to “solve” the South Pole? (And no, they weren’t talking about global warming — and no, they’re not a penguin.) Imagine the ridiculous conversation you might have:

Friend: I’ve got a big problem: Every year I go to the South Pole, and I always get really cold — even if I bundle up in the warmest clothes I have.

You: Well, then just don’t go there!

Friend: But that doesn’t solve the problem! That’s just avoidance!

You: Exactly! I think that you should avoid going to the South Pole! Maybe instead, […] Continue Reading…

Getting out of the Mental Mud

The biggest change in my life over the past few months is that now, unlike before, when I realize I’ve made a wrong turn, I don’t keep driving down that road!

I’m not talking about literal wrong turns (although it’s true for those as well).
I’m not talking about figurative wrong turns — actions that lead you someplace where you didn’t want to go. (I’ve already written a post about that — and what to do when it happens.)
I’m talking about mental “wrong turns” — thought patterns that take you off your intended path…perhaps even into an inner “ditch.”

It’s not a big deal to have unintended thoughts. In […] Continue Reading…

What’s Your Word of the Year? (Here’s Mine)

For the past few years I’ve practiced my own personal New Year’s tradition:

On January 1, I pick a word for the year and write it on my bathroom mirror — where it stays for the next 365 days.

I write the word in bold, blue Sharpie and position it so that whenever I look in the mirror, I see it just above my head (or, if I’m standing with particularly good posture, as if it’s written directly on my forehead).

Each time I see the word, it reinforces its meaning, its power, and its role in my life — so I’m careful to choose a word that […] Continue Reading…

New Year’s Manifestations (NOT Resolutions!)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that you had a wonderful end to 2014 and a happy New Year’s celebration — and that 2015 is already starting off great for you!
So, it’s that time of year again: time to turn over a new calendar page, turn over a new leaf, and make your New Year’s resolutions.
(Or not.)
When you think of New Year’s resolutions, do you think, “Yay!” — or do you think, “Ugh!”. Or do you start off thinking, “Yay!” (in January) and end up thinking “Ugh!” (by February, if not sooner).
If you’ve ever gotten excited about a New Year’s resolution — […] Continue Reading…

Be Like a Kid on Christmas Morning

Here’s something you can probably imagine, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas or have kids…

Think of a kid on Christmas morning — before they open presents…or even see them.

How do you think they feel? Bored? Excited? Or do they not feel much of anything at all until they actually open their presents?

Most likely, they’re bouncing off the walls with excitement from the minute they wake up! (That is, if they managed to sleep at all!)

They don’t wait until they actually see their presents until they feel excited. They don’t wait until they open them. They don’t wait until they […] Continue Reading…

You WILL Find What You’re Looking For

(In several posts I’ve been tempted to simply write a sentence or two — or even just leave it blank except for the title. This is probably the closest I’ve come to actually doing this, but I decided that, rather than explain or elaborate, I’d simply offer some examples to reinforce the title’s point…)

If you’re looking for reasons to feel good, you’ll find them.
If you’re looking for reasons to feel bad, you’ll find them.
If you’re looking for reasons why your life is great, you’ll find them.
If you’re looking for reasons why your life is terrible, you’ll find them.
If you’re […] Continue Reading…