Over the past few months, I’ve found myself asking the same question over and over again. And every time I ask it and answer honestly, my perspective and attitude shift completely. It’s the kind of question that can change your life if you let it.
What’s the alternative?
Let me share a recent example to provide some context. I was really upset about something the other day, and I could literally feel myself going down a dark hole. The tears started flowing down my face, and slowly but surely the negative thoughts made their way to the forefront of my mind.
It took a few minutes, but I eventually asked myself, “Parita, what’s the alternative right now?” My choices became pretty clear. I could sit on my bed, think negative things, and continue to be upset for the rest of the day, OR I could think about the situation in a different way (it was possible in this case) and be grateful and optimistic. The choice was mine. In this case, I decided to go with the positive alternative, and I’m pretty sure that choice changed a whole lot, not only for the rest of that day but for days to come.
Look, I get it. When you’re in the thick of things, this is the last question that comes to mind. Sometimes it’s a little bit harder to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. And that’s ok. But at some point, you have to make a choice. And by asking this question and thinking through the alternatives, you’ll not only be able to move on faster but you’ll see the situation in a completely different way. Trust me. I’m the most emotional person I know, and even so, this question has brought so much clarity and insight. I won’t go as far as saying it’s made me a rational person, but it’s definitely helped me think more logically about things.
The example I shared earlier is obviously more serious. However, this question applies to any and all situations. When I’m feeling lazy and unmotivated to go to the gym, I ask myself what the alternative is – sleep in and feel lethargic all day or get my butt to the gym and do something good for my mind and body. Nine times out of ten, I end up at the gym! When I’m upset with Vishnu about something stupid, I ask myself what the alternative is – stay mad and not have any fun or choose to see how awesome he is and have lots of fun. Fun always win! When I’m scared to try something new, I ask myself what the alternative is – stay inside my box and keep on with the status quo or step outside my box and grow as a person. This one often takes a bit more thought, but I usually choose to take the risk and step outside my box.
Everywhere you turn these days, the conversation is about being happier, living more positively, changing your life for the better, etc. This is all well and good, but the question that always comes to mind is HOW. Realistically, how do I turn lemons into lemonade? Well for me, this question is it. Like I said, when I ask it and answer honestly, I’m always left feeling better than I did before. Not only do my thoughts change for the better, but my actions and behaviors do as well.
I’m now at that annoying point where I ask everyone this question – my mom, my sister, Vishnu. If you come to me with a problem or decision you need to make, I’ll likely end up asking you, “What’s the alternative?” And I promise it’ll change your life!
Happy Friday and thanks for reading!