Lifestyle Design

Six Distinctions to Make Designing Your Life More Effortless by Corrie Woods

Listen vs. Receive
Have you ever had a conversation with someone … you knew that the sounds were coming out of your mouth were going into their ears and yet they did not seem to get anything you said? Perhaps they were passively listening. Here is the distinction – when you receive what someone is sharing with you, you are engaged, you give them eye contact, and you make them feel that what they are sharing with you is of importance to you. Do you tend to simply listen in conversation, too deep in thought or too busy thinking of your response to be fully present, or do you consciously receive in the spirit of understanding? Being fully present and receiving another’s words is an immeasurable gift to give and to receive!

Strengths vs. Weaknesses
Try this idea out – It has been said that if we spend our lives trying to strengthen our weaknesses, in the end, all we will have is strong weaknesses. What if we approach this from a different perspective? I prefer – strengthen your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Now, I am not saying that we do not benefit from growth and change, but rather than trying to be the expert at everything, put the polish and shine on things you love to do and find an expert to cover some of the other bases. Hate those taxes? Delegate! Home repair driving you nuts? Delegate! Got the idea? This shift can save you enormous time and energy and too, leave more room in your life for you to do the things that bring you pleasure.

Accept vs. Tolerate
When we tolerate something in our life there is an edge to it, a feeling of anger, of frustration and often that big word “should” is lurking nearby. It is a feeling of “putting up with” and it is a big drain on your energy. Learning how to recognize and eliminate tolerations is very empowering. You can start with a list of ten things that need to be addressed. Perhaps it is a car repair you have been putting off, a stack of papers to be filed, an unanswered phone call. … Commit to wipe them out this week and then get to it! It often feels so great that you already to tackle more. Now in contrast, when we practice acceptance, though we may not approve of something, we allow it to be just so without the edge. Just as recognizing and handling tolerations has its place, learning acceptance is a valuable life skill to master.

What if vs. Yeahbut
When we approach a question with “what if …” we open ourselves up to limitless possibilities. The process allows us to step way outside our “box “to consider new options, new solutions and to tap into a whole new range of choices. “What if …” is a favorite expression of children and it reflects their sense of wonder and freedom to be, do and have all that life has to offer. On the other hand, all too often as adults “yeahbut” rears its ugly head. “Yeahbut, I’m too old to change careers / Yeahbut, I’m too out of shape to get into shape / Yeahbut, it could never happen.” It is as if we say, “Here is this box that I live in and who am I to thing that I can venture out of it.? Perhaps you will start watching those “yeahbuts” and start bolding playing with “what if?”

Present vs. Anywhere Else
Ever think about how much time we spend rehashing the past or pushing hard toward the future? In this way life is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth. It swings to the past, passes briefly through the present and moves on to the future – never staying long in the here and now. Being fully present means you are fully engaged in the moment and being so – you feel, hear, see, smell, taste and sense more of your life minute by minute. There is a richness and fullness when your focus is on the here and now. Many times there is great fear involved because the present may not truly be as you would wish. Toss this around and pay attention. Are you living your life in the present or are you anywhere else but here?

Act vs. Talk About

Simply put – we can talk about and intellectualize a challenge, a feeling, a situation to a point with great benefit. At some time though, we come to a jumping off place when action is called for. When you come to this familiar junction in the road ask yourself, “What action can I take right now to get things moving again?” – and then do it!

Corrie Woods, is the author of the award-winning book, The Woman’s Field Guide to Exceptional Living and a women’s self-care coach. Learn more at

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