Finding Your Way: Lessons from my childhood

When I was younger I used to think finding my way was something I was looking for. I would pay close attention to everything insight, because I didn’t want to miss a clue. As an adult I look back in amusement and remember how wise those thoughts truly were, beyond their surface.

Like most children, I believed nursery rhymes were important keys to living life. One of the things I felt to be important was to never step on a crack in the cement sidewalk. I fell for the saying, “if you step on a crack it may break your back.” I justified this by thinking it would help me stay healthy, so I could continue to find my way in life.

Often I would walk behind another person closely, so I could feel how it was to be in someone else’s shoes. I always heard it was important to know that, so I could understand the next person and we all know how important that is in finding our way.

But truly we all know the most important lessen to learn as we grow, is to believe in ourselves so we can learn to believe in others.

Deryo is a singer-songwriter and composer. His blog focuses on positive lessons from everyday life and the joys of music. You can read more at: or

Life Lessons Spelled with a W

Sorry if my spelling is off, but today we will spell “life lessons” with a “W”.

Too Many Choices: Analysis By Paralysis

Have you ever been in a restaurant where the menu has six pages?  I find it impossible to make a decision.  Whatever I choose, I always end up wondering if I selected the best dish.  Most of the times, my husband laughs at my selection… he believes it often turns out to be the worst thing on the menu!  I hate to admit it, but he might be right!   When there are too many options, I don’t know what to have, so I resort to chicken, the safest, but most common and boring choice.

One thing is certain, our world offers people far more choice than before, no matter the field.  One hundred years ago, women, for instance, didn’t have the freedom and autonomy they now enjoy.  They got married as early as they could, they had children and raised them and they managed their homes.  Their life was drawn for them the minute they were born.   When people went to the movies, there was only one movie showing!  People had no choice!   In a way, it was simpler that way!

I’m certainly not suggesting going back to that period of time.  No woman I know wants to go back to the kitchen full time and have a life of servitude.  However, it is undeniable that this increase in freedom and choice came with a price!

In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz talks about the fact that while individuals are now offered more freedom and choice, depression seems to be taking epidemic proportions.

Schwartz partly attributes that fact to the paralyzing effect of the infinite choice, which, according to him, is extremely exhausting to the human psyche.  It raises expectations (if you have many choices, one of them must be perfect) and it creates dissatisfaction (if you’re buying salad dressing and you’re not happy with your choice, it is easy to imagine the alternatives as being much better than your selection, so you end up unhappy about it).

Schwartz gives 11 ways to minimize stress caused by the debilitating effect of decision-making:

– choose when to choose

– be a chooser and not a picker

– satisfice more and maximize less

– think about the opportunity costs

– make decisions non reversible

– practice an attitude of gratitude

– regret less

– anticipate adaptation

– control expectations

– curtail social comparison

– learn to love constraints

I can completely relate to the fact that the abundance of choice can have a negative impact on happiness!  Probably, because it amplifies the myth that perfection exists.  We tend to believe that if there is such a wide selection, there must be a perfect choice!  The problem is there is no such a thing as the perfect job, the perfect time to have children, the perfect spouse, the perfect house or the perfect meal!  And when you take too much time to make a decision, you miss opportunities!

Analysis by paralysis…. that is what needs to be avoided when it comes to choices!   Choosing means being in motion,… but it has to be done with  no regret and no expectations!  And you always have to be ready to change direction if need be! At least, even if you slightly change your goals, you’ll always feel you’re going forward!

The author is Alina Boutros, who owns a University Master’s Degree in Literary Studies, has been researching happiness for the past year. You can read her daily posts on

Wrong direction

A father and his son, a young adult, were driving to the cottage. The father was worried, because his son had fallen into companionship with people who might lead him astray, and he was trying to help his son see that it was time for him to take his life a little more seriously.

“Aw, dad, I know you mean well, and I know I’m not really doing you proud, but I like to party. I’ll get on the right track some day. I don’t need to worry.”

They drove a little further, when suddenly the son said, “Hey dad, that was the turnoff for the cottage. You missed the turnoff.”

“I know,” said the father. “I think I’ll just keep driving this way for a while. I can always go back later to take the right road.”

A few more minutes – and a couple turnoffs – passed. The son began to think of the swimming he would miss if they arrived too late. “Dad, the farther you go down this road, the longer it will take to get back.”

The father replied, “That’s true. The further you go down the wrong track, the harder it is to get back. So when were you thinking of turning your life around to head down the right track?”

Where do you want to go? What do you want out of life? Most importantly, what are you waiting for?