When I asked my husband where this book came from, his memory was a little vague as to how we came to own a copy. Its purchase was prompted by either a recommendation or referenced in something somewhere my husband read or heard. Whatever the source I feel grateful to have stumbled across it. Of course, the title, Make a Choice: When You Are At The Intersection of Happiness and Despair, caught my attention – anything dealing with choices pulls me in.
Jeff Benedict has a long list of credentials ranging from featured writer for Sports Illustrated, T.V. and movie producer to New York Times best-selling author list. In his book Make a Choice he tackles seven inspiring stories. These individuals have made a choice to be happy despite the hovering monster of despair in their lives.
“People wake up and face extraordinary circumstances every day. Maybe you’re experiencing something hard right now. Maybe you wonder how you’ll get over it. The fact is that we don’t really get “over” these things. The only way is through them.” Jeff Benedict
What inspires you? Is it music, friends, or even reading? I find the example of others who either defy the odds or find the peace amid the turbulence inspire me. We can all feel inspired from any number of sources, but when we see real life examples of individuals who choose happiness over despair how can we not feel encouraged.
Part of it might be seeing the courage of others brings perspective to our pity party. I think the real reason we feel inspired by others because it helps us understand we are not alone in our suffering.
“There is strength and reassurance in knowing that we are not alone…life is better when you focus on the mighty good and leave the bad parts behind.” Jeff Benedict
And boy is there some bad parts. Each chapter introduces a new story with its element of heartbreak and pain, much of it very hard to read. It was not so much a book about lives lived happily ever after, but lives that chose to live happy in their own kind of way.
The seven choices that Benedict covers in his book are:
- Choose to Forgive
- Choose to Give Second Chances
- Choose to Serve Others
- Choose to Believe
- Choose to Pray
- Choose to Be Strong
- Choose to Be Mighty Parents
We have become conditionalized to believe happiness comes when things work out the way we want them to. The reality is happiness comes when we choose to be happy no matter what. I’m an optimistic person, but I wonder if I could be as courageous if I were placed in some of these same circumstances.
As Benedict demonstrates over and over, no matter our make-up it only takes one life-changing choice to live happier, more abundant life. One of which will alter our course and perspective. This book inspired me to look for the joy in any circumstance, to find the strength to be happier, and to realize despite my challenges I always have a choice.
4/5 Star Recommendation
Benedict, Jeff. Make a Choice: When you are at the Intersection of Happiness and Despair. Ensign Peak, 2016.