When you take a look at the following pictures, does your mind associate these pictures with certain assumptions?




Do you associate the pictures on the left with:

  • success

  • financial wealth

  • happiness

  • “living the dream”

What adjectives would you use to describe the pictures on the right?

  1. ___________________________
  2. ___________________________
  3. ___________________________
  4. ___________________________


Now, let’s assume these two women owned the car and house above and below their respective pictures. What would your initial impressions be (without having any other information about either woman?)

Many people would see the pictures on the left as good examples defining SUCCESS. These pictures might imply:

  1. Modeling career with 6 or 7 figure income

  2. Beautiful “Dream” Estate

  3. Luxurious Sport Car ownership

Many people would see the pictures on the right as good examples defining AVERAGE.

Is this perception or reality?


If you believe the pictures on the left represent a “dream lifestyle,” name a person “living this dream” you’d want to permanently exchange places with. Beyonce? Mariah Carey? Oprah?

These women are certainly wealthy, successful in their respective professions and own many luxurious items, but how happy do you believe they truly are? Each has had to make enormous sacrifices to achieve the lifestyles they’re currently living. They have faced controversy, marital issues, setbacks and failures (all while under the scrutiny of media coverage.) Their “success” and luxurious lifestyle has cost them the ability to freely walk the streets without security, travel freely using commercial airlines, enjoy leisure time with children in public parks, etc… What seems like a “dream” existence, can in reality, feel like a “prison” sentence without visible bars.




If you believe the following pictures:


represent a middle class lifestyle associated with possible debt, limited experience and limited resources for career advancement, your impression is probably in the majority. These three pictures are not typical examples of pictures most people associate with “living the dream.”



First, most of us believe greater satisfaction in life is found beyond our lifestyle expectations. I am convinced this self imposed belief is a MAJOR factor preventing many people from advancing toward pursuing and accomplishing personal needs that create individual HAPPINESS and FULFILLMENT.

Secondly, we have an inherent need to COMPARE ourselves with others when measuring our position in life. Consider how much more fulfilling it would be to discover true passion and purpose without feeling the need to concern oneself with everyone else’s opinion. Pursuing these concepts creates EXCITEMENT. This kind of excitement doesn’t “grow old” like a material possession. It offers new challenges and new achievements that keeps life exciting and meaningful.

If you accept my premise, you would begin to realize opportunity exists for EACH of the two young women. Yes, there are certain boundaries with each lifestyle, but the ability to experience JOYFUL LIVING is achievable in BOTH cases.

If you’re not EXCITED about your lifestyle and your situation, it doesn’t mean the situation is beyond your control. Change requires EFFORT, but so does being RICH or POOR (financially and emotionally.)



What if the REALITY of the pictures including the white car, the girl in the blue shirt and the smaller home:

  • didn’t represent  a middle class lifestyle associated with possible debt, limited experience and limited resources for career advancement

but instead

  • represented a young woman excited about purchasing her first house? What if her passion and purpose was supporting a “greener” lifestyle and drove a little car supporting her values and beliefs? What if the picture of this young woman smiling represented her response to the photographer’s question, “how do you feel when you reflect upon what you’ve already accomplished in life during the short time you’ve been on this planet?”

I am NOT a creative thinker. Over the years in practice as a physician, however, I have been exposed to many different types of people and LEARNED these TRUTHS from them. Most of us have the capability to redirect our lives down a better path designed to pursue our individual needs. We can choose to recognize that PERCEPTIONS and REALITIES are often subjective in nature and can therefore, under go creative alterations using our own creative thinking and actions.

Choosing a more fulfilling life based on personal self values, ethics and moral behavior provides a basis for self development and growth. This opens one’s eyes to NEW perceptions and realities that supports meaningful and positive changes. This new ATTITUDE creates motivation that turns each day into an opportunity to move further along the pathway of CHOICE.

I dare you to challenge your thinking in this manner. I dare you to discover a happier more fulfilling life created by using your abilities and willingness to apply yourself to pursue a better quality of life.



  1. Forget Oprah and Mariah. I take a pre-Florida Marlins Derek Jeter. The rings the girls. Ahhh

    Seriously, my answer today and twenty years ago are so different.

    I think it was Einstein who said insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Derek Jeter? Do you really want to go through a split up with Minka Kelly?

      Most of us with some years behind us (that were wise enough to LEARN from our mistakes as well as our successes) likely see life differently today.

      As far as the insanity quote; no… it was I who created that quote. I can’t tell you how often Einstein and I get confused! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Talking about comparing oneself with other, I smile at myself how ‘off’ I have become at not letting anyone dare mention crap like “see what your mates/colleagues etc are achieving”. I was never one to consciously compare myself with others, but crapy idea to associate progress in life by validation from others, led to some real stressful self expectations and situations. Am grateful to be well past that now. I recently as yesterday, turned down another opportunity to have a car no matter how small and good price because of the ‘freedom’ I’ll be losing just yet lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are definitely the MASTER of your own destiny. That is a very powerful position to be in. I hope many others choose a similar path so they too can learn to achieve success as you have done.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dr. J., great thoughts! Direction in life takes many twists, turns & detours. It’s all about getting back on track wherever you are. Your perception & attitude make any place okay. Passion for something can make any place better. It’s all in your state of mind. Happy Thursday! 📚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great comment Christine. I hope fellow readers take heed to your advice!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Before I clicked into this post I had the vision of Sgt. Barner from “Platoon,” saying “I am reality.” Lol

    So many truths within this one post ,thanks for another inspiring, motivating, thought fueling post good Doctor!

    P.S. I strongly disagree that you’re not a creative thinker; anyone who inspires another to think differently than they do, or think more on a subject that may all ready think a little bit about, and in the process inspires new thought/creative thinking must therefore be creative : )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. This world is full of so many opportunities…we just seem to react so strongly to failure, it prevents us from seeing all the opportunities that exist.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My pleasure! Learning something new all the time from you, so am most appreciative!

        That’s a great mindset to have about the many possibilities open, I need to start thinking like that a lot more, tend to have a cynical view (of some things).

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for sharing! I agree, perspective is EVERYTHING. How you view your current situation and lifestyle will either make you satisfied or miserable. it’s all a choice and based on values.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s interesting…it takes more effort to maintain a miserable life than to transform it into a meaningful one. Unfortunately, so many people refuse to believe this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed. people Don’t understand that happiness, peace, and contentment or a choice we have every day!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I work on myself. It’s the only thing I can do. So, daily I try to improve on doing/being better than the day before. I set goals, long term and short term and do my best to reach them. I see other peoples lives not in an envious way, but inspired way. I know what it like to be judged. I grew up poor, very poor, and I was judged big time. Interestingly enough it didn’t make me want to “show them”. I live my life for me and try the best I can at it. Did any of that make sense? Haha. Hope you are well Jonathan. Life zoomed by and I haven’t been on in a while. Going to an event to raise money for a local human association this weekend, but hopefully I will have a few days to peruse your posts. Take care!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Always nice to see your inspiring comments. I too, am working to raise money for an organization that helps critically ill children. I will be rappelling 32 stories down the Hyatt Regency in exchange for donations from wonderful supporters. If you’re interested (not pressuring you) my charity donation page is:
      Wishing you much good fortune on your endeavor.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Another great pep-talk Doc! I always feel as if I can run up the Philadelphia steps with Rocky after reading your posts! (Although I’m quite certain, unlike Rocky, I’d need an oxygen tank at the top waiting for me, giggles.) Hugs for your continued CREATIVE inspiration!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …not go out there and make it a great day!… Always enjoyed my coaching days (LOL)
      Thank you for all your positivity and that beautiful SMILE!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I am going to be more intentional about finding the opportunities in failure as a result of this post. Thanks for sharing! Abundant Love and Light to All!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. No one likes to fail. People should, however, like the benefits achievable from failure. The learning experience can propel oneself even further ahead in life than if the failing event had never taken place.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. sounds like you’ve pretty much described me .. living my passions within my means, lessening my carbon footprint and staying under the radar of that media frenzy lol
    This is my favourite take on this subject written years ago!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your post said it perfectly. Searching other lives to emulate to find success and happiness often results in one’s own detriment. Seeking BALANCE from within; defining life’s meaning from one’s heart and soul, expressing one’s individuality among a social world without requiring acceptance, (but expecting tolerance) will bring more joy and happiness than any material possession. Learning to find SELF SATISFACTION is an important key to finding happiness.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I call it inner contentment, same thing … but it’s CRUCIAL to enjoy life in a meaningful manner!

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow loved it 👌🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this….its left me thinking…..thanks for that!!! kat

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Always enjoy stimulating neurons! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for sharing this. Great post 👏

    Liked by 2 people

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