Don Paglia | Marriage and Family Counseling. Constellations Workshops


Tip # 101

“Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Henry David Thoreau

There’s another old saying, one quite similar to this fishing quote that goes: “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.” Some people find their particular road to be a rather long and arduous one. They take quite a while to find their way along the road of life. Others seem to know fairly early on where they are going and what it is they’re destined to do; and then there are those that never seem to find their way at all.

As this is my last Tip (All 101 Tips for Fishing and Living are now available at and will be available in printed form soon) I’d like to offer a few final bits of possible wisdom. Maybe you’re seeking a newer, better, horizon.  Hopefully you’ll find some of them useful as you seek a joyous and wondrous way along your own unique journey. Take what you like of these. I offer them in no particular order and without any intentional connections, although I am sure many can be viewed as such. Here goes:

  • To succeed in life go about by being focused on what it is you want, while also open to adapting to continually unlearn old and ineffective ideas, as needed. An openness to learn new things makes us come more alive.


  • Don’t operate from autopilot doing the same things over and over; things that didn’t work yesterday or haven’t worked in a good while. Anything new or different will seem at first odd or unfamiliar, but over time they become the new familiar ways.


  • We all get the same twenty-four hours each day. How you spend your time is how you spend your life. You won’t find an extra hour on the sidewalk like you might find a quarter. To add something new and unfamiliar into your day you have to push it into the already existing 24 hour day, and allow other things to adjust and/or contract in order for this newer priority to take hold. Defend your time as if your life depends on it. It does.


  • Accept your authentic self, as that is where your true happiness resides. Give up fixing you. There is nothing to fix; nowhere to go. Self-acceptance and self-compassion can go a long way on our road to greater happiness.


  • You can’t control everything or much of anything, or choose the circumstances of your life. We only get to choose how we respond to the circumstances of our lives. To this extent we get to have a powerful say in the matter of our life.


  • Worry is a waste of time, a misuse of our imagination. Don’t do that. Also, negative thinking, and expecting the worst takes a huge toll on our emotional and physical health. In addition, whenever we say bad and critical things to ourselves we are doing a form of gossiping. Stop that.


  • Recognize the magic within the ordinary, and discover there is really only the extraordinary. Life is amazing and precious. If you are still breathing, then you are still alive. If you are alive you have more to contribute. Happiness resides in providing the world with our gifts and talents.


  • Without action our ambitions and goals, no matter how clever or brilliant, remain just pipe dreams. Instead of investing in a career, build your life exactly as you dream it to be by taking your dreams seriously and bringing them into reality.


  • Love your life right now and be responsible to create the very life you want. Whatever your life is like today is merely a result of all the various rituals, practices and habits you have been doing up until now. If you want a better future start doing new rituals, practices and habits now and replace those that do not advance the life you say you desire.


  • Be on the lookout for great books. If someone mentions a book that inspired them this may be an important sign for you to read it. Books can change your life. Also include a YouTube, a Ted Talk, a blog, or podcast someone mentions to you. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Be open to possibilities of what and how a teacher may show up and offer you exactly what you need.


  • If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. This requires stopping any and all negative thoughts and self-criticisms. It is okay to look at our past, just don’t get stuck there. In a sense there are no mistakes; there are only learning experiences. Use them by building upon them.


  • Usefulness, contribution, and experience are what makes life meaningful. The secret of happiness is in giving to others and being a contribution. Our community will often tell us what our purpose is. It’s a matter of learning how to listen and respond accordingly.


  • Life is unpredictable, non-linear, or often doesn’t go exactly as we planned. Learn to flow with it. All people are either in crisis, about to go into crisis, or getting out of crisis. This is why we can say that life is a school of learning. It is our ticket to growth and wisdom.


  • Be your own best friend by taking 100% responsibility for everything that happens in your life. It’s not that this is true by the world’s standards. Rather, it is a very powerful way to live. A best friend holds you to a high standard; stays with you through thick and thin; and calls you out when you are not living up to those high standards.


  • Stop trying to please everyone. It can’t be done and it keeps you from what’s essential to you. Practice loving yourself first, and then see what happens. When we are in a good place it is amazing how available and how generous we can become for others. We can also liberate ourselves from those that are toxic and not good for our own health and well-being.


  • Life offers a privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to do more of what brings out our best self while providing value for others. We call this a win-win situation. Try starting each day with gratitude that you are alive and have this fantastic opportunity of this new day.


  • Thoughts become things. What you think you become. To make the most of life focus on making smart choices and you’ll have better outcomes. Stay focused on what it is you want; never on what you don’t want. This alone can radically change your life.


  • Be intentional as everything has consequences. Our thoughts (and our words) have power. Be your word. Speak only with integrity. Refrain from using words against others and against yourself.


  • Human beings are not separate nor are we over nature, or against We are to be in harmony with nature. Therefore, connect with nature to stay connected with the universal laws operating around us and within us.


  • Opportunities come to us if we go after them. When we think we deserve them we suddenly find them. When we are in a breakdown we actually are in the very best position for a breakthrough. Start by asking yourself, “What’s good about this apparent negative situation?”


  • When something turns out not exactly how we want it to keep going forward in the face of obstacles. Even when life gives us lemons, we can figure out how to make lemonade from any seemingly not-so-good situation.


  • Your chosen purpose in life is the motivating reason to get up each morning. Make up a great and compelling reason, then go out and live it.


  • You are the best one to know how to run your life. It is wise to do some checking in with trusted others in order to confirm that your instincts and intuition are in sync with their thoughts, as well. In some cases they might disagree with you. Pray, reflect, study, weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately decide what you are to do. If you are in agreement with what others are telling, go do it, and celebrate. If you don’t agree but you see merit in this other perspective, alter your actions accordingly. In the end it is you who must take action(s) aligned with the outcome you seek.


  • Don’t look or wait for permission to become your Best Self. Under any circumstance, by simply avoiding self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret, you’ll transform your life. If you do your best there is nothing to regret. If it was not your best, go about doing your best to repair any mistakes, and keep going from there.


  • Today – Right Now – is the perfect day to take action. It is never too late to have a happy childhood – a happy life. This may require you to jettison long held beliefs that do not serve you or no longer serve you. Having resentments about another person is like you drinking poison and hoping the other person drops dead.


  • Write your own story by choosing how you want everything to play out in the end. How do you want to be remembered? Go live that life to the full. Figure out what makes your life worth living; then design that life and live it out.


  • A worthwhile life comes about by continuously growing. Be a life-long learner. We are either growing or we are dying. Each of us learns in our own separate ways. Embrace learning. This learning is never complete or finished. If you think you already know everything then you are closed off to new possibilities. Instead embrace the belief that there is always more to learn, ways to grow, and things to discover.


  • God is Love and we are made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore we are Love as well. In our relationship with our God we are the Beloved. Learn to take in this Love and to embrace it. In doing so we discover who we are: God’s Beloved. This also gives us our purpose: To express this God given Love out into the World. Enjoy the journey.

I suggest you pick a few or maybe even just one or two of these thoughts that happen to strike a chord; then ponder them in the coming week(s); and practice living them out. Who knows what extraordinary things might come from such actions?


Thank you for your readership, occasional comments, and words of encouragement. I will be taking a short break before I start on a new blog project. I’ll keep you posted.

All the best.

Don Paglia