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How to Live The Sweet Life

Given a choice, wouldn’t you choose to live the sweet life instead of a bitter life? But how do we change our thinking such that life becomes sweet? This article takes a look at this topic of creating the sweet life using a simple analogy with candy flavors.

Think about this: 98% of the ingredients of a sweet orange skittle and a sour apple skittle are the same. Every single kind of skittle has the same sugar, corn syrup, and hydrogenated palm kernel oil.

Yet, even with 98% of the same ingredients, the experience of a mouthful of sweet orange skittles is totally different than the experience of a mouthful of sour apple skittles.

How? How can the experience of the sweet skittle be so different than the sour? The answer, of course, is the flavor that was added. The flavor makes all the difference.

Our lives, my friends, are EXACTLY the same. We all have much the same raw ingredients in our lives: things that go right, things that go wrong, people that make our lives a joy, and other people that don’t.

We all experience tears, joys, setbacks and victories. But what really makes the difference? It’s the flavor that we add to whatever we are experiencing, good or bad, moment by moment, which changes the resulting experience.

What do I mean? Right now, in this very moment, you are adding a flavor to your life, and that flavor, and not your circumstance, is determining whether you are experiencing a mouthful of sweet or a mouthful of sour.

Your mind has its own “flavor injector” working every moment of your life. Often it is working at a subconscious level, so you don’t even realize that you are adding flavor.

Are you with me yet? Let’s take a look at some flavors, both sweet and sour, and ask yourself which ones your flavor injector is using…

1. Optimism

Our first flavor is optimism. Honestly, when we are experiencing something, we often don’t know for certain whether it will turn out to be “good” or “bad.” So if we don’t know for certain, what will we “flavor” the experience with?

I remember thirteen years ago when the senior partner where I worked abruptly told me he wanted me to leave. I could have added pessimism, disappointment, or despair as flavors to that news, but somehow I knew God was in control, even though I had no idea how.

So I added a heaping spoon of optimism with a dash of trust, and within two weeks I had a new job at higher pay and the opportunity to move 30 minutes closer to our church, all without having to lift a finger. The flavor of optimism paid off.

2. Growth & Expansion

Another great flavor to the sweet life is growth or expansion versus stagnation or contraction. When you see a challenge up ahead, do you flavor it up as an opportunity to grow, or does it become a sour obstacle that will keep you from moving?

When you have multiple options before you, do you naturally gravitate towards what will stretch and stimulate you, or what you think will keep you safe? Which flavor do you think will serve you best in the end?

3. Freedom

Speaking about options, what about the flavor of freedom? Do you always see the possibilities, and relish your ability to choose what is best for you, or do you focus on what you can’t do, or find yourself in chains of compulsion or addiction?

The flavor of freedom is absolutely essential to a well-lived life. If you don’t see your life as yours to direct and create, then you will inevitably find yourself in a prison of your own making someday.

4. Joy

Does the flavor of joy permeate your day? When you’re stuck in traffic, when you’ve just landed that client, when you’re fixing dinner, does joy seem to keep bubbling up?

You can say “I’m just not that kind of person, John” and you may be right, but that doesn’t mean you have to STAY the kind of person you are now.

You have the capacity to change your thought habits, to reprogram what flavors you automatically reach for. Whether it’s a gratitude practice, prayer, uplifting music, or some other exercise, you can change.

5. Love

Above all, the biggest flavor to the sweet life is a jar labeled LOVE. The Apostle John said that it was the essence of both God and all his children, Jesus said it was the most important commandment, and even the theologian Paul devoted one of the most quoted chapters in the Bible to it.

There is nothing, nothing, nothing like love. It is a flavor that no moment should be without.

Today, as you think and work and talk, step back and notice the flavors that you are adding to your life. Note how many are sweet, and how many are sour, and what a pivotal role they really do play.

What kind of a life do you want to create? A sweet life or a sour one? The choice is up to you, as the creation of that life is in your hands.

Here’s to you having a very sweet and flavorful day!

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About the author

John Hollandsworth is a family physician and writer who makes his home in the mountainous beauty of East Tennessee. He crafts beautiful & insightful prose that illuminates the challenges we all face & the potential we all have in relating to others, ourselves, and God. He has blogged for over five years at Light Along the Journey, and has just published the inspirational gift book The Sunflower. He has been an avid Apple user for 30 years, beginning with an Apple II, to an original Mac which he still has, to his current trio of iMac, iPhone, & iPad. He aims to learn, love, guide and create every day. He thinks that the day that his beard reaches his belly button, he shall finally be wise as Gandalf.

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11 thoughts on How to Live The Sweet Life

  1. Love for others and love for one self make such a huge difference in making our lives bitter or sweet.

  2. Hi John,
    Lovely post. The flavor of optimism is definately for me. I spent to many years with the bitter taste of negativity on my tongue. I learned that negativity hurts. Positivity opens us up to wonderful opportunites and love. Thanks John!

  3. John,

    Thank you for sharing the sweet flavors of life. Personally I want to leave behind the sweet flavors of passion and commitment. Of course I would include your awesome flavors as well. I mean come on who doesn’t love a skittle analogy. :-)

    With your thoughtful post I can now visualize our lives being a big pot of stew with various ingredients. Although life sometimes throws us a lot of salt, vinegar, and garlic (challenges) all of the flavors combined makes us into a complete dish. After reading this I want my stew to be sweet, I will call it sweet stew.

    John I am glad to have read this today. It has made my day.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. John, what a potent analogy. I love simply saying the word “flavor” – it helps my senses absorb the beautiful flavors of life you describe. You remind us that it is the simple choice we make every moment which is important. (Hmmm…the sweet one or the sour one?)

    Thanks! Leigh

  5. Mohan Kumar

    Hi john.. This article simply heart touching. If we adopt these flavors in our life, we can be happy forever and can achieve anything in life. The fundamental to all these is love which makes our life worth living. We should love and loved. Everyday I will read one article from “Think Simple Now” before I sleep and this is the dish with all flavors which i am feeding to myself. Thanks for the great article.

  6. Very nice John. It sure beats “life is like a box of chocolates”!

  7. Hi John – I’m new here and happy to have found a new place to journey. I loved the simplicity used behind the candy metaphor; the flavor makes the difference. I love this because it gives me a ‘seemingly’ tangible method of identifying my feelings (or the flavors) that I’m adding to my life, and others. Also, this brings about a consciousness of the candy that I consume; do I allow the sour patch kids to sour the love that starburst provides me?
    This was a beautiful piece of work John…you provided a simple, yet power way to measure the flavors that we inject. What we inject, we project.

    I end this with a huge thank you and commitment to make it back to this blog. peace

  8. John,

    I love your short piece on optimism. Your story about how things worked our for you so perfectly is a great example of why we should be optimistic.

    Being optimistic and expecting the best is so important in achieving anything that you want in life. In what seems to be a dark situation, such as the one you outlined above, there is always the seed of something even bigger and better within. All you needed to do was be optimistic about a positive outcome and sure enough, it was. A bigger and better job with more perks was just waiting for you in the horizon.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom,

  9. Thanks for the article. We all have choices certainly in the way that we live and think. You have delivered this in an interesting way & one in which I enjoyed.

  10. Alex

    I loved this article, the analogy, the length, your wording of it, just everything, really good work =) Thanks for sharing such positivity and making my day just a little bit brighter.

  11. Eric

    This is just what I needed to read this morning! I took a step back and realized, I really do have a sweet life!

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