The Five W’s of Life

The five W’s of journalism remain a cornerstone of news gathering today. The W’s, including who, what, why, when and where, are the questions asked by journalists to provide the necessary details about a news story or event. I came across an example that shows how you would use the five W’s to gather information if you were reporting on The Three Little Pigs. 

Just as the five W’s play a very important role in journalism, there’s also five W’s that can help guide you throughout life.

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I found these five W’s to be very interesting and have explained what they mean to me. The first W states, “Who you are is what makes you special. Do not change for anyone.” I’ve learned throughout the past few years that people are going to try to bring you down, and some are going to try to change you, but you have to remember that you each have something very unique about you, and despite the opinions of others, that’s what sets you apart and makes you special. You’re not going to please everyone, so do not change for anyone. Be yourself, and let the ones that have a problem with you deal with it.

The second W states, “What lies ahead will always be a mystery. Do not be afraid to explore.” I hear people say all the time that they are scared to death of what the future has in store for them. They’re scared of being alone, not finding a job, not being successful, and much more. As a Junior in college, it’s often frightening to think about the next stage in life. My parents refer to it as the “real world.” Even though it is quite frightening to think about being on my own, especially paying my owns bills and completely providing for myself, I don’t let it hold me back. Instead, I continue pressing on toward my goal for the next year, graduating college and experiencing the “real world,” never knowing how things will turn out until I give them a try.

The third W states, “When life pushes you over, you push back harder.” We are all human beings, nobody’s perfect, and we are going to fail at some point in our lives. However, it’s how we react to the failure that shows our true character. When things don’t go our way, and life pushes us over, we must push back harder, knowing that everything happens for a reason and the best is yet to come. Don’t give up, and have faith in knowing that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.

The forth W states, “Where there are choices to make, makes the ones you won’t regret.” There are four human elements that make a good choice good. These elements include your emotions, yourself, a vision, and your surroundings. The choices you make must fit in with your positive emotions and avoid negative ones. Your choices must also match who you are as a person. By having a vision when making the right choices, you must make sure that your choices are in accordance with your long-term goals. Lastly, you must pay attention to your surroundings and make sure your choices are compatible with the situation you find yourself in. If you put these four elements into consideration when making choices, you’ll be more likely to make the right ones.

The fifth W states, “Why things happen will never be certain. Take it in stride and move forward.” Nobody will ever understand why bad things happen. I am a firm believer of the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Even though we sometimes don’t understand what the reasoning could possibly be, we have to have faith in knowing that it did happen for a reason and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to be. Even though it’s hard to understand why bad things happen, such as heartbreak, death, illnesses, and much more, we most move forward in life and not dwell on the things we can’t change. If you experience heartbreak, have faith in knowing there’s somebody else out there that’s better for you. If you lose a loved one, find comfort in knowing that you will see them again one day.

I hope you all enjoy reading about how I think we can apply the five W’s to our lives. Think about how they apply to yours, and how you can enjoy life even more while putting these five W’s of life into perspective.

Learn to Say No

Lately I have found myself overloaded and too busy for my own good. A problem I have always had is being able to say no. I have discovered that trying to be involved in too much does nothing but physically and mentally drain me, while adding excess stress. Stretching yourself too thin can not only cause you stress, but will also wear you out and make you vulnerable to illnesses. You should always remember that you are not responsible for everyone and everything. Choosing to not do something can allow someone else the opportunity to take over for you. Give yourself, and others, a break. 

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I recently came across a blog post published by Scott H Young that listed 20 Tips to Survive When You’ve Overloaded Your Schedule. I have found these tips to be very beneficial and often refer to them when I feel stressed and overwhelmed. One tip that I found very helpful is to be excessively top-heavy. This means that when we set our to-do list for the day, we should place the biggest activities in the morning. If you feel like your entire week is going to be overloaded, it suggests that you place the majority of work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. A bottom-heavy schedule will never get done if you are overloaded. By doing this, I have found myself eliminating a lot of stress and being able to look forward to the end of the week/weekend, because I know I have knocked out the hardest, most time-consuming work. 

If you’re like me, and love to be involved with anything and everything, I would highly suggest setting a limit before you overload yourself. Know your limits, and do not be afraid to say no when you know it’s what’s best. Doing this will make you a whole lot less stressed and will help you to appreciate more the things you do choose to do!

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The Power of Forgiveness

Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes someone with character to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean what happened was okay, and doesn’t necessarily mean that person should still be welcome in your life, but it means that you have made peace with the pain and are ready to let go. When you forgive, you release yourself from a heavy burden. If someone does something to hurt you, or something that you don’t agree with, you have to remember that holding a grudge against them only hurts you and causes bitterness.

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Instead of holding a grudge against someone, I have found it much easier to just try and understand why the person did what they did. There may have been reasons that you didn’t know about, or it could have even been a misunderstanding. You can’t move forward if you hang on to being hurt or angry. Choosing to forgive helps you focus on the positive, instead of staying negative. Not forgiving could even hurt you physically by getting so worked up and causing your blood pressure to rise.

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While researching forgiveness, I came across a website that had an article titled “How to Forgive.” In this article, there were 12 steps listed on how to forgive. The article also talked about how many different studies show that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and let go of past hurts. To live a long and happy life, we must learn to forgive the unforgivable, for it is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain, sadness, and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil. Even though at times I have found it hard to forgive someone, doing so anyway has made me a much happier person and I am now even friends with some people I once referred to as my enemies.

Positivity is Key!

According to lifehacker.com, an article titled “How Positive Thoughts Build Skills, Boost Health, and Improve Work” explains what research is beginning to reveal about positive thinking, as well as what both positive and negative thoughts do to your brain, and much more.

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Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking consists of much more than just being happy and displaying an upbeat attitude. Through research, it has been discovered that positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and can help you build skills that last much longer than a smile. The impact of positive thinking on your work, your health, and your life, is being studied by very intelligent individuals.

It has been proven that when you are experiencing positive emotions in life, like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities arise. These emotions were among the first to prove that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind to more options. However, the benefits of positive emotions don’t stop after a few minutes of good feelings subside. In fact, the biggest benefit that positive emotions provide us with is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life. Positive thoughts will result in positive actions, just as negative thoughts will result in negative actions.

Researchers have discovered a compounding effect, or an “upward spiral,” that occurs with happy people. These people are happy, so they develop new skills, which lead to new success. This new success results in more happiness, and then the process repeats itself. If you frequently have negative thoughts, I’d like to encourage you to turn them into positive thoughts, because the possibilities these positive thoughts can lead you to are endless!

All Things Are Possible!

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” Oftentimes, people consider things to be impossible before they even begin to think about giving it a try.

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I have learned to find the things people feel are impossible, and do whatever it takes to make them possible. When I first came to college, I was afraid that it would be absolutely impossible to remain as well rounded as I was in high school. I thought that being  a full-time college student would not allow me to ever leave the library, much less get involved with extracurricular activities. Coming out of high school, where I was involved with anything possible, when I finally got to Troy and got a feel of things, I was eager to continue being involved. By telling myself it was possible, and not being afraid to give it a try, I have found myself even more involved than I was in high school. Through holding several leadership positions on campus and in my sorority, having a job, and still maintaing a 3.7 GPA, I have come to realize that all things are impossible if you just believe, tell yourself you can do it, and don’t give up until you do! The next time you feel like something is absolutely impossible, prove yourself wrong! Just as I was, you might be surprised to find out what’s possible if you stay determined and never give up! Even if you fail and a task does end up being impossible to accomplish, I can guarantee you that you will feel much better knowing that you tried, rather than failing at something you were too afraid to even attempt.

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Just as Jesus said in chapter 9 in the book of Mark, all things are possible for one who believes!

Choose Your Words Wisely!

There’s an old quote that says, “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me.” This quote was originally meant to make people feel better when someone called them an ugly name. Unfortunately, the direct opposite is true in today’s society, with much bullying trouble and cyber bullying occurring. Wounds from sticks and stones are on the outside and can heal, and even broken bones can heal. However, destructive words and verbal abuse hurt on the inside and in some cases may never heal.

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Our words are so important. What we say is a reflection of our hearts. An unkind word to someone may affect them for the rest of their lives, but fortunately, a kind word may also stay with someone for their entire life. One compliment or encouraging word could make a huge difference in someone’s life. Our words should build people up, rather than tear them down.  According to an article from www.loveisrespect.org, a relationship can be unhealthy or abusive even without physical violence. Verbal abuse may not cause physical damage, but it does cause emotional pain. It’s been proven that sometimes verbal abuse is so bad that you actually start believing what others are saying. Constantly being criticized and told you aren’t good enough causes you to lose confidence and lowers your self esteem. If you ever feel verbally abused, there’s help! Talk to someone you trust about the situation, like a parent, friend or teacher, and make a safety plan. Always remember to choose your words wisely, because you never know what effect they will have on others!

Follow Your Dreams!

How many times have you heard somebody say, “I could never even DREAM of doing that?” I hear this remark being made all the time. If you have this mindset, then you’re right. You can’t do it, because you don’t believe in yourself! If you believe in yourself, and follow your dreams, anything is possible!

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My dream is to finish my undergraduate studies, get my Masters, find a job working with public relations and advertising, then hopefully get married and start a family of my own. My dream will never come true if I don’t chase it. When things aren’t going your way, you shouldn’t get discouraged. Instead, it should motivate you to work even harder. For example, last week I didn’t do as well as I had hoped to on a quiz. I could have easily gotten discouraged and had the mentality of, “If I don’t do so well in undergrad, how will I ever be able to get my Masters?” Instead, I did the exact opposite. Not doing well encouraged me to work ten times harder. I am now even more determined to do well on my midterm next week and prove to myself that my dream will come true if I believe in myself never give up until it does! I found an article online titled “16 Reasons Why It’s So Important To Follow Your Dreams.” One of the reasons listed talked about how accomplishing your dreams will make you appreciate the experience of failure and know that failure is just a part of success. It makes your realize that the failure isn’t really all that bad, and it will be well worth it in the end. I strongly agree with this and know that I will continue to view my failures as motivators, while not letting them get in the way of my dreams coming true!

Follow the Golden Rule!

If everybody followed the Golden Rule, life would be a whole lot easier. While researching the Golden Rule, I came across a website that listed 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule. It’s been said that the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to your own happiness. 

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I could not agree more with this statement! If you apply the Golden Rule in all of your interactions with your peers, this action will not only be good for the people you help and are kind to, but you’ll also start to notice that others will treat you better as well. By treating people this way, you will also find a growing satisfaction in yourself, a belief in yourself, and a knowledge that you are a good person and you should trust in yourself. However, the Golden Rule doesn’t just mean that you should treat someone else exactly as you’d want them to treat you. It means that you should try to imagine how they want to be treated, and treat them accordingly. You should imagine being in their shoes, and ask yourself how you think they would want to be treated. Ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. A perfect example of this is when John F. Kennedy exemplified this act during the controversial days of de-segregation in the 1960s. He asked the white Americans to imagine being looked down upon and treated badly based only on the color of their skin. He asked them to imagine how they would want to be treated if they were in that situation, and act accordingly towards the blacks. The next time you are aggravated with somebody, don’t treat them the way you really want to at the time. Instead, hold back your negative thoughts before they turn into negative actions, and put yourself in their shoes, imagining if you would want to be treated that way. Treat others the way they should be treated, and life will be a lot more simple!

If Today Was Your Last Day

Oftentimes, I feel that many of us view each day as a given right, rather than a gift. We are never promised the next day, or even our next breath, but each new day we are fortunate enough to be blessed with, we receive a gift. That wonderful gift is the gift of life. Walter Anderson once said, “Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”

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Just as Anderson said, how we respond to bad things that happen defines our character and quality of life. We have two choices. We can either grieve over the sadness and loss, or rise from the pain and treasure the precious gift of life. When I was six years old, my father passed away. I would have never thought the night before he passed, when we was tucking me into bed and giving me a goodnight kiss, that would be the last time I would see him. Even though the pain I felt that next day, and the pain I often feel to this day is not easy to deal with, I stay strong and fight through it, knowing that God is in control and he will never let me down. Even though we don’t quite understand why the lives of others are taken so quickly, we have to remember that God has a plan, and that plan is far greater than any of us could ever imagine. I know that my father does not want me dwelling on his loss, but instead he wants me living my life to the fullest, making the best of each new day I am blessed to receive. I want to encourage you all to live each day as if it’s your last. Be kind to others and live out the Golden Rule. When you’re no longer on this earth, think about how you will want to be remembered. Most importantly, let the ones you love know how much you love them each and every day, because you never know when it will be your last time getting to tell them. Just as Romans 6:23 states, the gift of God is eternal life. When it’s time to be called back home, leave this earth knowing you have lived life to the best of your ability and strive each day to be the very best person you can be!

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

I’m pretty sure that you’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.” I have never been one to do this, but lately I have realized more than ever why we shouldn’t. I have learned that it is absolutely impossible to make reliable judgments about people or things by considering external appearances alone. The perfect bible verse to relate to this subject is John 7:24.

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 I have recently made great friendships with people who are completely different than me. Even though we don’t dress alike, act alike, or look anything alike, it’s how different we are that makes our friendship so unique. While at Troy, the most special friendship I have made has been with an international student from China. As a freshman, I heard about the conversation partners program and was interested, but a little worried that it might not be for me. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to communicate well enough with who I was paired with. I decided to join the program, and knew right away that it was the best decision for me! I was paired with Tianxiang Yu (Terry). The first day we met, he didn’t even know how to pronounce the word “girl.” We ended up meeting up together at least once a week for the next two years and became very best friends. I taught him so much about our American culture, and he taught me a little about his in China. I am so glad that I decided not to “judge a book by its cover,” but instead step out of my comfort zone and interact with those completely different than me.

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Above: Terry and I have many pictures together, but this one from our freshman year studying together in the library is definitely one of my favorites!

I would like to encourage you all to step out of your comfort zone and get to know others that are nothing like you. I can honestly tell you that it’s something you won’t regret, and you’re bound to make special, unforgettable friendships!