Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

We recently came across a saying, attributed to Ziad K. Abdelnour, that we liked. It goes like this: "Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives. And if things don’t work out, "Take another shot."

One reason this saying resonated with us is because our daughter is a world-class photographer. Her pictures have appeared numerous times on the covers of well-known magazines. However, no matter how good a photographer she is, if she uses a camera that has a hazy lens or doesn’t focus, the pictures won’t turn out very well.

That got us thinking about the fact that we all look at life through our own “life lens." We may get so used to it that we might not realize that our lens is not in clear focus. It’s important to step back from time to time to evaluate and see if our life lens needs to be recalibrated. Once recalibrated, we may be surprised at how much we can see how clearly.

So how can we check out if our life lens is not clear? One way would be to consult with those closest to us, or professionals we trust. We want them to care enough to tell us the honest truth. Sometimes they can see things about us that we can’t, or won’t, see. Things, such as — are we always playing it safe and staying in our comfort zone? Are we living up to our potential?

When our life lens is clear, that brings us to looking at focus.

Focus on what is important: To have a good life story, you’ll want to have a clear vision of your life values and whether, or not, you are living them. Anthony Robbins said, “Your life is controlled by what you focus on.” Focus on how you want your life to be in the areas of health, wealth, relationships and spirituality. This can give you the script for your life story. Ultimately, these values contribute to how your life will turn out. Next …

Capture the good times: You’ve probably heard the expression by Maya Angelou, “Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” Take time to enjoy life. Sometimes we can feel like our life is speeding by like time-lapse photography. Life itself can become a blur. Marcia Wieder, says, “Use your precious moments to live life fully every single second of every single day.” Our son is successful at doing this. He works hard, yet he balances life by living life to the fullest. He likes to capture the good times in pictures and send them to us. And we thoroughly enjoy receiving them. Next …

Develop from the negatives: Life doesn’t always go smoothly. We all experience tragedies and heartache along the way. Philosopher, Epictetus said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” The word ‘resilience’ comes to mind. Resilience is a common characteristic of people who succeed in life. Joyce Meyer says, “We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.” Finally, and if things don’t work out …

Take another shot: Talk about taking “another shot," when Thomas Edison was asked how he could keep going after failing 10,000 times in his attempt to invent the light bulb, he replied, “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Successful people don’t dwell on “failure," in fact that word isn’t even in their vocabulary. They substitute the word “learning” for failure. As Henry Ford said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”

What about you? You’ll want your life lens to be clear so that you can focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and, if things don’t work out, take another shot. Your life story can be even better if you live by Winnie-the-Pooh’s wise words to Piglet, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at