10. Literature: "Harry Potter"
9. Television: "American Idol" (and the advent of reality shows)
8. Film: "Slumdog Millionaire"
7. Sports: Boston Red Sox win World Series after 86 years
6. Music: iPod
5. Technology: Facebook, smartphones
4. Economics: The euro becomes second most widely used currency in the world.
3. International affairs: terrorist attacks on the United States
2. Nature: Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami kills 230,000 people
1. Politics: U.S. presidential election of Barack Obama
Getting back to individual defining moments, the book "Self Matters" explains that you can trace who you've become in this life to three types of external factors:
Ten defining moments: A part of you was changed by these events and caused you to define or redefine yourself to some degree by your experience of that event.
Seven critical choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today and have set you on your path.
Five pivotal people: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self and the life you live. They may be family members, friends, teachers, bosses, coaches or mentors, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self or, instead, live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.
We all play out our lives according to the life script we've written for ourselves. Whatever your fixed beliefs are, you have practiced your script for so long you believe what it says about you and your potential. That's why we resist change. Here's the good news, though: You can rewrite your script.
Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Wayne Dyer: "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications company specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.