Something Oprah Winfrey said in an interview I stumbled across recently really hit home with me: “What is the next right move?” She was talking about how to handle disappointments, even failures, and the point she was making is how useless it is for us to dwell on whatever-it-was, but rather to point ourselves in the direction of the next “right move.”

I love that! A mantra that can be applied to the little annoyances in life, as well as the oh-my-gosh flops/falls. My latest rescue puppy, during the first couple of months with us, would get so excited about FOOD!!! that the second he’d inhale the contents of his dish, he’d race over to my older dog’s dish and with the excitement of possibly locating the merest lick of MORE FOOD!!! would pee, right there on the kitchen floor. Needless to say, “Mom,” aka me, was not happy. He had learned that his bathroom was out there in nature, so it wasn’t an “I’m not sure where to go” issue, it was truly food-excitement.

I had a choice. I could get myself in a snit over his unwanted behavior, hash and re-hash it, etc., but fortunately, I had come across Oprah’s “next right move,” and sat myself down for a good think. I came up with first making sure that according to the vet, my new “boy” was getting proper nutrition. That being done, I decided that the instant rescue-baby had finished his meal, I would zip him out the puppy door and into the yard for a pee. Phew!

Problem solved. Now, a couple of months later, he just zips out that door by himself right away, and we haven’t had an indoor pee since.

This may seem minor to you, but then, most of the stuff that gets us all annoyed is minor! However, when we have to deal with the heavies of life, we can use the “next right move” just as effectively. A dear friend of mine is suffering from a health condition that her physicians and various specialists cannot yet diagnose. So they keep giving her treatments in hopes something will alleviate her pain. What an unfortunate predicament! Yet my friend inspires me by her decision to continue with as much of her regular life as possible, keeping herself firmly on the track of “next right move,” rather than on the oh-so-seductive “woe is me” track.

We all somehow know what a “right move” is, even though that “move” will be different for every situation. It is, always, the move that keeps you on a positive, upward path. A move that leans in the direction of solutions and away from lamenting your misfortune.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been rejected for a job, by a spouse, or lost your savings in some unfortunate occurrence, as best you can, howl briefly over the injustice/pain, and then follow Oprah’s excellent advice, “What’s my next right move?”

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing). You Matter. You Count. You Are Important. Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson