Look, bad things happen. They happen everyday, to everyone. It happened to me recently. I hit a huge pothole. I’m sure you can relate. You’re cruising down the road, listening to your favorite song, windows are down, life is not just good… it’s GREAT. Then suddenly, without notice, BAM!! You hit this humongous hole in an otherwise smooth road. There was no time to slow down or take evasive action. The impact was so jarring you’re sure some damage has been done.
In this particular instance I wasn’t driving a car. What I hit was one of life’s potholes. The thing about life’s potholes is they are far more dangerous than the ones on the road because if you aren’t careful the pothole will turn into a sinkhole. But only if you let it.
As I assessed the damage in the weeks following the impact, I wanted to throw a “pity party” and everyone was invited. You know what they say… misery loves company. But I came to the obvious conclusion that I couldn’t change the past; however, I could change my outlook on the future. What I needed was a change in attitude. After all, life is too short to be negative.
When I considered my circumstances and everything life had to offer I could see that overall things were pretty good. In fact, they were #%@$#% awesome!
Here’s a few things that keep me going when I’d otherwise spend my day gazing at my navel.
I look for inspiration from others – I’m in awe of everyday people who do extraordinary things. Dick Hoyt’s son was born with cerebral palsy. Inspired by an article in 1977, Dick began running while pushing his son in his wheelchair. His son said “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” As of November 2011, the Hoyts had competed in 1,069 endurance events, including 69 marathons and six Ironman triathlons. If Dick can push and carry his son though all of that then surely I can get my butt out of bed for a little exercise!
I turned off the news – I stopped watching or reading the news, especially political stories. This doesn’t mean I am ignorant of the issues or lack an opinion. I just don’t allow the endless cycle of negative rhetoric to get me down.
I stopped being a hater – Why must everything be a critique? It may be human nature to put others down to build ourselves up but that doesn’t mean I should act that way. I’ll publicly admit it… I like Nickleback! Their songs are catchy. I even like Carly Jepsen. I bet when no one is around that you’re singing along with Call Me Maybe.
I stopped taking myself so damn seriously – Benjamin Zander calls this “Rule Number 6″ in his book Art of Possibility. Why should I get angry if my flight is cancelled due to the weather? It’s not anyone’s fault. And why should I care if people think I’m acting like a fool. If I’m having fun, then so be it. That’s why I LOVE this picture of Trey doing some sort of “Salutation to the Sun” move while Tom takes his photo. He’s relaxed and having a blast. I believe maturity is over-rated.
I’ve tried to eliminate negative language - Instead of saying things like “I don’t like it when you ignore me”, I now try to say “I really like it when you go out of your way to acknowledge me”. This may just seem like a play on words to you but words matter. Especially the words you say to yourself. Try rewording your internal dialogue as well to focus on the positives.
I stopped waiting till I felt in the mood – If you wait till you feel like working out you may never go. If you wait till you feel loved to express love then you may be waiting a long time. You have to stop acting according to the way you feel and start acting how you would like to feel.
I stopped standing on the sidelines – I am naturally an introvert. I fear meeting new people and making myself know to others. I’m also afraid of heights and flying. I finally began to push myself past these barriers. Over the past year I’ve flown over 10,000 miles. I’ve even flown a small plane myself! I’ve also been to four different countries and met hundreds of amazing new people. As a result I now have some great new friends all over the world!
When I look at my life objectively, who am I to complain?
Everything is #%@$#% awesome!!