“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer
I just had one of those days.
I had the best of intentions. I woke up and told myself, “Today is going to be a great day!” (Really) I went about my morning routine, had a great client call, and got right to some client notes. Next up on my list were a few minor edits to my website, and then I had the afternoon blocked off for some batch writing.
An entire glorious afternoon free for writing.
Technical things are not my forte, so I struggled a bit with my website. When I was ready to leave well enough alone, I hit a few buttons, and poof, just like that, I deleted half of my website.
You read that right. That was so not a part of my super-inspiring, productive batch-writing-schedule.
What was on my schedule was a quaint coffee shop, a little over-caffeination, and time for creation.
A few expletives may or may not have been whispered, as my plans for the day were altered with the touch of a keystroke.
What followed was, at first, some massive frustration as I struggled to recreate what was formerly known as my homepage. Thoughts of throwing my laptop against my brick wall crossed my mind.
Then, I was reminded of my tools. I took a deep breath and slowed my breathing down. I talked to myself (you can do that when you work from home). I had a gut check and inner pow-wow.
No, this wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t what I wanted to do.
I begrudgingly asked myself, “What’s good about this?”
That single question shifted my frustration and slowed my heart rate down.
Good: I had actually been putting off a few changes I’d been wanting to make to my site, and this was going to force me to do the work.
Good: I had the afternoon free to fix my site.
Good: As much of a pain in the behind as this snafu was, life was good. I was good. All was ok. In the grand scheme of things, nothing bad had happened. The day just wasn’t going according to my plan.
With a readjusted perspective, I came back to my screen with fresh eyes.
So often, life doesn’t go as planned. It’s up to us whether we see the unexpected curve balls as opportunities or disasters. How we choose to look at the situations we find ourselves in, and the attitude we employ, dictates our ability to maneuver them.
It is our unique lens that shapes our reality.
According to Professor William Scott-Jackson and Dr. Najat Benchiba Savenius, "Our research shows that one of the most powerful causes of a person’s happiness is that person’s own view of the world...Whether riches, health, or friendship cause you to be happy depends entirely on how you see things."
They go on to say, "Scientists have known for many years that our pessimistic or optimistic view of the world can be modified and is largely explained by the way we interpret positive or negative things that happen to us."
So, in a way, we can control our reality, or at least how we feel about it, by managing our perspective.
In fact, studies suggest that only 10 percent of our happiness comes from outside sources.
In my case, had I not shifted my perspective and gotten curious about what was good in my seemingly frustrating situation, you better believe my day would have resulted in tears or picking a fight with my boyfriend and a very, very late night staring bleary-eyed in resentment at my computer.
Instead, I’m writing you from my roof deck, while the sun is still out.
I realize my website is pretty low on the scale of life events. Sometimes we get thrown some pretty tough circumstances, and it isn’t as easy to adjust. I hear that. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to negative events. It’s about getting curious as to how we can shift our perspective and look through a more empowering lens when things go awry.
I wonder what would happen if you started to look at life's unplanned events as opportunities instead of curses.
Because here’s the thing: shit is going to happen. Getting pissed off and shutting down blocks our ability to take action and move forward. It also wreaks havoc on our happiness (see above).
How we choose to approach all aspects of our life, not only the perfectly planned events, creates our moments, our days, our weeks, our years, and ultimately our lives. Most of life is a series of seemingly small events stacked on top of one another. It’s how we approach each of those moments that adds up to create our happiness and success.
I wonder what new solutions, ideas, and insights might find their way to you when you ask, “What’s good about this?”
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