This morning was like every other morning for the past several weeks. I reluctantly forced myself out of bed at an hour I consider far too dark for human beings to be awake, filled the teapot with water, set it on a cold burner, and cranked the knob up to 10.
I went to the living room with my spiral notebook and favorite pen and began stream-of-consciousness writing. As usual, my stream began with my primary complaint about the morning darkness. It’s not the morning I mind; it’s the lack of light that makes me feel like I should be back in bed. My circadian rhythm beating hard, I continued my diatribe for several lines.
When I ran out of ways to express my displeasure, I looked up from my notebook and to my right, into the back yard, and noticed how it seemed as if a black piece of construction paper were covering the window. I sighed.
Then I looked around the room and off to my left. What was that I saw through the long thin window that hugs my front door? The front yard was miraculously lit! I quickly realized it was mainly the streetlights causing this heavenly sight, but there was also some light in the sky.
Our house backs up to a lovely patch of woods. The trees constantly shade the back yard and consequently, the morning skylight as well. But the front yard is treeless and has a straight line of sight to the sky above.
What You Believe Impacts What You See
This got me thinking about how any situation at work, or in any aspect of life, is not just one thing. Every moment, we make a choice about how we want to see the world around us.
I turned myself toward the light and began reflecting on all the marvelous things about the early morning: quiet time to write, silence in which I could meditate, interruption-free time to be alone with my ideas, etc.
It started me wondering why we do this so often. We focus on the thing we don’t like and as a result, that is all we see.
For example, maybe you’ve been angry all evening because one of your staff members made a mistake on their work today, so you don’t even notice that it gave you the opportunity to feel the joy of coaching and mentoring another person.
Or you’re feeling overwhelmed because an employee quit last week. But, if he were still there, you wouldn’t notice all of the other talented people crossing your path every day who could make great additions to your team.
Try It For Yourself
I’m not asking you to pretend the issues that you have don’t exist. But if looking at the world and your circumstances throughout the day from a different angle takes your mind off the things that you don’t like, what is the harm in that?
If you forget your worries for a moment or two, you may find yourself happy, even in the midst of problems.
I cannot teach you something that you don’t experience for yourself. So, throughout the day, when you catch yourself dwelling on what you don’t like about an issue, or realize that you’re worrying about something, try this: acknowledge the reality of the situation, then see if you can rotate a bit.
Tell yourself, “Yeah, this really stinks. I wonder what good will come out of it?” Then continue the day, looking around for the door that has quietly opened for you.
Make it a game of hide and seek. Life is meant to be joyful, and it can be if you stop pushing up against what you don’t want and start looking for what you do.
You may find the solution to your problem is already there.
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