The Muscle of Optimism

Ever had a total crap day? I know. Of course you have. We’ve all had them. They’re terrible to even think about, but they’re a fact of life. They happen. In fact, I’m actually having one of those today. Ha! The car breaks down. The kids get sick. The trip out of town doesn’t happen. Then, the straw breaks the proverbial camel’s back when you figure out you have no more toilet paper in the house. Of course, these is all purely hypothetical things (or real for me today).

So, I’m sure you’re wondering why in the world would I talk about something so negative in this mostly positive newsletter? It’s because despite the events of the day, I’m currently laughing at all that has transpired. Years ago I would have assumed all of these things were happening “to” me rather than “for” me. I would have shed a tear or two and been unproductive the rest of the  day. Ever been there?

I now look at these incidents in an entirely new way, with some humor and a positive perspective. See – over the last few years I’ve been building the muscles of optimism and perspective in the same way others do their crow pose (I still can’t do one of those). You might be now asking, “how in the world did you do that?”

Simple, repetitive shifts in my thinking.

I learned the law of attraction is a real thing. Read anything by Eckhart Tolle to learn more. Once one thing goes wrong in our day we begin to look for evidence that confirms the rest of the day will be bad and we attract more of the wrong kind of events. Our subconscious that takes over and it often happens unbeknownst to us. We slightly shift our perspective and begin to see and focus only on the bad things happening. What I realized is that I needed to pay more attention to my thoughts and actions to prevent that shift from happening.

Each time a possibly “negative” event occurred I made the decision to repeat to myself, “this is happening for my benefit.” I started making the assumption the event was a gift given to me to shift my day in a positive way (instead of in a negative). I made a new choice and guess what happened? I got a new result! I knew where the negative perspective led me, to the same lethargic, unproductive place. Where could this shift really lead me? I knew it had to be better than the alternative.

What happened is that I began to attract the type of positive events I wanted to happen. This small shift of how I perceived “negative” events had started to produce more & more positive results. In fact, it started keeping me in a more optimistic frame of mind for longer periods of time. I felt like less negative things were happening in my life. Was that a fact? Likely not. It was simply my willingness to shift my perspective, make a new assumption, and I started to see my life in a new way.

For example, today I chose to assume the car breaking down happened for my benefit rather than my detriment. Instead of wasting time and energy worried or frustrated, I let go of the negative and chose to be excited about what I GET to experience today that I would have otherwise missed. Inevitably there’s always good in every situation. I looked for evidence that the good was on the way. I got to see my kids all afternoon. I get to have dinner at home. I don’t have to drive anywhere.

This simple, repetitive shift took time to make. It didn’t happen overnight. But I can honestly say it has made the biggest difference in my daily life. And isn’t that what it’s all about? The day in and day out journey to our final destination. I hope this shift will be a positive one for you too & that your “crap” days become just as infrequent.

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