It was a raw, rainy day and I woke filled with dread at the thought of commuting into Boston for a morning meeting. After getting dressed and making a cup of tea for the road, I made my way to the garage, fighting the wind for my umbrella and doing my best to keep my hair and clothes from getting soaked.
As soon as I sat down in my car, an old, familiar song started playing in my head:
Traffic’s gonna suck.
I’m going to be late.
It’ll be hard to find parking by the time I get in the city.
I noticed my thoughts and quickly switched to a positive station, but the moment I hit standstill traffic the old tune started playing again.
It takes such vigilance to watch our thoughts, to notice when we’re thinking from past, negative experiences (which is much of the time), and then do what’s necessary to send the mind in a new, supportive direction.
But, this practice is fundamental to living a good life.
When I arrived in the city, I pulled into the first parking garage I could find, left my keys with a friendly attendant, and headed for the street. Umbrella firmly in hand, I told myself that it was fun to walk in the rain, that my business meeting would be interesting and inspiring, and that the day would flow smoothly and easily including getting out of the city before the late day traffic set in.
I rode the elevator up to the lobby of the building and when the doors opened, I was face-to-face with a short, round man dressed in black and white with a red bow tie and big toothy grin. Over his breast pocket was a monogram that let me know he worked for the building so I went to ask for directions.
“Welcome to a wonderful day!” he bellowed, his voice booming over the busy lobby crowd. “You’ve come to the right person. Today is going to be an amazing day and all you need to do is keep smiling.”
Which is exactly what I started doing the moment he opened his mouth .
This sweet man with infectious energy walked me to the opposite side of the building, took me out to the street, and pointed me in the right direction. “Walk between those two buildings just after the bank and you’ll end up exactly where you need to go.”
How long have you been working here, I asked, curious to know more about this unexpected angel? And are you always this happy?
“I’ve been working as a doorman in this building for eighteen years,” he explained with pride, “and it’s the best job in the world. Every day I get to remind people to smile and be happy, because it’s a choice, you know. We can decide to make every day a great day.”
If he only knew…
We chatted for a few minutes before I left feeling grateful for the way life provided evidence that my decision to focus on a more positive experience caused my physical reality to change. It all starts with a crazy simple formula: First, notice your thoughts. Next, pull yourself out of the past and into the present moment. Third, shift your thinking to an experience you’d like to have. And finally, look for evidence that your new neural program is up and running properly.
Find the good in front of you.
Today I turn to this formula more quickly than ever before and I have no doubt it’s soon to become an unconscious habit, one I gladly welcome into my life.
You can, too. The thing you’re worried about right now, the person you’re frustrated with, or the fear that’s keeping you stuck, are all providing you with an invitation to change channels and play a new song.
Are you ready?
PS – I’m coming to London! I’ll be speaking at Alternatives on Monday, December 16th and Michael will be joining me for part of the event. You can learn more and get tickets here.
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