This week's column could also have easily been titled, "The Tale of Two Attitudes."
Unfortunately this past week I had a freak accident and ended up crushing the big toe on my left foot. While I was in the ER getting an X-ray, the technician was struggling with her computer and imaging software. It was early in the morning and as she was trying to get me situated and wrestle with her technology, she made a comment filled with sarcasm, negativity and doubt. She said, "Oh, so this is how my day is going to go, is it?"
The very next day I had a piece of furniture delivered to the house. As I was confined to a chair and unable to assist, the guys who delivered the furniture took care of everything. I was an added stop on their route and they decided to make the delivery their first of the day. But they forgot to call in advance and their arrival was unexpected. So when they came in the driver apologized for not letting me know he was on his way, but hoped I would be happy that we were first on the list. I had no problem with being first, and they were so good at maneuvering everything without my assistance, and since it was also a fairly heavy piece of furniture, I tipped them very well. Unlike the radiology technician, the driver responded with a smile-filled and optimistic, gratitude-filled comment, "Wow, so this is how my day is going to go, is it? I sure do hope so!"
Who do you think had a better day that day?
It is the tale of two attitudes, or maybe the tale of two self-fulfilling prophecies. If we wake up and start our day filled with negativity and thoughts of fear, worry, and doubt, there is a high likelihood that our day will play out exactly how we envisioned it. We will probably get frustrated with equipment failures, have a short fuse with people around us, nothing will go right and we will come to expect the worst instead of the best.
However, like our driver mentioned above, if we start our day with optimism, we see situations where we can help, we smile and show gratitude in advance for all the good things that can come our way each day, we will probably have a better than good day. Problems will come along for sure, but our positive attitude toward our work and everyone around us will allow us to deal with each obstacle and opportunity in such a way that we will more than likely end each day just like we began it, full of hope, optimism, and accomplishment.
If you are reading this column and happened to have a day that started out the wrong way, the good news is that you have an opportunity to change it right here and right now. Set pride and ego aside, look back on where things may have gone wrong, and think about what might have been different or what you can change immediately to get back on the winning path today. A little checkup from the neck up, if you know what I mean.
So how about you? Have you ever heard yourself asking something like, "So this is how today is going to go, is it?" Can you think of a time when you said it out of exasperation or maybe when you said it at a time of achievement? Maybe you have had both types of days, and now ask yourself, which one turned out better? I would love to hear which one did turn out better at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we start out each day with an expectation of hope and optimism, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.