Attitude is everything

When you laugh or smile, it triggers a part of the brain that actually makes you *Happy*
When you laugh or smile, it triggers a part of the brain that actually makes you *Happy*

We’ve all been asked the inevitable question – How’re you doing today?

Most of the time, we just give a quick neutral “Ok” or “I’m good, you?“, other times we delve into a long depressing soliloquy about how awful, tired, horrible, unbelievably bad, etc. our day has been and/or will continue to be.  How often do we respond with excitement or enthusiasm –  “I’m fantastic!” or “Fabulous!  How about you?” – does it matter?

YES, it matters.  It matters far more than you might believe.  By responding in an energized and positive way you not only reinforce that feeling in yourself, but you also share that feeling with the other person.  If they are already feeling joyful then they feel it a bit more; but, if they are feeling down, than maybe for a brief moment things don’t look quite so bleak.  You remembered to smile too, right?  A smile can sometimes be even more effective.  Why?  Because it means that the person was seen.  That someone looked at them and shared a part of themselves freely and without reservation.

A smile, a nod, an acknowledgement that you exist and are seen, these things matter.  They matter to both parties because while we don’t often want to admit this, especially to ourselves, we all need to feel connected to the world around us.  Personal connections have an impact, no matter how fleeting.  Seeing and being seen are quintessential to our survival.  We need each other because we are social creatures.

I once had someone ask me how I could always be so positive, nothing ever seemed to get me down.  I told them that whenever possible I’d always try to consider everything going on at that moment.  In most cases, the good would outweigh the bad, even if just for a little bit, and so I could reply with a “Fantastic” or “Fabulous” or “Great”, even if it was only valid for that brief exchange.   My joy was often infectious and others who might not have been feeling quite so effusive would perk up.  And sometimes it would even get me over a hump.  I’d literally psych myself out of my negative space.

It doesn’t always work. I am not a constantly perky individual.  Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can’t find the good in the moment and I can only manage a simple “OK” or “Not great” as my response.  “I’m sorry to hear that, I hope things are better soon”, “That’s tough, but it can’t last forever” or even “Yeah I’m with you, but tomorrow’s a new day, right?” – are some of the encouragements I receive and despite their simplicity, they often provide me with the solace I need.  My joy doesn’t return instantly, but it does come back, sometimes sooner than expected, and all because I was seen, I was heard, someone cared.

When we share ourselves with others we create a universal ripple that has compound and lasting effects.  How many ripples can you make?

  • Wave to someone
  • Smile
  • Greet someone – Hello, Good Morning, Good Evening, Happy Monday – don’t forget to use their name
  • Laugh
  • Whistle
  • Skip – you remember how, right?
  • Play
  • Whoop

Do you feel the change in yourself the more you do this?  Can you feel the change in others?  Can you keep it going?

I know it’s difficult, but try.  It’s like a muscle, start slow and build it up.  Push a little more each day.  You’ll be surprised at the result!



What’s the worst that could happen?

Due to recent budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.
Due to recent budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.

Thrown out by my spouse.

No place to live.

No job.

Sounds like the beginning of a top country song I know.  And all the while I’m thinking, what the hell am I going to do?  And I keep thinking, and thinking, and consider all my options:

  • Economy currently sucks, job market non-existent – odds of finding a job here? Next to nil.
  • No money to get a place of my own, nor are there very many options.  – Small towns can suck this way.
  • No family to stay with.  Siblings and parents are either full up already, too far away, or in worse shape than I am.
  • Friends are staying away, too much drama…but not every friend.

I have one who might help me out, but they’re not close.

Is it a good idea to take what little cash I have to drive over a thousand miles and leave everything and everyone behind?  What’s the worst that could happen?

  • I could be attacked and/or killed.
  • My car could break down.
  • My friend changes their mind.
  • I can’t get a job.
  • I end up homeless with a cart filled with my meager possessions.

Well, if I’m attacked or killed, then everything is pretty well done for anyway.

If my car breaks down than I won’t get where I’m headed.

If my friend changes their mind I’ll be homeless.  If I can’t get a job I’ll be broke, and probably homeless.

So basically, homeless and poor or death.  That’s it, that’s the worst that can happen.  Death I can’t do anything about.  Death is coming one way or another no matter what I do.  Failing to take action for fear of death means I’d never do anything. Death can kiss my ass.

That leaves poor and/or homeless.  Did I mention that the weather where I live sucks?  Now this isn’t

“snows twelve months out of the year with below freezing wind-chill”

kind of sucks, but it is the

“cold and wet and definitely not good for homeless activities”

kind of sucks.  However, the weather where I’m potentially headed…now that definitely doesn’t suck.  That weather is mild, sunny, barely cold (considering currently living standards) and is next to the ocean.  Yep, that’s right, beach front.

So worst case scenario (not including death) has me homeless and poor, but in a better environment (even if I don’t make it the entire way) with ocean front property (public beaches count) for me and my borrowed shopping cart.  Therefore, the best case scenario has me arriving safe and sound, temporarily living with my friend, getting a job, a new place, and starting over.

Not much of a choice.  Having eliminated the most dire possibility (death), having found a a glimmer of hope amongst the remaining woe, the decision kind of made itself.  Staying was not an option, but going was.  Even if it didn’t work out, I would be better off in the long run.

Here’s to taking the leap!