Purpose is the stuff of action. Any meaningful endeavor is powered and pushed by some motivating force, some intentional process that desires a specific end.
Everyone has bad days. I tell my employees that everyone has “stuff” – things in life that make us mad or hurt or frustrated, people and relationships that confuse us or distract us, circumstances that we can’t control or can’t find a way to change. Stuff. Outside the the associate entrance to our building, there is a bench with some brightly colored cushions. I tell my employees that when they show for work everyday, that bench is for them to put their “stuff” on while they get busy doing their jobs. It’ll be there for them all day, and they can take it home with them when they want. They can even visit it for ten or fifteen minutes during the day. But they have to leave it on the bench.
A positive outlook on life, and mental approach to the daily grind that sees the opportunity in situations rather than the potential for failure – this doesn’t happen accidentally, and it doesn’t happen naturally. Life gets busy reminding us of our “stuff” and taking our focus off of the good things around us. If we don’t make a point of changing our perspective from the “stuff” that frustrates us and confuses us and hurts us to the good things in our lives, then we lose the ability to stay consistently positive throughout life’s changes and challenges.
Pick a happy word for yourself. Mine is “wonderful.” People ask me how I’m doing all the time. At work, at the store, when I talk to my kids, when I get home after a long day – “How are you?” is the most loaded question in the world. Why? Because every time it gets asked, we have to choose whether to answer honestly and spill all of the “stuff” or to smile and say, “Wonderful!” So I decided to pick a happy word. It’s my fail safe – I’ve trained myself to answer the same way every time I hear the question. No matter what’s going on, no matter how I’m actually feeling, when I get asked, I answer, “Wonderful!”
I know you’re questioning my sincerity. I don’t blame you – on the surface this seems disingenuous. But the more I tell people how well I’m doing, the better I actually feel. And that happens on purpose. It’s not an accident, it’s not a state of mind, it’s a decision. A decision to think, act, and talk positively.
How do you stay positive day-in and day-out? What’s your positive thinking secret?