Remember when you were in school and someone got called down to the office?
I don’t know about your school, but in mine there were a lot of “oohs” and whispers and other sounds that indicated the kid was in trouble. If you were ever the kid going to the office you probably walked as slow as possible, dreading what was coming. You were probably thinking, what did you do and how you were going to explain it to your parents. Fast forward to your adult life when you find out your boss wants to meet with you. Your stomach drops a little and you start thinking thoughts that you’re going to be reprimanded or possible let go.
How about your daily activities? Do you stop and think of something positive that you accomplished at the end of the day, no matter how big or small? Or do you remind yourself of all the things that you didn’t achieve?
Did any of you ever think “hmm, maybe the principal wants to recognize me for a good deed? Did you think maybe my boss wants to tell me how great I’m doing or even give me a raise? What about saying to yourself, maybe I didn’t get to the gym today but I took a walk with my family this evening?
Why is it that so often we head down the path of the worst possible situation or scenarios? Why do we focus on all the things we didn’t get done? And maybe it seems like once you start thinking of these thoughts it’s hard to think anything else.
Honestly, I don’t have an answer for why we trend down this worrisome path or beat ourselves up. I recently read a book that described our minds as being like an air traffic controller. Different thoughts come in and we decide whether we will allow them to land or whether we will tell them there’s no space for them. I loved this analogy. I don’t want to focus on negative thoughts or always assume the worst. And if and when these thoughts come in, I want to tell them they can’t stay. I’m not talking about a naive perspective, but deciding what is the first thought I’m going to have and what thoughts am I going to allow to stick around and get comfortable.
So the next time someone wants to talk to you about something try to consider it could be a positive conversation or interaction. At the end of the day try to think of one bright spot – it doesn’t have to be huge and I would argue that there is always something! Progress is not a straight line, but a mixture of peaks and valleys that trend in an upward direction. What is your bright spot of the day?