A matter of perspective
There are lots of difficult situations in life. However, it is up to you to decide how difficult they are going to be.
As of last Thursday I have a newborn living in my house. While this is awesome, it will probably be several months until I can sleep all the way through the night again and I’m often awake at 2:00 AM rocking a baby to (hopefully) sleep. There are more or less two ways that I can deal with this:
- Stupid kid, why won’t he just go to sleep??!?!??
- God has blessed me with this cute little addition to our family and I get the honor and privilege of teaching him how to sleep, eat, play, and live.
Regardless of which of those two viewpoints I take, the reality doesn’t change: he’s going to keep me up at night. There’s really nothing I can do to change that, that’s just how newborns are. But I can change the way I look at it and the attitude that I take towards the situation. As a result, I’m now smiling at 2:00 AM as I look at our little youngster instead of being bitter about having to roll out of bed yet again in the middle of the night.
The same idea can apply to any difficult situation in life, including your career. Maybe you’re stuck doing boring maintenance work, working with less than stimulating technologies, or just not doing what you’d really like to do. While this can certainly be draining, try and take a new approach to it: in the morning when you get to work, choose to strive to be the best that you can be with whatever technology you’re using. Try and find new ways to get better and faster at it. Turn those hindrances and constraints into a challenge. Don’t let the situation determine your happiness or your motivation.
Every day you have a choice to be awesome at what you do or to find ways to be negative and let things tear you down. It’s much more fun to be awesome!
Does that mean that we atheists, who don’t believe in God only have the first option? Also, you can (and should) change your job if it does not fulfill you, but probably not your child.
Just sayin’… :)
Congratulations on your new son!
Mine is turning 1 on Saturday. While having a child is an enormous amount of work, there is nothing like it in the world – enjoy and savor every moment. Even the moments that occur at 2am.
@Michael.. .He said one of two ways that *HE* could deal with it, YMMV.
How exciting to have a new son!
There is a third option “I am going to cherish this time to hold him now that I can” He will slowly outgrow the need to be held and become independent. You will miss these early weeks where you can hold and cuddle him as much as you want. Congrats.
Good post. When I feel myself losing the ability to be positive, I use two techniques to regain my perspective.
First, find the positive. When my 1 year old wakes in the middle of the night, I remind myself how quickly she’s grown and that there are only a finite number of remaining opportunities where I can make it all better with a lullabye. That helps me cherish what would otherwise be difficult.
Second, focus on what you -can- change. Don’t like your job? Create an actionable plan to get a better one and work on it daily. I find that focusing on things I -can- control, such as my behavior, is a better path to happiness than focusing on things outside my control.
Great post and thanks for the reminder!
I agree with what you said. I probably have less patience than anybody I know. When my son was born, I didn’t “learn” to be patient so much as I just was. I smiled and laughed a lot at things that previously would have fueled my rage!
There’s a book called “The Four Agreements”. In a nutshell it’s how to have a good attitude with life. One of the four items is, “don’t take anything personally.” That’s really what I feel like you’re saying, and something that I try to follow, even if I’m not always successful.
I try to carry that same attitude with me to work where nothing is done to me personally. People do things they feel benefit them, and sometimes it has a negative impact on you physically or emotionally. It’s not personal, and it shouldn’t be taken that way. It’s hard to keep thought, but it does work.