Getting Off The Complain Train

I’m leaving for my morning run when I see the sad state of my van tire.

Argh, one more stupid thing to deal with!

At least that’s one way of reacting. And at first, I did.

It is a reaction that will sour my day. It will gunk up my creative flow. I’ll be less empathetic and observant. Complaining is a closed-minded. It is a handicap to the orthogonal problem solving I need for delivering my best work.

If you are complaining, you find more things to complain about.

So I made a choice.

Feeling Grateful

→ Grateful that we don’t need this vehicle to go to our jobs. My partner and I regularly ride bikes to our offices and can work from home.

→ Grateful that a bike pump will (eventually) inflate a car tire. Grateful I’m capable of the physical exertion needed to do so.

→ Grateful to the positive attitudes and kind customer attention from the staff at Discount Tires.

→ Grateful I have the income to pay for four new tires without feeling financial stress.

→ Grateful this vehicle takes us on fun weekend adventures.

→ Grateful I have the time, ability, and access to go for a neighborhood run and reflect on my day and attitude.

I can either climb aboard the complain train or hop on the gratitude tracks. Either way, once departed, these trains build momentum.

It’s not the flat tire that screws me over, it’s my mindset.

As I made my run around the neighborhood, the choice to consider gratitude created a domino effect leading to positive reflection on topics far removed from the flat tire.

A positive perspective gives me greater clarity, creativity, and empathy; all critical to my work. But building mindfulness muscle takes deliberate exercise.

Here’s one simple exercise to shift your mindset.

Send one text, or social media post, each day for a week to share something you are grateful about that day.

I set a calendar reminder that repeats each day at noon. This reminds me to pause and reflect and think about how I want to approach the rest of my day.

This may all sound a bit hokey. But your mindset is a powerful predictor for achieving desirable outcomes.

“What we’re finding is that it not necessarily reality that shapes us but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”
— Shawn Achor, Author of The Happiness Advantage

Watch Shawn’s Ted talk for more on the power of mindset.

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