Let me ask you a question. What if the weatherman says it is going to snow tomorrow morning and, when you wake up, it is sunny and dry? Is your world turned upside down?
It’s not, you say?
Then let me ask you one more question. Why, if information such as this is not life-altering, do so many people make it the topic of discussion every time they open their mouths?
What is it about the weather that makes it the default for 97% of all communication with strangers in our society? Is that really the only thing we believe we have in common with one another? And what is it about elevators that make us talk about the weather?
“Hello.” Brrr, it’s cold out there!”
“It is. And I hear that it is supposed to snow all day.”
“Geez. Gotta love winter.”
“Yeah! 4 more months of this.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Well, have a good day.”
“You, too. Stay warm.”
I honestly do not recall ever having a conversation in an elevator that did not revolve around the weather forecast. It seems to be one of those things in our society that we latch on to like an old, smelly security blanket, ridden with holes.
For some reason I have never understood, a lot of people MUST know what the weather is going to be like at all times. It’s a sort of obsession with some. Not only can we turn on our local news 17 times a day and see what is happening with the weather, but many have a phone app that updates them (literally) by the minute. The fact that we have “The Weather Channel” and can opt to never miss a single forecast for the entire world is insane (and inane), not to mention a bit mind boggling. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…all weather, all the time!
Oh, for joy!
If that is not bad enough, we love to make sure the weather is a part of the negativity that we so embrace in our culture. Have you ever stopped to think that a “20% chance of rain” often means that there is an 80% chance of sun? I have yet to hear any meteorologist say it that way.
Want to know the weather? Look outside. You know where you live, you know the season. So, you also know the 2–3 possibilities of what the weather will bring on any given day. I have worked with enough Meteorologists to know that there is a reason it is called weather “prediction.” Why do we feel the need to check the weather several times a day? There are times when you would like to plan for something that is weather dependent…I get it. However, simply put a “plan B” in place and move on!
What is the point of this rant?
Well, for one, we let things we cannot control take over our lives. In addition, we let inconsequential things determine whether we are miserable or happy at any given time.
The problem with that is that we often discount the positive things that would make us happier and empower the negative things that make us “miserable” by dwelling on them.
After all, every time the weather forecaster says that it is “partly cloudy,” you need to know that means it is partly sunny.
When you learn how to create perspective-shifts, you can authentically choose to be happy or miserable in that moment.
It is not about being a “positive thinking Pollyanna.” On the contrary, it is about seeing things the way they are instead of telling yourself a story about what they are not.
All is takes are a few perspective-shifting skills.
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to go from miserable to happy in 10 seconds flat simply by shifting your perspective:
#1 Stop making your life so difficult when you do not have to. If you are focusing on something over which you have zero control, stop and focus on what you have total control over. Then take action.
An example of this might be you fretting over a weather forecast of a blizzard in the morning during rush hour. Your thoughts go straight to “I have a meeting at 8:00am! I’m going to be late! It’s going to throw off the entire day! Everyone will be miserable from the drive in!” Blah, blah, blah.
Hold on…let me wipe away the tears. You have no control over the weather or over how other people may or may not react to it, right? Yet, if we focus on those things, we get all upset.
Upset = miserable.
Let’s “flip the switch.” Over what do you have total control here?
Can you leave a half an hour earlier than you normally do? Can you get your stuff for the meeting ready tonight instead of trying to collect everything in the morning when you are already rushing? Can you choose to listen to something funny on the way to work instead of the always depressing and rarely insightful news?
SURE YOU CAN! YOU have total control of those things!
Control = happy.
#2 You will never change others. Stop trying! Shake your head if you must and move on.
Rarely are the things we are shocked about truly shocking. We are who we are and we will never be who we are not. If you have issues with someone else, have the integrity to be honest, be respectful, and to agree to disagree. Then move on with your day.
#3 You can always change yourself. Start taking inventory! If you seem to have issues with many people, you may consider looking in a mirror.
At times, it certainly may seem like you are the only sane person in the room. However, when enough people look at you funny when you give your 2 cents worth, you may need to figure out how you are appearing to them.
The way you THINK you are showing up may be quite different from how you are ACTUALLY showing up.
An easy way to find this out is to go ask someone you can trust to be honest with you. Ask them, “Would you please give me some honest and constructive feedback on how I show-up in the world?”
Be open and receptive to what they say. They are helping you. Feedback is a gift.
Remember, you do not get the feedback you want; you get the feedback you need.
That is why you must ask others about you. Even though the truth can sometimes hurt, you need to decide if the truth hurts more or less than a negative appearance in the world that consistently holds you back.
#4 Always ask yourself “could this be worse?” Chances are it could be MUCH worse!
Everyday, you pass an accident on the side of the road, or you hear a helicopter and look up to see Life Flight, or you hear about someone you know of or care about receiving challenging news, such as a death or layoff or illness.
Those people are all having a worse day than you are. The fact that you got dripped on when you grabbed your coffee cup this morning pales in comparison.
Life happens. Be in the moment. Be grateful. Be happy. It could always be so much worse than it is in this moment. Remind yourself of that regularly.
Stop worrying about the world ending today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia. (Charles M. Schulz)
#5 Think of your Plan B whenever you commit to a Plan A. It just makes life so much easier if you were proactive enough to ask “what if” and then answer the question.
Even if you do not do something about it, you will be more prepared if you have given it a thought when something (you cannot control) happens to thwart your Plan A.
Don’t worry if plan A fails, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.
The takeaways here are simple: Life happens. There are things over which you have no control and there are things over which you have total control; focus on those things over which you have total control. Take a little time away from looking at others to look at you. Be proactive sometimes instead of being reactive always.
Lastly, something I heard my grandma Estelle utter often was, “this too shall pass.” Know that it sometimes may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
Go find the joy in your life today.