My Focus in Life

Let’s pretend, shall we? It’s a glorious morning. Coffee is fresh, breakfast fills the air as the children quietly scurry to get ready for school. As stated, we’re pretending. The children leave for school, allowing us to go to work. We walk to our vehicle and find a flat tire. Yup, it’s one of those mornings. In the spirit of pretending, we snap our fingers and the tire is changed. Thirty minutes has past and we’re now behind schedule. Traffic is crowded as we make our way. “We’re all running late.”, we exclaim.  An idea illuminates. We’ll inform our boss. After all, we’ll get there when we get there, and not a minute before. With the blessings of our hands free device, we call ahead to let them know we’re running behind. They aren’t happy, but at least they know, and can plan accordingly. We just got our thirty minutes back and are actually on schedule again. Upon getting to work, we are quickly reminded why we don’t wait for the last minute to find a parking spot. Yup! It’s the back 40 acre parking lot for us. Scurrying in with a slight shuffle-trot we find the elevator is out of order. Oh great, we have four flights of stairs to climb. Stressed and breathing heavy from the parking lot excursion, we make our way up the winding, echoing passage. At our desk we are met with a pile of work and a coworker who has the biggest “OMG you’re LATE!” attitude.

This is where we’ll take a breather. A lot has happened to us in the scenario. Let’s start with the children being quiet as they got ready for school. Tell me that not a blessing. Then we had the flat tire. This is where our attitude matters. If we approach it with a tempertamtrum then, yeah, it’s a big deal. However, if we approach it with a “meh, life happens” attitude, then we are more apt to be in a better mood. Moving on to the traffic that wasn’t moving. Driving can be irritating. We all know the best driver is us. Am I right? These idiots don’t know what they are doing. (Might I throw in a slight interjection? Putting others down in order to justify our attitude is not couth in any manner. Yes, some drivers are better than others. That doesn’t make our judgemental statement any less wrong.) What did we do to combat this irritating atmosphere? That’s right we called ahead. Not only did this buy us time, but it alleviated the stress of being late. I even think we smiled a little. At this point we should be stressed, angry, frustrated, and down right nuclear. Nonetheless, we are not. Mostly, due in part to the manner in which we kept composed. A positive outlook on life produces a positive attitude. That attitude in turns affects how we act and react to situation and people around us. It is impossible to be happy all of the time. That would be delirium. What we can be, is professional.

I once found myself in an inspection that completely failed. I tried to fix the program as best as I could but I knew that I was going to take hits. Let’s just say it was worse than that. The Senior Chief pointed out error after error and my blood started boiling as I was embarrassed and aggravated. Then she said the magic words that put me at my breaking point.

“This is no longer an inspection but a training evolution.”

Calmly I replied, “Do you mind if we take a break so I can cool off and collect myself.”

The look on her face was priceless. “I didn’t know you were upset.”

My coworker took one look, “His ears are red as a stop light. Yup he’s pissed.”

The Senior Chief asked about my composure? After all, most people rant, rave, and argue when they get upset. This was quite the opposite to my listening and taking notes. No wonder she thought everything was fine.

“As angry as I am right now,” I stated, “I have a program that needs to be fixed. You have the knowledge to fix it. At the end of the day I’m a professional. Taking notes and staying calm is what I do.”

Without skipping a beat my coworker interjected, “You got that right.” She’d witnessed this action several times in the past

If I had ranted and thrown a fit, would I have learnt how to fix my program? More than likely not. It is vital for us to maintain a positive outlook. Positive outlook does not equate to happiness. However, it does keep us in the right mindset that sets us up for happiness. And that, sets us up for success.

Going back to our first scenario, The coworker with the OMG attitude most likely did not have the right frame of mind to handle our late arrival regardless of the chaos we encountered. In fact we have no idea what chaos others went through to get to work. We aren’t the only ones having a bad day. How wonderful this world would be if we took the time to empathize with each other instead of bulldozing our way through the day.

In closing, I would like to say, inhale the good air and exhale the bad. Breathe from the abdomen. I do this daily for ten minutes or more. Slow abdominal breathing calms the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Do this while setting at work, in traffic, or while walking through a crowded store. Breathe. Everything will be alright. In the first blog of 2019 I mentioned that we should identify our stressors. Click here to learn more.. This is important if we are to reduce stress. We need to know what those key factors are.  We should always work at being professional. There will come a time when we reach our limits. A quick walk or a bathroom break can make all the difference. While on that break focus on the positive and look for a solution. Fact is,there are answers to every question. What we are focused on is what we will find. Is it good or bad? Positive answers will produce positive results. This is why it is important to stay positive my friends. We are professionals at living. Thus, a professional attitude is needed.

Until the next blog, live life and be happy..

Steven Curtis

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