Scanning for the Good Stuff
I’ve noticed in the past week or so that I’ve been allowing negativity to slowly and insidiously creep into my day-to-day existence. Instead of scanning for the good stuff, which I know makes me happy, I’ve been scanning for things that annoy me just enough to throw me off.
Enough! Enough, I say! It is time to look for the good because, once you start looking, it’s always there. Always.
As I write this, I am sitting in a glorious New Orleans hotel room on the 33rd floor with a magnificent view of the Mississippi River. The sun is shining, there is an impressive barge making its way down river hauling its load and I’m looking forward to a boat ride at the end of the day.
I don’t tell you this to make you envious. I tell you as an example of how, in the midst of some pretty glorious circumstances, we can still manage to be negative.
We long for summer and then complain about the heat. We can’t wait to go to the ski slopes in the winter and then grouse about the long lines.
What usually wakes me up is when someone asks me how I am doing. If I take just a moment to think about it, I will answer, “If everyone had my problems, the world would be a wondrous place.”
And it’s true. Here are my circumstances (perhaps you can relate):
I have an abundance of work. I can be a martyr about the long hours or remember the days when I would have done almost anything to be in these circumstances.
Remember when you were hoping beyond hope that you would land the job you now have?
I’m feeling out of touch with some of those whom I love.
Isn’t it great to have so many people in your life who love you that it’s hard to keep up with them all?
I’m ten pounds heavier than I want.
There’s plenty of food to eat when we are hungry. How terrible!
Scanning for the negative is a habit. In order to “break a habit,” it is critical to replace it with something else. Scanning for the good is a great habit to form as the logical replacement.
Sure, it takes practice but it works.
Two days ago I was eating in a restaurant and I thought the waitress was kind of sulky. Just when I was prepared to dismiss her (and blame her for it, by the way), she graced me with a grin so big that it set me back on my heels. I had to reconsider my original opinion. Perhaps she is simply shy or maybe she was preoccupied when we first met. No matter the reason, I was prepared to write her off when all I really had to do was scan for the good. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
It’s humid here in New Orleans and it’s easy to focus on the discomfort of it. However, there has been a lovely breeze since my arrival and what a pleasure it is to focus on that instead.
Here is what I will always be puzzled by. Given how much better it feels to scan for the good, why is it that we ever settle for focusing on the negative?
It reminds me of the old joke:
Man, hitting himself in the head: “Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this! What should I do?”
Doctor: “Stop doing it!”
The Law of Attraction says, “You get what you focus on.” Given that, the greatest gift we can give ourselves is to develop the habit of scanning for the good. Don’t do it because it makes you more pleasant to be around. Do it because it feels so darn good! In other words, do it for you!
I’m certainly going to work on it. How about you?