More often than not, things don’t happen the way we expect them to.
Take this week for example – here in Dallas, the week before the biggest sporting event of the year, it was supposed to be filled with excitement and energy, people bustling here and there, setting the city abuzz. Then, Icepocalypse happened. Then, the snow happened. All week, the city (and metroplex) has been essentially shut down because of the weather. If things are abuzz, I wouldn’t know because my view has been limited to the four walls of my house and news reports.
It has thrown a major wrench in things. I’ve been thrown out of my routine. It’s been frustrating.
But that’s an easy first reaction. When I step back and really think about this week, though, I am reminded of some simple, core truths that give me a different perspective. And this week doesn’t seem so frustrating after all.
So, today’s Friday 4-1-1 is all about what we can learn from being snowed in.
1. Be patient – Yes, grasshopper, you must be patient. But it’s so hard, especially when you’re not born with it. And especially when things aren’t going the way you want them to go. I’ve found that the easiest way to actually become patient (yes, it is an active exercise with me) is to breathe. Sounds simple. It is. If you feel yourself losing patience with someone or something, slow down, take a couple of deep breaths, and get yourself centered. Think about how you’re going to react or what you’re going to do before you actually do it. Those couple of seconds of “nothing” will help.
The thing about patience is – everyone needs it. Both giving and receiving. And while it might be frustrating, most anything with patience sprinkled in turns out in a productive way.
2. We can only control what we can control – Weather is one thing, other people’s actions are another. Both are things I can’t control. It’s easy to get frustrated at everything out of our control – the weather, the way people drive, the way people act, the decisions they make, the things they say. What is in our control, though, is how we respond to situations and problems and people. If you strip everything down and ask yourself, “what is it about X that I can control?,” more often than not, it’s an easy answer to find. Then, it’s just a matter of doing it.
Many things require a reciprocating action in order to actually get done/resolved/settled. We ultimately can’t control that other side, which is challenging, but as long as we’re doing everything in our control to get it done/resolved/settled, we can be more peaceful and proud than not.
3. Anticipate the need to be flexible – How many times have you seen someone (or even you?) dig their heels in and not budge? In my experience, the result is most always not good. To think that we can’t/shouldn’t be flexible is just foolish. Fair, consistent, convicted – all of these things are important, but flexibility is key. Even more is the ability to anticipate the need to be flexible. To know, going into a situation or a discussion, that you might have to dig your heels OUT, only allows you to do it easier and often times, more graceful.
4. Enjoy the beauty around you – I almost categorized this as, “Enjoy the snow,” but having lived in NYC for a time, I know it’s easy to despise the snow, regardless of how beautiful it is. Down here in Texas, we don’t get much snow. When we do, it’s a treat. I think that there’s an element to snow that’s really magical. It reminds me of my childhood and visiting my grandparents in the mountains of Colorado. So, even when it’s a nuisance (like now), it’s a beauty (to me) that can’t be overlooked. Taking note of these things and the time to appreciate them could make all the difference between a bad day and a good one.
“Uh-huh” – I’ve been thinking of the best way to include one of the best infographics I’ve seen all year. It has absolutely nothing to do with the spirit of today’s blog, but I want to share it anyway. In honor of the last football game of the season (although I resent that they start off with “Lost Productivity”)…
“Duh” – Can this week come to an end already? And the snow melt? I mean, I would really love to venture outside and actually see people. I miss my office mates and my friends. I. Want. This. To. Be. Over.