Take Control of What You Can or Your Life Might Suck

As I’m walking to my car, I take a moment and acknowledge how the air is refreshingly comfortable, opposed to the stifling heat that enveloped the outdoors over the past couple weeks.

Fall is definitely coming.Β 

I look around, and realize that up until now I hadn’t even noticed the gradual change from lively, leafy green, to pieces of yellow and amber scattered throughout parts of the trees. Frankly, the assortment of colours looks scenic, and along my drive I overlook a valley and see even more, with the yellow and orange cozying around the river. With this view comes anticipation of everything the new season is going to bring with it. My mind wanders very easily and before I know it, I’m already fantasizing about Thanksgiving turkey and hoarding an entire pumpkin pie to myself.

A few hours later, I overhear someone meeting the same realization that summer is fading away, and dreading everything that strings along with the change.

Huh, well that’s another way to look at it. Listening to the distaste throws me off a little bit, as my own excitement for what’s to come clearly is not mutual.

Why view it as impending colder weather and dead leaves when you can think about awesome things, like a new medley of colours surrounding the outside, a comfy hoodie to enjoy it with, or even something like the white girls delight- pumpkin spice lattes?! (Maybe this is the year I try them, although I am admittedly reluctant, as I will probably be on that hook for life…)

Neil Pasricha has been a pleasant inspiration to me via the book he’s written, The Happiness Equation. As an individual who has committed himself to being a student of happiness, the findings he has discovered are incredibly interesting and the topic is something I will always be drawn to. Early on, long before his success, he took on a personal challenge of writing 1000 Awesome Things, a daily article on something fantastic, yet common, that he encountered and might otherwise have overlooked. Things as simple as when someone holds the elevator door open and waits, or the feeling of warm photocopies fresh out of the printer.

While there were other things accompanying his journey to satisfaction, what he noticed was how much his appreciation for life and all it’s details grew. Every day he sat down and wrote about something awesome that he experienced throughout his day, and as you can imagine, the list reached 1000 after some time. On top of appreciation, what he didn’t realize was how trained his mind became at recognizing positivity in seemingly small details. Before long, no matter how insignificant, nothing that impacted him in a good way went unnoticed or unappreciated in his life.

This is an attractive idea, but going in the opposite direction is also entirely possible. Scoping out negativity can become just as much of a ritual as the optimistic side. In fact, lawyers are highly trained in finding flaws and inconsistencies in the legal system and obviously become much better at it over time as they develop their skills. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that this does not contain itself at work, as attorneys have been shown to carry this habit over into their personal lives and in anything they interact with outside of the office. The critical mindset accompanying lawyers can become apart of who they are!

Personally, after learning two very real and very different sides of the coin, it’s not difficult to see which route I’d rather go. And to be quite honest, the more attractive option is also not as difficult as it seems. Noticing and appreciating the little details that swirl around our lives every single day is very doable. Before long, and with practice, your mind won’t even have to try- you’ll be trained in seeing your life how you want it. I don’t about you, but the idea motivates me to take an extra moment on top of each happy moment, just to appreciate it in full. Yeah, there’s no denying that at some point something won’t be great, and sometimes it’ll suck. But taking charge of what I can control is a step along the path of love and satisfaction.

The season’s changing, there’s no doubt about that.

What will you see?

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