When I set out to learn a new skill, there’s a phase in the beginning where I feel stupid because I’m being challenged by something I’ve never done before. Whether it’s learning to read music, mastering a piece of software, learning to fly, or pumping my own gas ( I live in Oregon where we have laws against me doing that), there’s an initial awkward feeling that raises questions and doubt regarding my ability to grasp and apply what I’m attempting to learn. This is a time when it’s very easy to quit because our doubt is high and our ability is low.
Whenever I feel like this, I reassure myself with the following thought: “Every day thousands of people are successfully doing what I’m trying learn today”
Now I’ve never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m also far from the dullest. As experience has shown me, I am quite capable of learning new skills and grasping complex topics. I’ll the same could be said of you.
I think we’re all susceptible to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated when we’re in the beginning stages of learning something new. However, I also think each one of us is capable of positively resetting our minds by reminding ourselves that several other people, just like us, have pursued and mastered the same thing we’re attempting to learn. And, just like we are now, they likely struggled doing it.
May we be encouraged by their success.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we often get long stretches of gray, dreary, rainy days during the winter months. String enough of those days together and it can start to impact your attitude, unless you’ve planned ahead for how to keep that from happening.
I’m amazed how much our surroundings impact our attitude. My plan for making it through Pacific Northwest winters (and any other season for that matter) with my attitude positively intact has been to ensure I’m surrounded by things that bring me joy and lift my spirit. For me, that includes things like:
- Making sure the spaces I’m in have plenty of bright light. Preferably natural light.
- Listening to music or podcasts with upbeat or positive messages.
- Spending time connecting with God by reading the Bible and communicating with Him through prayer.
- Interacting with people who are, positive, encouraging, or full of joy.
- Collaborating with people on something that benefits others.
- Having art or pictures around that I find pleasing to view.
My own experience informs me that when my surroundings are positive, my attitude isn’t far behind.
What changes can you make to your surroundings today that would have an immediate and positive impact on your attitude?
Why not make that change right now?
A piano will just sit there and let you bang away at the keys and make a lot of noise, or allow you to use it to product beautiful music. In fact, it’s like that with every musical instrument. The instrument doesn’t care what you do to it. The difference is the musician who approaches the instrument.
The quality of music an instrument will yield is based solely on how the musician approaches the instrument, with regard to experience, skill, desire, passion, and attitude. The more of these qualities the musician approaches the instrument with, the better the quality of music the instrument will return and, in the long run, the better the musician will become.
I think it’s a lot like that with life. A significant portion of what we receive from life is largely dependent on how we are approaching life. Imagine how different a person’s life would be if they chose to approach their life with:
- Eagerness to learn
- A positive attitude
- An expectation of good things to come
- A bent toward action
- A mindset of joy, abundance, and love.
Versus an approaching life with:
- An expectation of bad things to come
- A mindset of pessimism, and fear
So what are you receiving from life on a regular basis? Are you receiving beautiful music or harsh disorderly noise?
If you don’t like what you’re receiving from life, consider changing your approach.
This week I saw the following statement on someone’s T-shirt: “Enjoy it because it’s happening now”.
I love this timely reminder!
With the beginning of a new year, it’s common to focus on goals and what we plan on doing in the upcoming weeks and months of 2017. While looking ahead and planning are indeed both important endeavors, it’s equally important that they not occur at the expense of enjoying the good things we’re experiencing in the present moment.
It seems to me that we create our history, our memories, our relationships, and even cement our legacies by how we choose handle what’s happening to us in each moment.
What kind of memories are we creating when we’re overly focused on the future? What kind of relationships are we creating when we’re too distracted slow down and connect with the people we love and care about? How will we be remembered by the people with whom we have the pleasure of crossing paths with? Will they feel like we were looking over their shoulders to see what was next, or will they feel like we actually cared about and were interested in them?
Once gone, a present moment cannot be recaptured. We can’t go back and extract enjoyment we left on the table from a moment that has already passed. We must be mindful to enjoy what’s happening right now.