Have you noticed that some people seem to cruise through life with a smile on their face, while others have a permanent frown?
I was thinking about this on a recent trip. I headed to Manchester for the Christmas party of an association that I’m a member of. A few days before I was due to go a train strike was announced, that meant a rejig of my travel plans, it made it a bit more challenging but it was doable. Strikes are fairly commonplace in France so you do get used to changing plans at the last minute when necessary.
The Christmas party itself was good fun, I met some interesting people and I had a good festive time at a nice venue. Due to said train strike I needed to travel to London that evening, get a tube across London to get on the Stansted Express to stay in a hotel by the airport, in readiness to catch an early flight back to France the following morning.
I was tired on the train to London, I’d woken up very early as a result of not being used to the noise of a city. I didn’t mind that, I got lots of work done and some much needed shopping. I stocked up on mature cheddar cheese, it isn’t readily available in France and sometimes camembert just doesn’t cut it!
On top of feeling weary I had the start of a scratchy throat, I quietly read my book and thought about my plan when I arrived at my hotel; pour a Lemsip, have a shower, drink Lemsip and then get to bed to hopefully have a decent night’s sleep. I hoped that would banish this potential lurgy and that I would be up in time to get my flight home without feeling too shattered.
I had to run for the connection for the Stansted Express but I got it, dreaming of a hot shower and bed as I boarded. By the time I arrived at Stansted it was chucking it down, it’s not far to the hotel though so I went into powerwalk mode & arrived only slightly soggy. As I walked through the hotel door my heart sank, the queue for check-in was already 6 deep, there were 2 people on duty but I could see by the faces of those in the queue ahead of me that they had been there some time. I checked my watch, it was 10.20pm, my bodyclock was on French time so 11.20pm by my tiredness levels.
As I stood there waiting to be seen I could hear the grumblings around me and people getting more and more restless, as the receptionists looked increasingly jittery. I worked on a hotel reception many years ago and it can be tough going dealing with impatient customers, especially those who have just got off a plane late on a winter’s evening. It wasn’t that the kept me calm though. I’m well aware that it’s possible to choose your attitude, what stopped me from tipping over into grumpyville was realising how very lucky I am to be able to book into a hotel for the night. I visit the UK a couple of times a year and each time I see very clearly the rise in the number of homeless people.
I honestly can’t imagine many things worse than being homeless, at anytime, but especially in winter. I was very aware that every one of the homeless people that I saw in Manchester would have been delighted to wait 30 minutes, or any amount of time really, to check in to a hotel to have the chance of a hot shower and a comfortable bed. I give what I can to people on the streets, I know that people have varying opinions about that, but that’s not what this post is about.
It’s about perspective and our ability to choose how we respond to situations. Of course it was frustrating to have to wait for 30 minutes to check into a hotel, after a 4 hr train journey when I was tired and not feeling 100%. But here’s what I’ve learnt about being a slave to my emotions; allowing that to rile me would only affect me and make me feel worse. Getting annoyed about it wouldn’t make the queue go any quicker and would probably have meant that it would have taken me longer to wind down before getting to sleep. As I stood in that queue I smiled to myself, thought happy thoughts of seeing my dogs the next day and reflected on how lucky I am that I have a roof over my head, a hot shower and food in my cupboards.
It’s so easy to be annoyed by every day things but my bad day is someone else’s best day and I try hard to remember that.
There is a quote by Tony Robbins ‘Where focus goes energy flows’, if I’m focusing on all things negative then it’s highly likely that’s what I’ll get, but if I think good thoughts then not only am I happier but it’s probably much nicer for those around me.
I heard a good tip for dealing with frustrations on Jay Shetty’s podcast with Katee Sackhoff, she talked about thinking about how a situation could be worse. So for example, if you’re stuck in traffic which will make you late for an appointment, think that you could have a flat tyre or you could have forgotten your phone, meaning that you can’t call ahead and explain why you’re running late. When you think about how much worse that it could be then you realise that it’s not so bad after all, perspective is helpful like that.
In times when there is so much to be annoyed about if we let it, if something is beyond your control then why let it stress you out? If you can’t change it then fretting about it won’t make it any better, so why do it? You may think that you can’t help it, that if something winds you up or stresses you out that’s just how it is and that you can’t control it. What if I told you that you could control it? That every thought and feeling that we have is controlled by our mind. Therefore we can absolutely choose whether to get stressed out by something or not.
Personally I find that really empowering and since exercising my right to choose my thoughts and feelings, that place inside my mind is a much nicer place. It takes awareness and effort of course but being stressed takes effort too and having experienced both I can tell you which one feels better.
If you’d like to make a change in this, or any other area of your life, then get in touch for a free 30 minute consultation session about how I can help you.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for!