When someone asked me recently how I was doing, I quickly answered great! I opened my eyes today,I got dressed, I had a cup of coffee with mom and I drove to work. We spend a lot of time working hard to savor the big moments of life – the big vacation, getting the big house, getting a promotion and the next big thing. In our pursuit of these, we often dismiss the little moments – the ones that we have more of in life. Getting a cup of coffee for your partner in the morning, putting your kids on the school bus, going food shopping, cleaning the house. Collectively, the mundane things in life add up to what constitutes most of it – the day the day. Dismissing the little things and taking them for granted is a mistake. It can make us feel like we are constantly chasing something, as if whatever we have today isn’t enough. The happiest people I know, are happy for everything but mostly the little things. The wonderful little moments that occur every day.
So try something new – celebrate what you have today, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear. Take a deep breath the next time you feel you aren’t getting to the next big thing fast enough and be thankful you have what you have. Big or small.
Do you remember the last time someone pushed your buttons and you lost it? Most people do. You remember where you were and what you were doing. Recalling that has to do with a short circuit track in the brain that goes through something we call the amygdala. It’s a very small part of the brain but one that plays a big part in emotional self-control. It has the ability to highjack you and disconnect what your mouth is saying from your brain. Some people can feel it coming. It’s like a tea kettle when it starts to sing. The ‘tracks’ in the brain that account for that are well-oiled and once that train gets rolling, there’s no turning back. At least that’s how it feels. But if you think about it, there is something you can do. You can predict where that button is, who can push it, and when the short circuit is about to get triggered. Like anything else, if you can predict it, you can probably prevent it. Try not blinking. It focuses the brain on doing something completely different to disengage and distract it from triggering that reaction with your mouth. It’s also less obvious, requires less effort, and keeps your face from showing what you’re really thinking. Next time someone or something pushes your buttons – don’t blink.
Be your own herd.
Trying to fit in or be part of a group is human nature. We like going along and getting along with others. Research has shown that in a group setting even when we know for certain that someone has answered a question wrong, we tend not to challenge it because we want to be part of the group – part of the herd. One of the best places to watch this dynamic is in an elevator, especially when it’s packed. Everyone is facing the same way, looking up or down, or watching the buttons light up as it goes from one floor to the next. It’s very rare that someone talks and even rarer that someone stands with their back to the door. It’s not considered elevator-protocol. The same is true at meetings. Someone makes a decision and everyone tends to agree especially when it’s a strong personality or a senior person. But sometimes the most creative ideas come from looking at things from a completely different angle. Not what the herd would do. The next time you’re in a meeting, think about the decision being made and try to think about it under different circumstances. And when you’re in that packed elevator, start singing that song that’s been in your head all day or say hello to the person standing next to you and ask them where they’re from. Watch where the herd is going and try going in a different direction. You may be surprised at what happens.