I’ve been a little cranky lately. Things have been going bad one-after-another, and I’ve begun to notice that my overall attitude has gone sour. Heck, everybody notice it. I’ve become the guy who shuffles down the street grumbling to himself, the cartoon character with the scowl and smoke coming up from his head who’s terrorized by the neighborhood kids’ pranks. While turning myself into a cartoon, I stumbled (or grumbled) upon this quote on a poster in the hall where I’m working, and it seemed pertinent:
“You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails.”
In an instant, I felt myself turn back, like Pinnochio, into a real boy.
You know, sometimes things go against us. Geez, sometimes lots of things go against us. Right now it isn’t just my attitude that’s gone bad, but it seems that every time I turn on the TV or open the paper there’s more bad news about the economy — stock losses, layoffs, closings, bankruptcies, and foreclosures. To make matters worse, my college football team was humiliated two weeks ago, I have a flat tire, my girlfriend’s alternator is shot, and my car failed everything (it seemed) during an inspection. There’s lots to be cranky about.
But my hallway poster reminds me that those things are only the wind blowing me this way and that. But ships don’t adjust themselves to changes in weather. My job, as the captain of this ship, is to make the adjustments. I must willfully and deliberately change my attitude about what’s happening, and that means to use any of the tools we’ve discussed at Behold the Stars. My first choice, as always, is to make a list of what is going right. Then I make a list of what needs to be done. Finally, I commit to rolling up my sleeves and knocking a few tasks of my list. And you know what? I find that I feel pretty good about things after all.
So don’t let a run of “bad luck” steer you off course. Really, only you can do that. So don’t. Adjust to the wind conditions, and sail off to your future. Make a great day. 🙂
Material from (2 May 2011): http://beholdthestars.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/tip-32-adjust-your-sails/