Apparently, one day in 1922, Albert Einstein was caught short, unable to leave a tip on his lunch bill. Instead, he scrolled:
“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”
Einstein hoped his words would prove valuable to the young waiter some day. Ironically, that scrolled message recently fetched over a million dollars at auction. More valuable, indeed.
But, setting humor aside, isn’t Einstein right? What are the moments that bring us joy?
Are they in the hustle and bustle and endless striving, or are they in life’s quiet moments, those moments with no posturing, no striving, no achieving? Just being.
So much of life depends on our perception of reality. When things go deeply wrong, how can we consider the opportunity hiding there? Perhaps there is a new way to do things, a better way to communicate, a method of engagement that factors in other perspectives. Failure is never failure, really. It is always an opportunity to learn, even if it is merely to learn what doesn’t work.
What obstacles are in your path right now? How can you look at them differently to see the new opportunities waiting?
We are each unique. Going through school, jobs, and life, it’s easy to forget that, but it will keep announcing itself to us in various, sometimes disconcerting, ways. We don’t all like the same things, don’t have the same talents, don’t see the world the same way. Each of us needs to discover for ourself how to do this thing called life. There is no one-size-fits-all version.
When you find your gifts, the things that make you feel alive, the work you would do even if it were for free, you will be like a duck to water, or, as in this delightful video, like a baby otter to water for the very first time.
What is your first thought when you wake up? Does your mind move to a To-Do list or worst case scenarios, or do you turn to the things that you are looking forward to–a workplace filled with people to greet, a family to hug before each starts their day, the possibility in the unknowns awaiting you. Albert Einstein considered this the most important question you will ever ask yourself–Is the world you live in hostile or friendly?
Looking for the positive first thing in the morning can start your day off on the right foot and prime you to see the positive things you are looking for:
In other words, the more good you search out in this world, the more good you’ll receive in return.
When you wake up and choose (consciously or unconsciously) to live in a “bad” world, you go through your day much differently. You feel frustrated when you wind up behind somebody who’s walking super slowly or if you get stuck in traffic. Standing in line at the store feels like an eternity and everything you do seems ten times harder.
Nothing works out like it should and you’re constantly waiting for things to go wrong (which they usually will) — things that “prove” that the world is a hostile place.
Having a positive attitude has helped people deal with seemingly insurmountable life circumstances. Anne Frank, for instance, concluded even after spending time in hiding during WWII, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Some suggestions to start you off in the morning on the happy foot:
Choose words and statements that reflect a positive attitude: “I will have a good day” or “I’m excited about what lies ahead today.”
Focus on things that make you happy:“I look forward to seeing my kid’s school play tonight” or “I can’t wait to see where this project at work takes me!”
Appreciate the good things in your world: “I’m thankful for my health, the fact that I can pay the bills, and that I have such a wonderful family!”
Spend more time with positive people, making it easier to be positive yourself!
It’s never going to be 100 percent, but if you focus on the good just a bit more than the bad, you’re making progress. It’s all about baby steps.
So when you wake up tomorrow, ask yourself this question:
“Do I live in a good world or a bad world?”
Here’s hoping you have a positive tomorrow!
When was the last time you hiked? Or paused to admire the intricacy of a flower? Or listened to birds sing? Or felt the breeze tousle your hair?
When times are tough, the tough immerse themselves in nature. It soothes us, comforts us, leads us back to our bearings. While many benefits of nature are unsurprising–relaxation, bliss, awe–some are downright startling. Studies show spending time in nature makes us more altruistic and helps us be more social creatures.
Now, a large body of research is documenting the positive impacts of nature on human flourishing—our social, psychological, and emotional life. Over 100 studies have shown that being in nature, living near nature, or even viewing nature in paintings and videos can have positive impacts on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. In particular, viewing nature seems to be inherently rewarding, producing a cascade of position emotions and calming our nervous systems. These in turn help us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience.
Take time today to dip your toe in nature. It’s good for whatever ails you.