“How do you DO it?” she demanded. Her tone was a mix of incredulity and anger. I didn’t know what to say. I remained silent, anticipating she would tip her hand a bit further with the opportunity. Indeed, she did.
“You are going through H@% and yet you just keep on. Every day I look at you expacting you to crash and burn and you just keep showing up. Apparently cheerful. You even seem happy.” I couldn’t help but note that her tone was more like an accusation than an accolade. But I waded in.
“I AM happy. If circumstances determined my state of being and my attitude, I would have been dead long ago. I am not UNaware that my circumstances are unpleasant, to say the least. But I know this for sure – all I can control in these tumultuous times is my attitude. And I choose to embrace the day for the opportunities that it holds. Even in the obstacles there is opportunity.”
Hurumpf. Or was it, “Humpf.” She finished our conversation with something about denial being a river in Egypt. And that was that. Each time I had to walk past her door between by enterprises, she made a point of looking quickly away. We didn’t have that conversation again, or any other.
My apparent optimism in the midst of what everyone understood to be personal and public turmoil was almost offensive to this woman. She was given, herself, to fits of expressed anxiety and on days when anyone inquired after her health with, “How are you?” she took the inquiry to heart and answered with a complete list. Usually of what was wrong.
A circumstance has its own story. And it will tell its own story whether I call it an opportunity or an obstacle. Just like a “DUE” date is its own requirement, a certain 24-hour period of time, whether I call it a deadline or a targeted completion date. It works better for me if I call it a targeted completion date. No surprise that it works better for me if I can manage to observe a thing as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
I expressed to a professional associate the other day that –
“To possess an imagination means another way is always possible.” mar
And these folks, with what are generally considered uplifting quotes, agree with that view –
“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumtions. ” Stephen Covey
“Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny. Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking actions towards the life you want.” Steve Maraboli
“Say YES to the whole catastrophe.” Joseph Campbell
Rarely do you hear a speaker addressing a benchmark moment of their lives saying, “Yes, it was in the period of time when I was devastatingly rich, had the ideal mate and perfect children and the job that was completely satisfying and rewarding that I had the biggest lesson of my life.” Not the usual story. Those lessons come from (YOU choose) a) obstacles, b) opportunities.
Which will you embrace today and how will you learn from it?