On our run this morning the weather was pretty much perfect. There was almost zero wind. The water was almost perfectly still. At one point I watched a fish jump and the ensuing ripple slowly spread seemingly forever across the water. The temperature was mid forties, just cool enough to not get too hot and not so cold to not be chilled. It was quiet except for the birds and a train. Weird as it might sound, I found the rhythymic rattle of the train to be quite soothing. After we’d turned and were heading back along the beach the sunrise turned the sky a spectacularly purplish pink. You could tell where the sun was about to pop up as there was a magnificent beam of light going straight up into the sky like a beacon. The stillness of the water reflecting the glorious pre-sunrise sky only increased the beauty. What a wonderful sight it was, especially early in the morning. I couldn’t help but smile wide as I gazed at it (we’d stopped to slowly walk and enjoy the view).
Sometimes people ask how I can be happy all the time. Truth be told, I’m not. That’s actually one of the reasons I type my blog each day. It’s a learned behavior to remind me to be thankful. When my mind strays from gratitude my joy decreases significantly. In no time I can become pessimistic, frustrated, judgmental, and generally unhappy. That’s where I found myself this afternoon. I wasn’t in a very good mood. Nothing bad had happened or anything, I was just getting frustrated. Being thankful for anything was the last thing from my brain. I caught myself wishing things were different. Instead of thinking from the standpoint of acceptance and action I moved to wishing and pausing. Realizing where my head went only made it worse and I could feel myself starting to spiral. So what do to about it?
Well, I asked myself – in a condescending and cynical way – what am I thankful for today? Before I completed the question I was reminded of the pre-sunrise sky. When I’d watched it I’d already started writing a blog about it in my brain. In that moment I was making the choice to be happy and choose an attitude of gratitude. All of the negative things were still going on around me but I chose to focus on being in the present and being grateful for what I had; perfect weather, my favorite running partner, exercise in the morning, and a spectacular view. As I thought back to the sunrise I realized that everything was pretty much the same as it was then, I was just choosing my attitude… and I could do that again now.
Suddenly I started being thankful for the ability to go for a family bike ride, to enjoy the fresh air, to appreciate the successes my teams are having, to push forward and grow, and so many of the blessings all around me. Sure, there were some setbacks and frustrations today, but why focus on them and let them bring me down? they are opportunities for me to grow. I’ve survived them all and will continue to improve. What else could a guy ask for, right?
Long story short, my day has become infinitely better by choosing my attitude. Even choosing to write this blog earlier than normal has had an impact. I can feel my attitude and joy increasing as I realize there is so much to be thankful for. Just think, being able to flip the switch from being frustrated and ornery to happy and joyful just by remembering a beautiful pre-sunrise? I’m so thankful it reminded me to choose the right attitude today!