Have you ever heard the phrase, “An Attitude of Gratitude?” For those of you who might be unfamiliar with that term, you might recognize it as, “Looking through rose-colored glasses,” or for those who are more politically inclined, “Positive spin.” Whatever your persuasion, I’ve been reflecting on this phrase this past few days, and how having a positive attitude can affect both me as well as those around us.
Let me tell you a story that might help to illustrate this point.
As I drove into work this last Tuesday morning, I told myself that I was really, REALLY going to try and have an Attitude of Gratitude. I committed to myself that, instead of complaining about every little thing that happened to me, I was going to try to find the good, rather than the bad.
So I pull into our parking garage, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Almost the entire bottom floor of the garage had been designated for “Low Emission Vehicles,” or LEV.
Now, let me see if I can put this into perspective. I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX area, and if you’ve ever lived or visited this area, it is flat and spread out. We are used to long commutes to get anywhere. It is not uncommon for us to drive 10-15 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store or restaurant, and we don’t think anything of it. People that work in my office come from miles and miles around, especially since our office is considered to be on the edge of the metroplex. Plus, this is Texas. We like our big, safe vehicles, and everyone drives a truck. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. A vast majority of us do not drive LEV’s, including myself.
As I drove through the garage, I could feel my blood pressure going up. I started muttering, “This is ridiculous!” over and over to myself. After about five minutes of circling, I finally squeezed into a spot far removed from my normal parking area. To add insult to injury, the temperature had dropped to 40 degrees and I was ill-prepared for the chill as I slammed the door closed and sulked into our office building. As I thawed out, I arrived at my desk and immediately started to complain to my co-workers about the stupidity of the muckity-mucks in Boston – Boston is where my company’s headquarters is located and is one of the few remaining bastions of leftist/liberalist/environmentalist thought in this country– must not realize how silly it is to make one hundred parking spots on the prime floor of the garage for those who can afford an LEV, leaving the rest of us working class folks out. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for protecting the environment (I recycle, I don’t use gasoline-powered yard tools, etc.), but I digress.
It was only later, after I calmed down, that I realized what I had done. My commitment to myself to be more positive, even for a day, did not even make it to 8 o’clock that morning. (Sigh)
That just goes to show how hard it is to remain positive, all the time, to have an Attitude of Gratitude.
“But isn’t it easier to complain?” Of course it is, and sometimes people have an exaggerated sense of justice, that if they don’t stand up for the wrongs of the world, no one will. Justice is good, but so is mercy, the opposite side of the scale. And when we have an Attitude of Gratitude, we let mercy in.
I didn’t mean to go all philosophical on you, but you get my point. Being grateful for the little things in life (a friendly greeting from a co-worker, a car that starts in the morning on the first try, no traffic on the road during your commute, etc.) so that you can be happy and appreciate the big things in life, like family, friends, your career successes.
And this is how I will tie it back to the VO industry. While we might be somewhat isolated from people as we do our recordings, we come in contact with a lot of people during the day when we answer phone calls or interact with producers via Skype. How much easier is it to deal with people when you have a smile on your face instead of a frown? How many more clients are going to want to work with us in the future if we make them feel good about what they do, as opposed to being repelled by our negativity, no matter how well-deserved? There are many things in life that we cannot control, but we CAN control our attitude.
I wish you all good luck in whatever journey you find yourself! Take care…