It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of grumpy. Perhaps grumpy is not the right word - but I think you know what I mean. Over time, the pressures of the moment / day / week or month become such a part of how we look at life that we end up having little joy in the everyday things that really matter.
And with all the bad stuff out there (hyper availability of bad news) we can’t help but think the majority of the world is bad. And before we know it, we look at life as if it were something to suffer through, and not enjoyed.
So I commit to starting each day with joy.
This morning I woke up at 4:30 am. I was rested and excited to get to work, because there was stuff that I was really enjoying and wanted to get back into. Usually I wake up closer to 5:30, but this morning I was just excited to get started.
What happens when we start each day with joy?
The first thing that happens is that all the problems around us become easier to handle. Just having that positive outlook means that we look at stuff as if we can handle it, and like the saying goes: “if you think you can or can’t—you’re right”.
The next thing that happens is that we become infectious. In a good way of course, not the oh-shit-it’s-covid kind of way. People around us start becoming affected (infected) with the positive attitude we’re putting out into the world, and before you know it more people are smiling.
Try this experiment
Next time you go to the supermarket, find the checkout line where the cashier looks the grumpiest. When you get to the front of the line, smile, look them in the eye and be friendly.
Cashiers have a tough job. It can be boring, receptive and oh those grumpy customers… No wonder some of them look grumpy.
But watch what happens when you show up with joy and happiness and let them feel that you see them. In all the times I’ve done this, I’ve never left without the cashier looking at least if they’re going to crack a smile.
A virtuous cycle
When we start with happiness, we infect the people around us. And those positive vibes come back to us, because people are happy to see us, and almost always that makes us happy.
This is what Benjamin Zander calls “one buttock playing” - when a pianist is so into what they’re playing, you can see the passion take them from playing from one buttock to playing from the other.
In the same TED talk where he talked about this, he also said:
If their eyes are not shining, how are we showing up?
His talk is worth watching.