Written By: Austin Szubryt
Recently, I heard an interesting take on perspective. One of my teachers, in response to the class’ poor mood one afternoon, told us her method of seeing the world in a more positive light. Her advice was to either think about something or write something down that didn’t go wrong when a day went poorly. Basically, write something good (or at least not horrible) that happened at the end of every day.
For as preachy as it sounds, it does help. After a long day of exams, after a difficult practice, or after a long night of work, I ponder to myself. As busy and tiring everything can be in the highly competitive world in which we live, there are plenty of silver linings we overlook every day. I lie down, soothing music in the background, and I clear my head once a difficult day has passed.
I first think about everything that irritated, exhausted, or troubled me that day. I allow those thoughts to sit for a few minutes. Once I have cooled down and released my troubles, though, I begin to compile another list in my head. Instead of looking at everything that went wrong, I seek out what went right, even if the list is full of things that didn’t happen.
I ponder quietly, weighing the positive and negative. If I did poorly on a test or forgot an assignment, I look for its opposite. If I had an unsatisfying practice or displeasing afterschool activity, I search for what I can learn from the experience. If the negatives seem to far outweigh the benefits of that day, then I rest for a minute.
Once my frustrations have been released from their pent-up state, I look around me. If I did poorly on a project or exam, I look at the ceiling and walls, and I realize that I still have a home. If I had a bad practice or a disheartening meeting, I think about my friends, and I know that they are still with me. If my day seemed to be nothing but tragic, I look past my bedroom door. I look past the barriers and what stops me from progressing, and I know that my family is still with me.
When the world feels like it’s against me, I breathe and take a minute. Do those who care for me still exist? Do I still have a roof above my head and a full stomach? Am I free of major, crippling illness? Can I still feel my heart beat? If I can answer any of those with “yes”, then it wasn’t a bad day.
It’s all relative. We look at the world and focus on the negatives. Newspapers and the media alert us to the faults in our world. People talk to each about what went wrong. I do not hear “I’m having a good day” enough in this world. Maybe if we look at the big picture, maybe if we give thanks for what we still have, then we’ll be happy.
I’ve had a habit of telling people, particularly adults, to have a good day or weekend as I leave their presence. I don’t think about it much, but maybe it means something. The smallest acts of kindness, the most seemingly inconsequential things of all, maybe those matter. Maybe instead of complaining about being down in the dump, we can search for some diamonds in the rough.
This is one of our new self-help resources available to our Ambassador community. Here we will feature the thoughts, questions, and insight of the our fellow Ambassadors. You can even leave comments of encouragement or feedback to fellow Ambassadors that may be having a tough time.