Some years ago I was working at the home office of an insurance company in West Des Moines, Iowa.   One day as I was walking down a hallway I passed a co-worker who turned to me abruptly and said, “What’s with you”? I was a little taken back and replied, “What do you mean”? She said, “Well you’re always whistling and smiling. Don’t you ever have a bad day”?

I said, “Yes, I’ve had my share of bad or challenging days”. She responded by saying, “Well you sure don’t show it”? At which point I said, “Thank you”.   Then she asked me, “How do you do that”?

I invited her to come to my office sometime and I’d share my secret. To her credit she did come to my office.   You see, this gal was a perpetual “glass half empty” person.   In fact, her personality led people to avoid her because she was always so negative.

I asked her if she would be willing to try a few ideas that might change her outlook on life. She said yes, so I gave her two specific assignments.

The first one was to start every day composing a hand written thank you note to someone and pop it in the mail and do that for the next 30 days and then come back to my office to discuss her experience. I said that I was sure she would discover the answer to the question she asked me in the hallway. I must admit that I was a little surprised when she struggled to think of even one person she wanted to thank.  At that point I wasn’t all that confident that she would come back after 30 days. And she didn’t.

The second exercise involved having her take a sheet of paper and number it from 1-25. I instructed her to take the empty sheet back to her office and write down 25 things she was thankful for and then bring it back to me so we could talk more. She looked at me and said, “Like what”? Once again, I was taken back by her question and wasn’t all that confident that she would ever return. And she didn’t.

The sad thing was that she didn’t come back to discuss either assignment.

I have come to realize that happiness is a choice. Some people just function in the negative. I have chosen to function in the positive. I DO force a smile on my face and I find that it changes how I feel on the inside. I take great joy in seeing others smile back and I know that makes them feel good inside. Those that choose to not be deliberately positive miss that opportunity to see a returned smile.

I learned a long time ago, that, “What you think in your mind, you produce in your experience”. – James Allen.

I remember at age 17 when Pastor Larry Trachte gave me some advice. He said, “Learn to associate with positive thinking people and disassociate with negative thinking people.  I’ve always carried that through my life.

I may not be able to change the whole world, but I can change the world around me.   How bout you?

One of my favorite scriptures is from I Thessalonians 5:16-18. Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus!.

One thought on “WHAT’S WITH YOU??

  1. I may have to try your assignments. We’ve had a pretty rough couple of years with family issues, one of the issues knocked me for a loop, still feeling the reprocussions of one. If not for my faith, don’t know where I’d be. Am so grateful He didn’t give up on me!! Thanks for sharing your story. Words to live by. You never know what someone else is going through when you meet them in an aisle of a store or wherever. A smile or a kind word can make a world of difference to them.

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