November 2009, exactly 10 years ago… I was sitting in my tiny apartment on a Friday night, feeling alone and sorry for myself. It had been a long and crappy work-week, and I was exhausted and frustrated about where I was in life.
My friends invited me out to a bar that night. At first I declined, because I didn’t want my negativity to put a damper on their night. Plus, I had already convinced myself I wasn’t going to have a good time. But somehow, after a while they talked me into joining them for a quick beer.
By the time I got dressed and made it to the bar it was about 11pm (Yeah, I know… remember how awesome your 20’s were?). When I met my friends they were all pretty drunk. There’s nothing worse than being sober in a room full of drunk people… It compounded my gloomy attitude and I immediately wanted to leave.
But just before walking out, I decided to make a change…
Changing My Attitude, Changed My Life:
Realizing I was the only one in the bar not having fun, I decided to change my attitude. The only thing waiting for me at home was more misery. Like the flick of a switch, I made a conscious decision right then and there to stop looking at all the bad things around, and start looking at all the good things. I’d been grumpy long enough, and it was time to replace negatives with positives!
My whole night changed. I saw everything differently, like wearing a new set of glasses.
Instead of walking out the door, I went straight to the bar and ordered two pints of Guinness. One for me, and the other for… well, me. I returned to my table of friends and announced that I was there to have a good time, and I am no longer in a bad mood!
They all cheered! And then an angel appeared…
The Girl of My Dreams:
Call it fate, call it luck, call whatever you like… I met my dream girl that night. We talked, we laughed, we danced, and we drank. We shut down the bar around 2am, then continued to another bar. Then after that one closed, we continued walking and talking in the streets.
We’ve been inseparable ever since.
One of the reasons my wife was first attracted to me was “my fun and positive attitude“, so she says. (I think my fresh-off-the-boat Australian accent had something to do with it also). It’s funny, because if she had met me in one hour earlier, or if I never decided to go out that night, we wouldn’t be together today. My life would have turned out completely different.
Joy is a Choice.
Being happy isn’t a character trait that some people are blessed with and some people are not. Happiness is a personal choice. Everyone is eligible and everyone has the power to choose happiness.
It took me years to learn this: Whenever I have a positive mindset and I’m looking for good things, good things usually appear. If I’m negative and looking for bad things, bad things appear. I can change the outcome of my life, just by changing my attitude.
The story above of how I met my wife is just one of 1000 examples that prove this to be correct. Whenever I catch myself in a bad or grumpy mood, I try my hardest to change my attitude ASAP. It’s better for me, and it’s better for everyone around me.
Is Your Problem Really That Bad?
There are 2 questions I ask myself to help get rid of a negative mindset or bad mood. These questions immediately help change my mindset, and as a byproduct, change the outcome of my day.
1. Will it matter 5 years from now?
99% of the time, the answer is no. Whatever my problem is, whatever I’m sad about, it’s usually temporary. In the grand scheme of my life, most problems are just a tiny blip on the radar. If it won’t matter 5 years from now, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. Life is too short.
2. Am I having a bad day? Or did I have a bad 5 minutes that I am milking for an entire day?
If you let them, small events can throw off your whole day. Example… Someone cuts you off in traffic (a 20 second event) and you spend 4 hours complaining about it. Why do we do this? It’s because negativity breeds more negativity. And if you don’t consciously stop the thought cycle, it can ruin long periods of time.
Here’s also a Playlist of TED Talks on ‘Happiness’ with some hidden gems on changing your mood.
My wife often asks me, “When we first met… what were you so sad about that day? Why were you even grumpy in the first place?”
Quite honestly, I can’t remember. As massive as my problems seemed that week, they couldn’t have been too major because I can’t even remember them today!
So my answer to her is, “I was just sad because I hadn’t met you yet”.
Change your attitude = Change your life!
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