Negativity. It can truly take you down a road that's long and narrow. We all have certain people in our lives whom we love dearly, but are hard to spend extended amounts of time with because of their tendencies to focus on negativity. Maybe you don't have positive feelings for this person, but you're stuck having as much of a professional relationship as possible. Everyone carries around a certain amount of baggage with them that may prevent them from seeing the good in this fast-paced world. Can we change/re-program these people? Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy. An alternative solution to combatting negativity is taking control of our own actions and perceptions.
Last month, after being frustrated with the inefficiencies I seemed to be surrounded by in restaurants, businesses, and other public service establishments, I decided to find the shining stars that do exist in all of these contexts. Using my slogan of "A Good Soul Per Day Keeps the Pessimist Away," I began to make a conscience effort to notice the people around me that made me feel thankful that I had come across their path. I'm not sure I would've been really good at this in past years with my stressful and over-planned life. When you are in that vortex, it's hard at times to slow your mind down enough to be fully present and deliberate with your intentions. However, with my life plans shifting this year and my career as an educator voluntarily on hold, it is my mission to get back to some of these basics.
Below are seven days of honorees who earned my "Good Soul" award. I promise you will find it easier to identify one good soul per day beyond the seven days if you actively reflect on who made a good impression on you in some way, be it large or small. Although I'm typically an introvert by nature, this low-profile challenge kept me feeling comfortable and surprisingly curious in wanting to know more about what made these people who they are today. If there is a day within your seven-day challenge that doesn't present you with a "Good Soul," feel free to extend the days or reflect on someone who recently did something that made an impact on you. There really isn't a right or wrong way to complete this challenge! I'm excited for you to feel like more of an optimist rather than a pessimist after your challenge concludes!
Day one of my mission made me pleasantly surprised that my local bank had presented me with newly installed face to face cameras in the drive-through stations. Instead of the typical "Hello," "Thank you for your business," and "Have a nice day," this teller used my first name, and looked me in the eye in a thoughtful way, and proceeded to have a cordial conversation with me to pass the time of processing my transaction. Although this occurred within a 30-second time frame, I left with a feeling that I was a valued customer. This simple occurrence caused me to be excited for the next day's "Good soul" and I quietly pondered how fun it would've been if I actually announced each winner of this "Prize!"
Day two was an unexpected "Good soul" from our septic company - yes, you heard that right! He was a younger man helping the older, more stoic man on the job. I was especially happy to see such respect and helpful service from this young man, in a time when Millennials have sometimes earned a less than enthusiastic review for work ethic.
Day three included an overweight teenager working the McDonald's counter. It was how she went above and beyond to be personable not only to me, but to the co-workers around her. Sometimes just "Noticing" a person's behaviors out of curiosity can heighten your appreciation for others. When I took the time to thank her for being so kind, her shoulders raised as much as her smile did and it gave me an even further glimpse into her good soul.
Day four's "Good Soul" award went to a very talkative girl in her mid-twenties selling tickets for us to sled down a ski hill. I felt like a practically knew her life story in less than ten minutes, but realized that even though she was in her own words "Strapped for cash," she still had a profound need to care for her friend's children to give them a better life. She was even finding ways to get her friend to attend the local community college so that she could earn better wages and get off of federal assistance.
Day five is awarded to an acquaintance of my daughter through a hobby, who had phoned us to give the inside scoop on an upcoming show that would benefit my daughter and her 4-H club. Knowing she was a veteran and my daughter a newbie, she took the time and initiative to give back in this unexpected way. After she ended the conversation by saying we should feel free to network with her anytime and she would keep us posted on further developments, I knew we were blessed to have this person looking out for us.
Day six was special since a distant friend of ours invited my family to their out-of-state home for an extended weekend. It was such a welcomed blast from the past and her generosity helped us to form new memories as a family while reconnecting as friends. We are already looking forward to this summer when her family will come and visit us!
Day seven goes to our very patient travel agent who put in a lot of time helping us decide where to take a family vacation (with my extended family of ten people) during the busiest travel time of the year - between Christmas and New Year's! Although I've known this person for some time, she definitely was in the right place at the right time to easily win day seven's distinction of "Good Soul!"
Bye for now,
Tenet (A belief, principle, or opinion):
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