Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Focusing On The Good

In the past, I had a bad habit of sleeping with my mobile next to me. The morning ritual was to wake up and look at the emails, if any that I got, through the night. It was not as if I was so important that i would be getting emails in the dead of the night. It was just a compulsive habit that got ingrained.

Well, today’s story is not about the bad habit. That would be for another day.

A couple of years back, It so happened that one morning I got a message from a senior colleague who had some problem with something I had done at work, the previous day. I thought the issue was nothing serious. However, from the mail that was sent , it was apparent that the my colleague was very disturbed – for him to send me a message at around 2 am in the morning.

What was interesting, in hindsight, was that the message had an equally disturbing impact on me. My whole day unraveled in an instant thanks to that one message. I was upset, angry, defensive and a whole lot more.

“How dare he send me a message, admonishing me”

My family could also sense that something was wrong. My younger son who is extremely observant asked me if something was wrong, I looked upset. So much for being an adult. I was carrying my emotion on my face !!

I remember being upset the whole day, planning an appropriate repartee that would salve my bruised ego. I am certain that I did not do anything productive that day. I am sure the colleague of mine also had an equally miserable day.

As adults, more than kids, we take ourselves more seriously than we really should. The older we get, the more ego and emotional baggage we carry. Also, compared to kids, we tend to carry the burden of negative emotions for a longer period, impacting our overall behavior.

The fact is most of the time, 98% of whatever is happening in our lives at any moment, is actually good. I want to clarify, I am not referring here to those situations where there is some unfortunate mishap that may turn someone’s life upside. For most of us- We are healthy. We have food on the table. We have a shelter on our head. We have a family. We have a job. But somehow , we have through evolution been wired to look at the 2% that may not be good and make ourselves feel miserable. We let the 2% negative issues define who we are, at any moment.

Through time, as I became more self aware, I realized my behavior was driven by a fragile self image that was seeking validation and appreciation all the time. Anything that threatened that self image, impacted my emotions, moods and behavior.

I had to pull myself out of the vortex of ego fueling my sense of importance. I started developing rituals of consciously observing all that was good in my life. This enabled my logical mind to have an objective view, that I was in a great place all the time. I started practicing gratitude.

Today, the mobile next to bed is replaced by a Journal. When I wake up, I spend just 10 minutes reflecting on all that is good and amazing in my life and I write it down in my journal.

“What an good nights sleep I had”

“I am lucky to have the comforts I have in life”

” I am grateful for the love and support of all my dear ones”

“I am happy for the opportunity to lead a team that trusts me”

“How lovely is the early morning sun and the chirping of the birds in the garden”

The list keeps growing. Where my focus goes, my energy flows. Just focusing on the good stuff happening around me, by consciously writing it down, has made me a more positive , pleasant person. I don’t say it on my own. People around me say it !!. A bigger benefit has been that I have become more productive, more creative at whatever I do. It is an intuitive fact- we can do better stuff when we are in a pleasant state.

No change happens unconsciously. Change requires conscious effort , done consistently, for it to become a habit. Practicing gratitude was a conscious change I brought about in my life to become a better person.

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