Life Lesson: What You Choose to See

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I was in a planning meeting this week when the topic of the Volkswagen Jetta Principle came up. This is the idea that “what shows up in our lives is a direct reflection of our inner thoughts and emotions.” Pam Grout, the author of E-Squared, discusses this in her book and asks her readers to do an experiment for 48 hours. For the first 24 hours you set an intention of looking for a certain color of cars. She recommends sunset beige. The second 24 hours you are to search for yellow butterflies. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what you are looking for, it’s the intention you set forth.

As a coach, I ask people to take notice of their actions, their feelings, what is happening in their lives, and often to keep gratitude journals. The result is always the same. Their actions and feelings reflect whatever they are expecting to find. If they believe their co-worker doesn’t like them, they will only find evidence to support that theory. If they believe they don’t have enough time in their day to complete their tasks, they never do. When they keep gratitude journals, they not only feel grateful, they are grateful. They are choosing to seek joy. So, what happens when we choose to believe our co-worker likes us or we actually do have enough time in the day? You guessed it. We find evidence to support that theory.

So what happens when we change our perspective on everything and we start actively looking for the good? Well, I can’t guarantee that your life will take a 180-degree turn toward the positive, but it will take a pretty sharp turn in that direction.
Recently, I was grumpy about EVERYTHING. One morning I woke up and “decided” that I was going to have a good day. I chose to only hear and see the good. Even when my daughter was testing my limits I chose to see that she was tired and stressed because she had gotten home late from her volleyball game. I chose to give her the benefit of the doubt rather than making the assumption that she was just an ungrateful teenager. Not only did my attitude stay positive, her disposition improved drastically as well.

I had a client recently who was considering walking away from a job she had once loved. I suspected there were some issues she wasn’t sharing, but encouraged her to try an experiment for a few days to see if her feelings changed. I asked her to write down three things every day that she was thankful for regarding her current position. Within a few days she was beginning to change her mind and wanted to stay. Rather than looking for reasons to leave, she was looking for reasons to stay and they were abundant. Now, I am not saying that everyone is going to love their job if they just change their perspective. But, when we change our perspective and we focus on something different, we see different results. Maybe you will want to stay, maybe you will want to leave, but at least you will have looked at all sides.

Still not convinced that your thoughts have an effect on what happens in your life? This weekend, spend 24 hours looking for beige cars and see how many you find. If you need a little extra push, get out your butterfly net and start hunting for those little yellow wings. It should be interesting since it’s October!

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G

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