If we’re connected on Facebook, then it’s likely you’ve noticed my posts often end with, “What’s great about your day?” Some people understand why I do that, and others assign nefarious motives. I am writing this post to share my rationale and to invite like-minded people to do the same.
Unlike some people, I like Facebook’s algorithms. I used to see a lot of negative posts on Facebook: people complaining about whatever slight or injustice they experience, airing conflicts with their loved ones while seeking support for their ‘side’ in the argument, and taking strong ideological stances with the intent to upset others. It’s different when the person is simply stating their position, but people often use Facebook as their platform to insist those who don’t agree are wrong or, in some cases, the devil incarnate. I make sure not to ‘like’ or comment on those posts, so, thanks to the algorithms, I have stopped seeing posts like that.
While I appreciate this, I’m not naïve enough to believe that people have stopped doing it. When I write about my day and then ask, “What’s great about your day,” it is not because I’m trying to brag about my life. I have plenty of things in my life I could complain about, but, in true Choice Theory® style, I choose to focus on the good stuff. It’s as simple as that—a choice.
Are you aware our brains are hardwired for negativity? This served us best back when we were running from saber-tooth tigers. While negativity may have some limited uses today, for the most part, we lack the saber-tooth tigers hunting us and we’ve gained so many things to be grateful for. Even when we experience challenges and frustrations in our lives, those are nothing more than gifts, lessons, and opportunities (GLO). When you choose to look for the positive balancing the negative, you can find the GLO.
John Demartini, author of The Breakthrough Experience, talks about how each element in our naturally-occurring world has an equal balance of protons and electrons. He proposes the same is true of our life experiences.
Try it now. Think back on the worst thing that ever happened to you and consider the following:
- How did this scenario help me?
- What did I learn?
- What gifts, lessons, or opportunities presented themselves because of it?
- What do I have that I didn’t have before?
- What can I do that I couldn’t, wouldn’t, or didn’t do before?
- How am I different in a positive way?
- Has this taught me ways to help others experiencing similar circumstances?
Keep asking yourself those types of questions until you collect as much positivity as you have negativity. This can happen in an instant. It can happen over time, months or even years, or it may never happen. It will certainly never happen if you do not look for it. The expression “hindsight is 20/20” often refers to one’s ability to find the GLO after the fact; the genuine challenge is finding it in real time. You are working against your brain’s default position for negativity, so searching for the GLO in the moment takes practice. I believe this is what the Mindfulness Revolution is all about, realizing that nothing is wrong in the current moment. When you can accept all your moments as they come, you will not experience negativity. However, while you are waiting to achieve that degree of competence, looking for the balance is a great interim step. People tend to need a few sessions before they can find the balance, especially in a traumatic event, so don’t feel discouraged.
When I share an experience about my day, often it is a fabulous experience—a trip to China, teaching a Choice Theory training somewhere, spending time with family and friends. But, just as often, there are some difficult things in my day. That trip to China came with a high price tag, a very long flight, and problems sleeping. Teaching Choice Theory brings with it the challenge of working very long days, because my day doesn’t end when the training does. And time with family means my business is not making money, because if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, which can create financial challenges. I have also chosen to forego an intimate relationship in my life at this time, so I can focus on my work. This sacrifice is something I could perceive as negative, but, as I said in the beginning, I choose to focus on the positive.
What I put on Facebook is not made up. I’m not pretending to have a fabulous life. I believe all of us have balanced lives—perfectly balanced lives, in fact. The positive or negative perception you have of your life comes from where you place your focus.
My purpose for asking, “What’s great about your day,” is twofold: One, I get to hear all the fabulous, amazing things going on in your life, and two, you get to place your intentional focus on the things that are wonderful about your life and can share them with me and others if you want to.
I’m writing this article on a plane, flying from Chicago to Pennsylvania, where I will teach two different basic trainings—one for a foster care agency and the other for a drug & alcohol rehab program. I am extremely grateful for their desire to train their staff in the concepts of Choice Theory. They have been customers of mine since the early and mid-2000s. Pennsylvania is also where I used to live, so I will have the opportunity to see my sons, their wives, and my eight beautiful grandchildren. Despite other things happening or not happening in my life, those are the things I am focusing on.
What’s great about your day?