Sunny Days Are Made, Not Born

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is starting off really well.

Have you ever met one of those people who never seems to have a bad day? The person who walks into work with a smile, greeting everyone by name, telling everyone what a beautiful day it is, and they’re not even a politician? You wonder sometimes if they woke up on the same planet as everyone else, or if they’re just oblivious.

Okay, I’ll make a little confession here … I try to be that person. It doesn’t always work, and sometimes I’m suppressing how I really feel, because we all have our days when things just aren’t all glitter and puppy dogs. But I’ve found that if I keep those negative thoughts to myself, things just seem better. It’s a really old concept I learned as a teenager – fake it till you make it.

And there’s something to be said for that. We tend to believe what’s repeated, whether by ourselves or others. It’s the very basis of advertising. The more somebody tells us we need a certain product, that it’ll make our days better, our lives longer, and drive the opposite sex wild with desire, the more that message begins to wear on us. Before long, we’re out shopping for something we didn’t even know we needed.

It’s also the basis of misinformation, both intentional and unintentional. From politics to medicine, we’re constantly bombarded with “truths” somebody else wants us to know. Of course, some are much more factual than others, but when did that ever stop anybody from sharing an opinion as gospel? And, again, the more we hear the same message, the more believable it becomes.

I remember years ago, we tried an experiment in a leadership class. The instructor picked out one person in the room, and the rest of us were to convince that person that they didn’t look well. Naturally, that person had no idea what we were doing. He was just the unlucky soul who took a restroom break at the wrong time and left the rest of us to plot his demise.

When he returned, the instructor asked, “Do you feel okay? You look a little pale.” For the rest of the morning, several of us took turns doing the same thing. Or we’d point to the clouds and suggest a storm was coming or tell him we heard the company was getting ready to cancel vacations and force overtime. He didn’t even have vacation scheduled, but by lunchtime, he was visibly distressed.

Okay, it might have been fun to see how long we could ruin his day, but that wouldn’t have been very nice. Right before lunch, the instructor let him off the hook and explained how the repeated suggestion that things are not going well can change your perspective to the point that you overlook all the sun peeking through the clouds and only see a looming storm.

It’s been said that we all tend to live up to the expectations that others have set for us. Not demands, expectations. There’s a difference. A demand is something to which you’ll be held accountable. An expectation is a belief that it’ll happen simply because you’re the one in the driver’s seat. And we all tend to be a lot more successful when others genuinely expect us to succeed.

The same is true about our own perceptions. Put ten people in a room together, close the door, and walk away without saying a word. Just leave them to wonder what’s going on. Every one of those people is experiencing the same reality, but you can believe there are at least ten different ideas of what that means. At that point, they form a few expectations of their own.

And those expectations have a strong influence on our perception. While one person is waiting for the boss to walk in with a stack of pink slips, another sees little more than a chance to enjoy some quiet time among friends. And for both of them, until that door opens, and they find out what’s really going on, their perception is reality.

If you wake up in the morning expecting a gloomy day, you’re probably off to a real good start toward fulfilling that expectation. If, on the other hand, you wake up excited about the new day and look forward to it with anticipation of all the good things you can accomplish, the odds are much more in your favor.

That’s not to say nothing can come along to change your day. Storms will arise, things will go wrong, people will get upset, and some of that will try to rub off on you. But if you started the day happy and positive, it’ll take a lot more to get you down. It’s all about expectations. Set your expectations high, and you won’t have to look too hard to spot the good when it comes your way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved