What Are You Looking For?

We all know someone who just seems to have rotten luck right? No matter what they do, they just can’t catch a break and everything goes wrong for them. They’ll be the one to tell you about how unsafe it is to drive a car or fly a plane, and how everything on the internet is horrible and negative.

And we all know another person who is always super positive. Everything just seems to fall into place for them. They constantly seem to meet really interesting people, and their plans are full of nice surprises. They only see the good in each situation.

We all live in the same world – a world that’s equal parts wonderful and terrible. Many of us are having a similar experience, so how is it that two people could see it so differently?

Someone who defaults to negative thoughts, who thinks that only bad things happen to them, that the world is against them,  and they never get any luck will be looking out for all the bad stuff – and every time they see it, their viewpoint will be reinforced. The slightest challenge becomes a mountain to overcome, and further proves that life is a cruel game.

But the opposite is also true.

Someone who sees the world in a positive light, assuming that people are friendly and experiences are good will find that too. And every time they get a smile from a stranger, or an outcome is positive, their viewpoint will be reinforced. The slightest challenge becomes an opportunity to grow.

By looking out for something, chances are that is what you’ll find. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself you’re going to have a shitty time, you probably will.

Of course, it’s impossible to be positive all the time. Life will throw you some curve balls, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do to avoid some of them. What you can do something about is how you choose to react. By keeping hold of the negativity, and carrying it around with you the chances are that will impact the rest of your experiences. It is rare for an experience to be entirely positive or entirely negative, but by focusing on the good, it’s likely you’ll have a far happier time.

Love What You Do

As the saying goes, when you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s a lovely thought, but I’m not sure I can get on board with it entirely. Many people are not living the life they think they want, the Instagram life that looks like an extended highlight reel of happiness. Never a quiet moment.

If perfection is what you’re after, then I’m sorry to say but you’re in for some disappointment. Perfect doesn’t actually exist (and if it did, it would be quite dull after a while). Life is not all sunshine and rainbows – it can sometimes be difficult, and boring, and painful, and a bit of a grind – but that is the balance of life. You can’t have ups without downs, it’s the bits in between that are where we find our growth. If you think of the best moments of your life, they are usually as a result of overcoming some adversity or pushing yourself past where you thought you could go. Those are the truly rewarding moments in life.

In reality, very few of us will get paid to do the thing we love the most, and fewer still will get paid enough to actually live on. The key is to find rewards in the ordinary aspects of life. Regardless of what your job is, if you can find the challenge in it, and have a degree of control over the decisions you make then you can be fulfilled.

Sports icons and movie stars have some of the most envied jobs in the world, but assuming that playing the sport, or acting is the best part of those jobs, consider how much time they actually get to spend doing that. The dream job for most young guys is that of a professional footballer. They only spend 90 minutes a week (assuming they are even in the team) doing the fun bit of their job. Assuming a normal full-time job is 40 hours a week that translates to less than 4% of their time. The rest is spent either having to do the same drills over and over again on the training ground, or else sitting on coaches and aeroplanes, or spending several nights in some hotel room away from their family. Now don’t get me wrong, they have a very enviable lifestyle – and they get paid an absolute fortune for the privilege – but there is also a lot of boring stuff they have to go through as well.

It can be easy to glance enviously someone else’s life, thinking how fortunate they are, but the chances are you’re only seeing the very best bits. You don’t get to see the other 96% of the time, filled with the same stretches of boredom and grind that we all experience at some stage. Once you realise that, then you can see the wonderful opportunities that are available in all our lives.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes in the world, which I think perfectly sums things up:

“It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music”