Day 92. Step one– get all the facts before jumping to conclusions. Step two– repeat step one….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 92.  Sunday, June 26, 2011
I woke up to the sound of a weed whacker.  Although I only had 4 ½ hours of sleep I was wide awake.  My neighbor must be using Dale Carnegie’s principle to subtly give me a hint that my backyard is a disaster. 

I decided I better get up and face the jungle that is my backyard.  I have a feeling my jungle is encroaching on my neighbor’s backyard.  A few years ago I decided to treat myself to the most amazing plant I’ve ever seen.  It’s called a Passion Flower vine—and it’s true to its name. 

Out of control

It grows with such passion and enthusiasm…. in the middle of my lawn…. in my neighbor’s backyard…. everywhere. 

Passion flower

The blooms, the fragrance and the butterflies are the tradeoff for the enthusiastic takeover of my backyard.  I just can’t bring myself to get rid of the vine.  But I must admit by the time it’s summer I give up on the vine and count the days for the first frost so that nature can destroy it for the season. 

I went outside to deal with the jungle.  Except now I didn’t hear any weed whackers, lawnmowers or any signs of life in the neighborhood.  I assumed the worst—that my neighbors were irritated with me.  But I was mistaken. 

I figured since I was up I might as well do my best to trim the vine.  By the time I was finished cutting it away I was drenched—it gets rather hot during the summers in Texas.  I was too late to attend church in the morning so I planned on going in the evening.

I got cleaned up and went to the nail salon.  I was getting my nails done—in my favorite deep dark purple color when I felt myself turning white as a ghost.  I was on the verge of passing out. 

My first thought, “Lord, is this punishment for not going to church in the morning?  I’m going to go in the evening.  I won’t skip Mass.  There have only been two documented cases of me not going to church—once when I was a sick as a kid and the other time when I was recovering from my wisdom teeth being removed.”

I hoped God believed my sincerity that I’d follow through and go in the evening.  First the rebellious dark nail polish, now church in the evening… what’s next? 

Well, the woman painting my nails must have noticed me turning white.  She offered me water and asked, “Smiling Daffodil, have you eaten?”

The thought had not occurred to me.  “No… I haven’t.  That’s probably it.”

I reviewed the facts: 
– Heavy yard work this morning in the very hot sun
– Lack of sleep
– An intense workout at the gym around midnight
– My last meal sometime around 9 pm the night before

Yes…odds are these factors were causing my light-headedness today.

She brought me water and I did my best to stay calm.  I think the smell of the nail polish kept me from passing out. 

My nails were complete and I drove home amused.  Clearly, for all my efforts to use the Dale Carnegie principles I continue to assume the worst and let the worst get the best of me.  I assumed my neighbors were up in arms with my jungle-style backyard.  I assumed God was punishing me for going to evening Mass instead of morning Mass.  Looking back, I am the cause of undo stress!

The principle I am slow to use is from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

Learn from my mistakes.  When you are faced with worry, doubt or a decision you must make—get all the facts first.  When you take this approach you’re in a better position to face your troubles more objectively and with a sound mind. 

Addition
Within an hour of me writing this piece—I was texting an associate from work.  It was a positive conversation.  But then out of nowhere he sent a frowning emoticon 😦  I wondered why he did this.  Then my thoughts went back to a marketing campaign I did that bombed.  Oh man.  That sad emoticon he sent is the result of my failure on the campaign.  My thoughts then went to tomorrow—Monday…and the possibility of being called into a meeting to discuss the failure.  It was at this point I did my best to pull myself out of my spiraling downturn of thoughts.  I reminded myself I did my best on the campaign.  We all did our best. 

At this point it was time to go to evening Mass.  I checked my phone and there was a text message.  My associate responded back—“oops—I didn’t mean to send a frown emoticon.  I meant a smiley face.” 

That’s when I thought—geesh.  When will I learn!

Housekeeping / Notes:
Today is the perfect day to catch up on past blogs you have missed. Click here for the Archives section.

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