Day 121. By focusing on one blessing today… more came tumbling after.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 121. Monday, July 25, 2011
Preface:
I was sitting in Mass on Sunday when the priest asked, “what do all of us seek?”

My first thought: fame. (I figured God knows my thoughts—why try to conceal them.)

The priest answered the rhetorical question—“we all want to matter to someone. We are all seeking love.

I smiled to myself – well, yes, in a roundabout way, I guess that’s what I really meant….


This morning I busted into my co-worker’s office with the biggest grin. Look! I have proof that a complete stranger is reading my blog!

Needle in haystack
It’s like finding a needle in a haystack

I immediately looked at my co-worker perplexed. How did this person find me? I’m just a piece of dust on the Internet. I’m nobody. Yet… this person is reading my blog. And this person chose to “Like” me on Facebook. She’s my second fan and I don’t even know her!

My co-worker looked at me and said—just accept it. You’re not invisible. I left his office grinning ear to ear—admiring my iPhone that was displaying my one “Like” on my Facebook page.

I chatted with my friend again. “You know… I’m a bit embarrassed. It’s like inviting everyone to a dinner party but not having any food ready. I don’t have appetizers to serve for my one guest! The curtains to my new Facebook home aren’t even up! Nothing is ready!”

It was around this time I started sifting through Monday morning email. That’s when the balance to my day happened. Three challenging individuals from the past resurfaced today… on a Monday no less! I was absolutely stunned. As I read the email I could feel my forehead wrinkling—my whole expression probably said disgust.

Before taking the Dale Carnegie course I would have let these three people drag me down for the rest of the day. I would have reflected on the past business relationships we had with these individuals and would have questioned why we are bothering with them again.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to take the Dale Carnegie course and this blog also keeps me in check. I decided to dig my heels in deep and think of one good thing about today.

I began to grin ear to ear as I thought of my one Facebook Fan.

The day took a variety of twists and turns—with more stress at work. But I kept holding on to one good thing about today: my one Facebook fan.

I drove home today trying to figure out what I would write about in today’s blog. All I could think about was a strong wish to say thank you to the stranger who decided to “Like” my Facebook page. You were fan number 2… a very brave move considering there’s not much to see on my page. And what’s more—I want you to know how that one act absolutely made my day—and gave me something positive to focus on instead of the difficulties at work.

And… you also gave me the courage to reach out to my friends and ask them to “Like” my page. At the present moment… I’m at a stunning quantity… 9!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t worry about the past.
Count your blessings – not your troubles.

Without going into detail—I assure you—this day could have really been bad. Having these three business associates back in my life is a real challenge—and will really test my ability to use the Dale Carnegie principles. By focusing on my blessings—in this case—a bona fide fan on my Facebook page—I took control of my day. I was absolutely determined to have a good day and not let these individuals from the past drag me down.

So remember—the blessings in your life are just what you need to keep your outlook positive. Focus on them rather than the negative individuals and circumstances in your life. Today, I proved this technique works and I am confident it will work for you.

Thank you everyone who has chosen to “Like” my page.

Housekeeping / Notes:
I am so thrilled to tell you that a friend has volunteered to be a Guest Blogger!  More information is coming soon.

For those new to the blog—new blogs are usually posted between 10 pm…. 3 am every night/morning.  Depending on when I’m able to post—they may appear to be dated one day off.  I am always racing a clock.

Day 112. Dale Carnegie’s principles reminded me of who will be around during the best, worst and most vulnerable moments in life.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 112.  Saturday, July 16, 2011
The doorbell rang.  It was dad, grandpa and grandma.  Dad wheeled grandma inside the house as she sat patiently in her wheelchair.

The grandma I have always known has always walked.  She’s always dressed fashionably.  She’s never been old.  So the sight of a wheelchair takes some getting used to.  Who is this elderly person? 

Her health has recently worsened.  She and grandpa are in town visiting a new doctor. 

I offer grandma some water.  I reach for a glass and mom corrects me saying grandma can’t hold the round glass I selected.  She advises I give her the square shaped glass.

Right before dinner, grandma needed to use the facilities.  Grandma’s elderly condition is new for everyone.  She’s always been independent.  But now the simple task of dealing with personal needs is a multi-person process—particularly because no one in the immediate family is a health care professional.  Since this was her first time visiting the house in her condition they were trying to figure out which bathroom would be easiest for her to maneuver in.  Our bathrooms aren’t designed with the elderly in mind—there are no hand rails.  My uncle suggested she use the portable commode that they brought with them but dad said that the guest bathroom should work out ok. 

It was a very involved process.  And the concept of a portable commode was something that has never been on my radar. 

Understand that the Smiling Daffodil is a very private individual.  Admitting vulnerability, accepting help or being cared for when she’s sick are not her first choices.  I recovered from my wisdom teeth surgery by myself, for example.  Just watching the scenario unfold from the sidelines was jolting to me.

I was really struck by the family unit.  The family unit has a bond of trust, respect and dignity for its members in the best and worst of times.  There are moments of vulnerability—as in this case when grandma needed help to get to the bathroom.  My uncle, aunt, cousin and grandpa each helped her in the measure that they could without being squeamish or uncomfortable.  It was simply a task that needed to get taken care of—and they helped her out of love. 

You’re probably wondering what Dale Carnegie principle I used in this scenario.  The principle is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings—not your troubles.

I don’t often consider the many challenges that come with being elderly.  I’m the one that hates all public restrooms and pretty much any restroom but my own.  I had not thought beyond the germ factor to the real challenges—like not being physically able to take care of oneself and having to rely on others for help.  And I’m very impressed with how my family is stepping up and helping grandma with care, concern and love. 

My lesson to you—don’t take the smallest blessings for granted and be grateful for your family.  They are the ones that will be there for your best, worst and vulnerable moments.

Day 108. Count your blessings — not your geckos…


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 108.  Tuesday, July 12, 2011
This morning my door bell rang at 9 am.  He’s here! 

I was excited to open the door and greet Batman / Superman / or whatever name this caped superhero goes by.  The more “common” name is exterminator. 

The badge on his uniform indicated his name was “Scott”.  He didn’t say much and he wasn’t smiling.  Nevertheless, I remained optimistic. 

He asked me if the salesperson had gone over the service agreement.

I mumbled, “not really.”

He proceeded to explain the contract and stood there at my door waiting for me to sign.

I looked at him puzzled. 

I said, “I’d prefer if you walk through my home first and explain what you will do.”

He walked in reluctantly. I began to explain my gecko woes.  He wasn’t interested. 

He told me I need to go buy sticky glue traps.    

I looked at him puzzled. 

He explained they don’t treat geckos. 

I debated with myself at this point.  He might not treat geckos—but he needs to focus on how they treat the geckos’ food source.  Spiders, for instance.  He has not done this. 

There was dead silence as I wrestled with my thoughts. 

I explained to Scott that the salesperson led me to expect a different service than what I was receiving.  I explained I would not need his service and led him out of my home.

I was fuming.  I was expecting a team effort in ridding my home of these stupid, tiny creatures that have invaded my garage and my mind.  I had imagined having fascinating discussions on geckos and wasps’ nests, and various other invaders that are inevitable as a homeowner. 

Instead I drove to Lowe’s Home Improvement and bought sticky glue traps.  As I reflected on how my time was wasted and how the exterminating service completely missed the mark, a thought occurred to me. 

In talking to the salesperson last week, she explained they’d inspect the house and find the points of entry for the geckos.  Over the weekend I found that point of entry.  It’s the water heater closet.  The builder did not seal this closet completely. 

If I hadn’t spoken to the salesperson I wouldn’t have discovered the problem in the water heater closet.  I was finally able to smile again. 

The Smiling Daffodil is now an exterminator.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings – not your troubles

While the exterminating service did not deliver what I expected I did my best to find the good in the experience.  I will be the first to admit it’s not always easy.  I really had to work hard at not chewing out Scott and the salesperson who called to follow-up with me.  But in the big picture—it’s not worth it. 

Do your best to focus on the good and you’ll live a happier life.

Day 106. What to do when vines feel like they are choking you….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 106.  Sunday, July 10, 2011
This morning as I was doing yard work in the backyard I became overwhelmed.  I was at the point that I was ready to annihilate anything and everything that was green with my weed whacker.  I actually considered pulling out the chainsaw and attacking all the plants. 

The passion flower vine is very aggressive.  And despite the 100 degree temperatures and very dry ground—nothing seems to phase this plant.  It’s tangled on all the other plants and bushes.  I managed to cut it back down to a manageable condition.  But I created a huge mess to clean. 

Next I tackled the morning glory vine in my patio. It was growing / covering my two patio chairs.  I was at my wits’ end trying to remove this vine.  I thought to myself—a zero lot home is the way to go.  No hassle or responsibility of a backyard.  The vine had twisted itself around the legs of the chairs—it was as strong as a rope. 

As I was tugging away at the vine I tried to think of a Dale Carnegie principle that might help me get through this misery.

I considered the fact that I have my health.  I am physically capable of doing yard work—I have two working hands two working legs—I am mobile. 

I considered the fact that a customer of mine was recently in a head-on car collision.  The airbags saved her and her son—but they both have some minor injuries they are recovering from.  Despite these hardships this customer is upbeat and positive.  This blows my mind.

I considered the fact that I am blessed to have a home that I can afford.  I’m not in danger of foreclosure or bankruptcy.  I am able to make house payments without worry.  In fact my biggest worries at the moment are a couple of geckos and an overgrown backyard in need of some tender loving care.  Sounds like a pretty good life after all. 

My reason for smiling today

As I was finishing my work I came upon a dragonfly on my magnolia tree.  It was very accommodating to wait as I grabbed my camera.  I was inches away from it snapping photos.  I had a big grin on my face—and remembered why I love my backyard and all the ridiculous variety of plants I keep.  My garden—overgrown or not—attracts some wonderful butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds.  I just have to be willing to open my eyes and appreciate what I have.

The Dale Carnegie principle I employed in this story is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Count your blessings – not your troubles.

My lesson to you—if you start to feel overwhelmed by the burdens of the day—remind yourself of the ways you are blessed.  Run through an inventory of the various blessings—large and small in your life.  When you take this approach you gain a more positive perspective and are in a better frame of mind to take on the hassles of the day without complaint. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
I’m pretty certain you’ve missed some blog posts.  Click here to view the archives.

Thank you for reading!

 

Day 100. I visited a friend who would have been 103 years old this year….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 100.  Monday, July 4, 2011
This morning I woke up not sure how I’d spend the day.  It’s a holiday— and this time I don’t have to work.  What am I going to do with myself? I decided to focus on creating happiness for others.

I missed my friend’s anniversary last month at the cemetery.  He’s buried minutes from where I work but somehow I chose not to find the time to visit.  So today I decided I’d go visit him.  I contemplated the perfect flowers to take to his grave—perhaps a couple bouquets of the passion flower vine from my garden… but they really don’t keep well.  I decide to pick something up at a grocery store along the way. 

Well… I missed my exit for Albertson’s so I ended up at a nearby Fiesta grocery store.  I spotted the florist section where they had the standard selection of roses and carnations. 

Not the typical bouquet of flowers in a cemetery but that's why I like it.

I realize the man I am visiting is deceased—that he’d be 103 years old if he was alive—and odds are he doesn’t care about flowers.  Nevertheless he must have the most attractive flowers in the cemetery.  I spotted a bundle of flowers I’ve never seen in a florist at Albertsons—Bird of Paradise. It was exotic and beautiful.  Before I fell in love with them I checked the price. Nice! They are cheaper than carnations and roses.  Sold!

I made it to the cemetery with Bird of Paradise flowers in hand.  I don’t think anyone has visited my friend and his wife in awhile.  The vase for the flowers was buried and there was some grass that was a little overgrown around the grave marker.  I said a few words and offered some prayers.  It was over 100 degrees today—I was dripping by the time I was finished.

I finished and gazed at all the tombstones and cemetery markers.

It’s really unfathomable that all these tombstones and grave markers represent people that have gone before us and this is only one cemetery.  I was grateful for the opportunity to stop by, perspire a whole lot and be reminded of what’s important.  I’m sure my friend is in heaven by now and his cup is full—but I figured by trying to bring happiness to him somehow I’d get a new perspective.  It worked.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.
Count your blessings not your troubles.

My lesson to you—the best way to prevent complaining, pity parties or complete boredom on a day off is to focus on someone else.  I found an unusual someone else to focus on.  By honoring the memory of my deceased friend I was able to shift my focus completely.  I was now appreciative for this day off and was able to enjoy the day far more.  When you take this approach you are in a better frame of mind to count your blessings both large and small.  The troubles that weighed you down don’t seem quite as heavy anymore. 

Housekeeping / Notes
Thanks for reading my blog!  It makes my day to see you have visited.

Day 97. A method you can implement to help you “count your blessings – not your troubles”


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 97.  Friday, July 1, 2011
I was driving home from work—I was mentally drained.  Half the staff took the day off today since it’s the Friday leading to the 4th of July weekend.

Those of us that had to work had a busy day.  I had a marketing campaign to launch.  Plus I had invoicing to complete and a variety of marketing projects to plan. 

My commute is about 30 miles and I tend to think too much during that time.  Several friends are on vacation.  I haven’t taken a vacation in quite some time. 

You can see where my thoughts were going….

I decided to focus on counting my blessings instead of my troubles.  And to do this effectively I chose a random letter of the alphabet and tried to name off my traits, qualities and blessings that matched the letter.

Example:  the letter “T”
I have tenacity

Example:  the letter “C”
I am good at making cookies
I have courage.
A friend of mine said recently I was cute.

Example:  the letter “D”
I am disciplined.
I can appreciate delicious food. (I am convinced not everyone does)

Example:  the letter “S”
I made two shirts that my peers really liked.

Example:  the letter “G”
I am the godparent to my friend’s baby boy.

You get the idea.  While it seemed a bit childish or perhaps self-serving—it was a positive mental exercise.  Coming up with words became an interesting puzzle to focus on during the very long commute.  It also reminded me that no matter what I think—I am blessed and should be grateful for every gift no matter how insignificant.

 By the time I made it home my entire outlook improved.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings not your troubles.

My lesson to you—if you find yourself feeling down or disappointed about your circumstances or your station in life—take a very proactive approach to changing your outlook.  Identify your blessings in a very specific way as I did.  By doing this—you spend your time thinking about the positive rather than what you don’t have or your troubles.  The outcome—you’ll feel a lot better.

Day 96. Is your day on the fast track to crummy? Try this approach….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 96.  Thursday, June 30, 2011

My dear phone, don't go towards the light. Come back...

I woke up to the unexpected sound of the alarm clock on my iPhone.  I thought my iPhone was broken.  I quickly examined the phone.  Nope.  It’s still broken by my estimation. 

I did my best not to worry about the phone.  Besides… I have better things to panic about….

I had a photo shoot today across town—and as usual I was running late.  For the first time in my career I actually designed two garments for this photo shoot.  We have the perfect model to wear my creations.  She arrives at the studio in a half hour.  And to make matters worse, the garments are wrinkled and they are with me instead of at the studio. 

Traffic was a mess.  The exit I needed was closed so I had to take a detour on the highway.  I kept telling myself—“live in day-tight compartments.  If I’m late—I’m late.  It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.” 

I decided if I arrive too late the garments can be photographed at the next photo shoot.  No one is expecting these two garments anyway. 

I then calmed myself down by belting out my favorite song on my iPod.  I’m not a good singer but like everything I approach it with enthusiasm.  Suddenly traffic didn’t seem so bad.  And I was making ridiculously good time considering my destination was 40 miles away. 

“Please God, get me there soon”, I prayed.  “Please get me there by 9:15.”

Despite two detours I arrived at precisely 9:15 am.  I was 15 minutes late.  But I was pleased that I made my goal.  “Thank you God.  15 minutes is late but not horribly late.”

I walked into the studio with my two garments.  I prepared for the worst in terms of my peers’ reactions to the garments. I honestly had no idea if the garments were attractive. I made them—so I wasn’t a good judge.  I reminded myself that I did my best—but I might be better off at designing pillows.

I was greeted by everyone at the studio.  It turns out they were just getting started.  I wasn’t late.

I started apologizing for my feeble attempt at designing garments and suggested we not photograph them.  Their reaction was nothing but praise and encouragement.  They actually liked the garments. 

I quickly steamed the garments and our model tried them on.  I was stunned.  I made that?  And it actually looks decent?

I was talking to my associate between set changes—explaining to him that my iPhone was either dead or in limbo.  He asked me to show him the phone.

I pulled it out of my purse. 

“Turn it on”, he said.

I replied, “ok, but you’ll see that the Apple logo just stays on—it won’t get past that point.  And if it does it will advise I run the recovery mode.  I don’t want to lose all my photos….”

Some people post their children, their pets, scenic vacation destinations. I post my feet as wallpaper on my iPhone.

As I’m explaining all of this I glanced down and saw the prompt to enter my passcode.  I noticed my favorite screensaver was also displayed.

I nearly hugged my associate.  “It’s alive!”

Not only did I arrive at the studio before the photo shoot started, my garments were not only appreciated—they looked good on the model—and my iPhone “Lazarus” had come back from the dead.  Can life get any better?

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Cooperate with the inevitable. 
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
How to face trouble:
            A.  Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”
            B.  Prepare to accept the worst.
            C.  Try to improve on the worst.

I absolutely prepared for the worst today.  I knew it would be impossible for me to arrive on time to the studio.  I was also aware that my phone may very well be dead.  And I was bracing myself to have my two garments criticized by my peers.  Once I prepared for the worst—it was easy to move forward.  Imagine my excitement when the worst did not happen. 

Today was a GREAT day and I suspect it had everything to do with my outlook.  There was a ridiculous amount of work today and plenty of silly emails to review and countless details I did not consider important enough to share in this blog because none of these details affected me.  My day was GREAT no matter what. 

My lesson to you—sometimes there are unavoidable circumstances—like traffic jams, being late, etc.  It’s at this point you should take a deep breath and just accept the inevitable.  You can’t pull out a magic wand and zap the problem away.  And worrying and stressing over the problem won’t solve it.  Instead find ways to minimize the problem—and look for the positive.

In my case I celebrated being only 15 minutes late. There was a time not long ago I’d be irritated for being late at all.   Once a few positive things started happening to me today you’d think I won the lottory.  After that—the rest of the day was a breeze to deal with. 

When you take this approach—you’ll be able to reflect on the day’s events and how you handled them with a sense of accomplishment.  Control your outlook and you’re more likely to end the day on a positive note. 

Housekeeping /Notes:
You’re invited to read this week’s guest blog post by Tyrone.  He turned an ordinary visit to the library into an opportunity to use the Dale Carnegie principles.  Click here to read.

Day 87. I didn’t have to work hard to make lemonade. The law of averages served me well.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 87.  Monday, June 20, 2011
I was a bit confused when I looked at the time this morning.  It was 7 am.  I either woke up too early for the weekend or maybe I’ll be on time for work.  I had to look at the calendar to see what day it was.  Oh, it’s Monday… I decided to get up anyway.

As I was pulling out of my driveway I noticed my neighbors hadn’t put their trash bin out by the curb for trash pick up day.  I also noticed their trash bin was very full.  I debated whether I should do them a favor and put their trash bin out or just mind my own business.

I got out of my car and rolled their trash bin by the curb.

As I continued on my drive to work a very strange sequence of events happened. 

I say strange—because it was Monday. 

I received a very touching email from Anthony—an old friend of mine.  He thanked me for my blog and mentioned he shared it with his family on Father’s Day.  On Father’s Day!  If you read my Father’s Day blog post about my macaroni art project you’ll understand what Anthony’s email meant to me.  I thanked God for Anthony’s thoughtfulness, empathy and really excellent timing.  His last words alluded to the fact that he hopes I have an unusually good Monday.  I read that and thought—oh I hope you are right Anthony.  So far we are on a good track but I haven’t arrived at work yet.

I was making good time in my commute to work so I decided to stop by the grocery store to buy some macaroni and other food items to donate for a local food drive at my Starbucks.  Despite holding up the line at the grocery store—everyone was friendly towards me and smiling.  It was really bazaar.  Why is everyone so nice to me? 

Next I arrived at work on time.  That in itself is a monumental accomplishment.  I hesitantly showed my newest heart pillow creations to an associate.  She LOVED them.  I walked back to my office and thanked God.  This is all I wanted from her last week and I got it today.  Perhaps Anthony was right about this day.

Next I heard from my two guest bloggers—who really didn’t realize, expect or believe I was serious when I said their stories would be perfect for my blog.  I was stunned that neither one of them could recognize the value of their stories.  After we talked—they both agreed and seemed to be excited.  I sat and relished the idea that my dinky lemonade stand is now recruiting “employees” and “business” seems to be good. 

Even a coworker whom I haven’t gotten along with for quite some time now was showing me appreciation, kindness and encouragement today.

The day continued in this fashion.  Little pieces of good moments kept falling in my lap.   At the end of the day, encouraged by my associate—I experimented with a couple more sewing techniques.  I started yet another sewing project that is going to be ridiculously cute by the time I’m finished with it.  I don’t know what the finished project will be yet but believe it or not—I might try something other than a pillow.

As I was driving home along the tollway I thanked God for making an unusually good Monday. 

Recognize blessings among the clutter

As I was doing this—I glanced over and noticed the sky.  Despite the cluttered landscape with water towers, electric towers, buildings, highways and overpasses being built, you could see the sky was a dark blue with shades of pink along the horizon.  It was so stunning it was ridiculous.  “Dear God—what were you thinking when you made that sunset?  I hope I’m not the only one driving home that notices your handiwork.”

I took all sorts of detours on the drive home just to get photos of the sky. 

Sometimes you have to look for the good hidden among the clutter, stress and chaos of a day.  If you don’t put effort into it—you will miss out on opportunities to find happiness and fulfillment in the everyday. 

I realize I have rambled quite a bit here.  And like you I’m wondering if there’s a purpose to today’s blog.  (ha)  Of course there is!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Don’t worry about the past.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. 

It sure feels like a great deal of last week was crummy—or at least the last few days.  I had to do some mental acrobatics to apply the Dale Carnegie principles. 

Today was the complete opposite. 

When you have a bad day, bad week, bad month, bad year… consider the law of averages.  Things will balance out.  You will have a good day, a good week, a good month, a good year. 

One way to ensure this—do your best not to dwell on the past (I know this is hard)… and also count your blessings (this one is easy).  Look for all the large and small blessings that come your way.  Take the time to appreciate these blessings.  Look for the good.  Maybe it’s a sunset.  Maybe it’s an encouraging email from a friend or perhaps it’s a patient cashier at a grocery store.  Maybe it’s doing a random act of kindness like putting your neighbor’s trash bin by the curb on trash day.  Or donating food for a food pantry.  The blessings and opportunities are there—you just have to recognize them and act upon them.

When you take these measures—you pretty much guarantee a more positive outlook on the day. 

– Thank you Anthony for pushing me in the right direction.

Housekeeping / Notes:
– Mark your calendars! 
Wednesday will be the debut of a very special guest blogger and friend.  I can’t wait for you to meet him through his story. 
–  Stop by the Archive / Pictorial section
if you missed a story or want to reread a past blog.
– Feedback / Suggestions / Comments: 
If you have ideas on how to improve the daffodil garden of blog stories let me know.  Also feel free to spread the love and share a link or two with family, friends, coworkers, etc. 

I know your time is valuable.  Thank you for reading my blog.

Day 71. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would say, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more”


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 71.  Saturday, June 4, 2011
This afternoon I did a quick Google search to find a museum that would interest me.  I couldn’t find anything.  So I decided to fill the car with gas, turn on my new GPS and drive without a plan.  I took one main highway and kept driving North. 

I had no idea where I was going.  My only objective—take photos of something.  Anything.  And take plenty.  I was calling it my photo scavenger hunt.  My first random stop—a town named Sherman.

I was a bit nervous deciphering the one-way streets through the main square.  I decided to park at the library and take photos of railroad signs across the street.  I saw a “No Trespassing” sign on one of the buildings that I was approaching.  But I justified my actions by deciding I’m on a public sidewalk.  So I snap to my heart’s somewhat nervous content.

As I headed back to my car, a woman from the library walked out and asked what I was taking a picture of.  My heart sank to my stomach.  I thought—geesh—they must have cameras in this very quiet, isolated part of town.  Do I really look that threatening?

I nervously search for words.   “I—um… I’m taking pictures of that railroad sign…. I cross my arms as if to indicate the sign.  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed.”

She proceeds to ask why. 

I replied, “I’m taking photos for my blog… 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles.”  (at this point I realize what a ridiculously long blog name I have).

I continued, “I am driving aimlessly today taking random photos.  I’m sure it sounds crazy….”

The woman replies—“no problem.  You see, my office is just right there beside the window and you are the 5th person I have seen taking photos in that area.  I decided to finally get out of my office and ask what it is people are taking photos of and why.”

I smile with relief and walk back to my car. 

I continue to drive North.

I see a sign, “Durant.”  I think to myself—hmm… I’ll go there.  That’s when it occurred to me…. That’s not Durant, Texas.  I’m approaching Oklahoma! 

I took an exit and head to my new adventure in Durant:  Choctaw Casino Resort. 

I’m a little iffy on whether I’m wearing the right clothes.  I didn’t exactly plan to be seen this day.  But after glancing at the people entering the casino I determine I’ll fit right in—inasmuch as I would fit in at a casino….

I walk around the casino wide-eyed with fascination.  I went to the cashier—and true to my personality I say, “hi, um… is this where I get change?  I’ve never been here before….”  I half expect her to growl at me for sounding like an idiot but she greets me warmly and makes change for my 20 dollar bill.  She says you never know—you may have beginner’s luck.”

I head to one of the 1 cent slot machines.  I don’t have a clue what I’m doing but I’m feeling pretty bold and confident after drinking my free root beer soda.  I put 50 cents into the machine, pressed a few buttons and watched with fascination.  Why do people like this?   I thought to myself.

It's all about perspective ; )

I begin losing on this machine.  But then I won.  I won again.  And again.  I was trying to exhaust the money but I kept winning.  This was getting interesting.  When I reached $3.25 I decided it was time to quit while I was ahead.  My 45 minute adventure in the casino had come to an end. 

With my winnings burning a hole in my pocket I did the most logical thing I could think of.  I found a Starbucks and enjoyed a Java Chip Frappuccino. 

Sunset in June

On the way back home I chased a sunset with my car.  I was able to find a secluded open field where I could park the car, stand outside and watch the “show”.  I breathed in the intoxicating scent of wild flowers, listened to the birds chirping and lived in the moment. I thanked God for the wonderful day and all the thoughtful details that came along with it. 

I’m sure you’re wondering what Dale Carnegie principles I employed in today’s story.  They are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Keep busy.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Don’t worry about the past.

I had a difficult evening on Friday—and I was worried the effects would invade my Saturday and perhaps my Sunday.  With the help of at least three friends, I was able to renew my focus and determination and make today a great day. 

My lesson to you—there are people and circumstances that may succeed in dragging you down.  But you have the ability to pick yourself back up and create your own happiness.  The best way to achieve this goal is to keep busy.  Stay focused on the present moment.  In the event you do think on the past (as I do!) do it for one reason—to propel yourself to make the present all the more positive, meaningful and richer. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
I must thank three people and I’m going to break Dale Carnegie’s rules on names.  I am hoping you will be able to recognize your code names below.
Special thanks to:
Batman
Superman
Tofu Fairy

Day 61. Dale Carnegie’s principles prevent road rage.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 61.  Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The wonders of perspective.

I was driving home from work considering my blog options for the evening. I was thinking— no I can’t write about that instance quite the way I want to— I need to keep this blog family friendly. (it was a very frustrating day).  I grumble to myself.

The route I drive home is a long street that spans several cities.  It has synchronized lights pretty much the entire journey. As I crossed an intersection with a fresh green light, going 45-50 mph—I spotted unusual movement from the left side of the intersection. It couldn’t be, I thought. I verified my green light. I tap slowly on the brakes….then I stomp on the brakes and blared my horn like my life depended on it.

The unusual movement I noticed was a car that turned left on a red light… into my lane.  I was certain the accident was unavoidable.

I have no idea how I stopped just short of rear ending the car. 

I was so tempted to follow her and tell her exactly what I thought of her.  I came very close.  I slowed the car down and quickly weighed the options.
I decided not to escalate the moment any more than she had done with her carelessness. I instead focused on the miracle of not rear ending her while going 45-50 mph.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Pray.

Despite being so shaken and upset by the driver I was very quick to thank God for protecting me. I was lucky to have noticed her. It was a busy intersection. I was lucky there wasn’t a car behind me—because I could have been rear ended in the process of avoiding an accident. 

The idiot driver who ran the red light was lucky she didn’t hit traffic that was in front of her. 

So remember, as bad as a day may have been at work it could always be worse.  So count your blessings and don’t dwell on your troubles.  When you take this approach the hassles of the day take on an insignificant role and you are left to focus on the important aspects in your life.