365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 35. April 29, 2011
I woke up feeling melancholy. I looked at myself in the mirror and tried smiling. I wasn’t feeling it. I knew my mood defied logic because I got more sleep than usual. Yet I didn’t feel well rested at all.
My thoughts took various turns. I thought of tomorrow—the day of my big 5K race. I doubted whether I could actually run and succeed in the race. I thought of the consolation prize that everyone receives—a nice big breakfast. Nope—I wasn’t feeling very happy this morning. Food couldn’t even list my spirits. Should I even enter the race?
I thought of my recent track record of waking up excited and in a good mood. I tried to analyze what was different about today. I remembered my past blogs of fighting for my happiness—proof that I am able to change my mood. I just wasn’t feeling right today.
Then I wondered what I would write in today’s blog. Would there even be a blog? Are my blog days over? I have some great photos for the blog but there’s no story to tell. I’m stuck in my box of unhappiness.
I took a deep breath and prayed. My prayers aren’t fancy or flowery. They are straight to the point: “Dear God please help me.”
Then I did something odd for my morning routine. I decided to clean. I vacuumed the house. Then I emptied the trash. Then I cleaned the bathroom mirror and countertop and even… the toilet! I think it was the moment I poured ammonia into the sink I completely woke up with a complete change of perspective. ‘Wow…that is a strong chemical’—I thought to myself as I ran to the other room gasping for air.
Then I decided to fold laundry that was waiting for me in the dryer all week. I counted my blessings as I folded the socks because most of the socks had matching pairs.
This cleaning process took about 20 minutes—but did more good for me than I could have imagined. I was focused on a goal—annihilate dirt, germs and clutter. As I finished getting myself ready I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Steve earlier this week about the upcoming 5K run. He said with complete confidence that I would succeed.
As I was leaving the house—I looked at the now clean mirror and smiled. Yes, I will run in that 5K race tomorrow. And I will succeed and eat my victory breakfast and wear my victory t-shirt.
The Dale Carnegie principles I used this morning:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
I was a real skeptic this morning thinking I might have reached the end of my happiness parade but it turns out the Dale Carnegie principles continue to work. You just have to be willing to exert effort into getting out of your box of unhappiness.
It is true—you will not always wake up in a good mood—and in some ways I’m grateful I didn’t this morning. It was a good challenge.
Look around for opportunities to count your blessings in the circumstances and people you encounter. Find ways to distract yourself—keep busy by doing the simplest of tasks—like cleaning or folding laundry. Live in the moment and enjoy someone’s friendly invitation to sit for coffee—or laugh heartily at a funny email. You MUST look for these opportunities.
When you take this approach you will discover you have the power to control your perspective of the day. You determine whether or not you are happy. No one else.