Day 35. I found a way to apply a Dale Carnegie principle by cleaning the bathroom…


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:
Keep busy.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Pray.

Stuck in a box

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.

Day 33. The only reason I woke up today…my boss called me….Guess what Dale Carnegie principles I managed to use today!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 33.  April 27, 2011
I woke up this morning to the sound of my cell phone ringing right beside my pillow.

Startled, I look at the phone.  It’s my boss calling.  I look at the time… It’s 11:40 am on Wednesday. 

I leap out of bed—frantic—and irritated that I overslept.  I called my boss back—and try my best to muster a voice that doesn’t sound groggy like I just woke up.

“Oh hi—I um—had a rough night.  Apparently I was super tired—and I overslept…” 

My boss responded in her usual generous way—”oh no!  Well, why don’t you just take the day off and rest up.”

I respond, “oh thank you—but I have a lunch meeting with Kelley today at noon… which is in 20 minutes….”   

My boss and I both laugh at the absurdity of my circumstance.  “I’m not sure how, but I will be there one way or another….”

So I race through my morning ritual of getting ready.  I said a few frantic prayers—please God, help me.  Please Guardian Angel—help me get ready.  This is not how I planned the day.”

Despite running late—I quickly check my email.  I see a couple of my friends posted comments on my blog… that was enough to lift my spirits.  Well, I guess it was worth staying up super late the night before to post the blog. 

I throw on fresh clean clothes—do my best to get the hairdo in decent shape and I run out of the house into my car. 

 “Please God… make me fly through the streets.  Please clear traffic.  Hurry.”

I decide my goal is to get there by 12:30—which is late but not too late. 

I race through the tollway—the speed limit is 70mph—which ordinarily seems way too fast—but today…. I’m pushing 75mph. 

New world record!

I manage to get to the office which is over 30 miles away… in 32 minutes!  Typically it takes 1 hour – 1:15 minutes to get to work.  If there’s rain…two hours. In snow or ice… three or more hours….

I’m so grateful I made it in record time.  I’m still pretty frantic—I literally just woke up—and my head is still groggy… and mildly aching. 

I walk in to the office looking for my poor friend Kelley who must be patiently waiting to have lunch with me.

No Kelley in sight.  I ask around—“has anyone seen Kelley?”

I sit down and check all my email.  That’s when I saw an email from Kelley… she woke up this morning feeling ill—so she had to cancel.  (She emailed 3 hours ago)

It was at this point I felt like a deflated balloon.  I took a deep breath.  I did my best to smile.  I decided to find humor in the rich irony.

I was so exhausted I felt like I melted...

You see—on Sunday I kept writing an email to send to my boss—but I just couldn’t hit send.  The email was to request a day off on Easter Monday.  (We had to work on Good Friday).  I not only wanted a day off—I needed a day off.  I have been exhausted.  My boss would gladly give me a day off but I just can’t bring myself to ask.  And there’s this pesky Dale Carnegie principle that keeps nagging me “Rest before you get tired”.  In talking to the UPS service rep yesterday she told me she spent the entire Sunday resting. I joked—yes, I’ve heard about that concept—what’s that like?  I just can’t seem to do it!  I’ve been chewing on the idea of a day off all week…

The Dale Carnegie principle I should have used today:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

Instead of springing out of bed in a crazed panic—I should have paused… and reviewed all my emails. If I had—I could have agreed to my boss’s suggestion of taking a day off!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Cooperate with the inevitable.
Try to profit from your losses.
Pray.

I accepted I would be late this morning and just focused on minimizing how late.  Plus I knew Kelley would understand.  Once I realized the lunch plans were cancelled—I did my utmost to profit from my losses by trying to find humor in the irony of the circumstance.

So remember, before going into a crazed panic– slow down.  Take a deep breath.  Get all the facts.  Review the facts.  Then proceed calmly.  Otherwise you might miss an opportunity like I did of having a day off.  Also– before getting irritated when you receive ingratitude, lemons or a heap of something I cannot repeat… do your best to turn it into something positive.  Profit from your losses.  The easiest way to do this is to find humor — to find some silly irony in the moment.