Visualize Responsibly

Last week, I started a list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness. I could have easily titled it, “Top Ten Ways We Make Our Lives Miserable and Our Work Harder Than It Has To Be.” Here’s our third suggestion…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.

My physician’s office calls and wants to discuss a lab report… and I immediately visualize cancer and begin thoughts of how and where I’ll tell Tom. I buy internet service on the plane and after landing realize that I’ve left my ATM card in the seat pocket… and my brain immediately rolls into the likelihood of a massive identity breech which will haunt me for years to come. A client leaves a message wanting to suspend our mystery shopper call program with their practice… and I instantly assume that it’s a permanent suspension and the result of some mistake made by one of my team members.

Like many, I have a bad habit of jumping forward from a relatively neutral event to one that isn’t even remotely likely, panicking and acting like a child in the moment, and then being hugely relieved when the actual outcome is something significantly better. This sloppy practice causes me undue stress and anxiety when the vast majority of the time, things work out just fine.

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Suggestion #1 for improving your happiness advantage was to “Assume the Best” which focused on ascribing good intent to actions of people you meet. This week’s suggestion, Visualize Responsibly, is focused more on the situations that happen to us.

All events are neutral. We give them meaning. And if we can attach one meaning to them, we can always attach a different one. When we worry and assume the very worst outcomes, we are visualizing unintentionally and, if you will… irresponsibly. Visualizing responsibly is being intentional about our assumptions and, better than “hoping for the best,” actually expecting the best.

Someone told me once that when unexpected things happen to them, they try to ask themselves these three things:

1) What’s the worst that could happen?
2) What’s the best that could happen?
3) What’s most likely to happen?

What’s most likely to happen is almost always not the catastrophic apocalypse we’ve been imagining. What’s most likely to happen is usually that things work out one way or the other. When we remain calm, take a deep breath, visualize a great outcome (or at least what is most likely to happen), we become the leader we want to be. The leader that others describe as level-headed, reliable, and wise. Someone others want to follow in good times and, maybe more importantly, in the bad ones.

It’s Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month) and this time I’m featuring “The Freedom Song” performed by Jason Mraz in a video that shows him playing it live at the Freedom Awards. The footage behind Jason was taken during his 2010 visit to Ghana with Free the Slaves and is sung by children freed from slavery. The song also has a cool backstory as it was originally written by Luc Renaud during his visit to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Luc wrote the song with children he met at a shelter during the disaster.

Really… If children freed from slavery and those residing in a shelter after losing everything can write and sing a song like this one, then surely we can keep calm and carry on all the good work we are called to do out there in the world no matter what life and business throw us, right?

Call it the Law of Attraction, karma, or just plain common sense but positivity breeds more positive outcomes and optimism breeds more prosperity. In a recent article in Thought Catalog, the author wrote this: “(Negativity) is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.”

Ride the waves of powerful intention and watch how swiftly they carry you to the shores of happiness.

Jason Mraz – The Freedom Song

“I picture something, it’s beautiful
It’s full of life, and it is all blue
I see the sunset on the beach, yeah
It makes me feel calm
When I’m calm, I feel good

And when I feel good, I sing
And the joy it brings makes me feel good
And when I feel good, I sing
Of the joy it brings

I see birds fly across the sky
Everyone’s heart flies together
Food is frying and people smiling
Like there is no other way to feel good
I say come on along
I know you really wanna feel our song
We’ve got some life to bring
We’ve got some joy in this thing

Can you feel
Can you feel
Can you feel
The joy that it brings
If you can feel the joy then you should let yourself sing
Hey I love to share my things

‘Cause it brings me freedom
Got to get you some of that freedom
It’s a smile you can feel in your heart beat

Singing freedom
You deserve your freedom
It’s in the feeling that beauty

Well it’s all for you
All for you
All for you
All for you

Got to get you some of that
Got to get you some of that
Got to get you some of that


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