I’ve challenged myself recently to focus on the small pleasures rather than the small annoyances. An approach to life, I guess, that might foster more joy and less frustration. For example, I’m working hard on being pleased that my laptop is pumping Stevie Nicks through my living room via the speakers on the buffet rather than being annoyed that my vacuum cleaner appears to be dying and I can’t stay on top of the cat hair. I like Gypsy far more than I like cat hair, so this is a better thing to focus on. (It’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.)
I’m trying to apply it to my worklife, as well. Some days are better than others. It’s not just because I have The Responsibility and The Power — everyone has bad days. Typical Mondays. Wrong Side of the Bed days. Spilled the Coffee days. Doing It All Wrong days. It happens. And so on those days… sometimes it’s as basic as “One in ten Americans doesn’t have a job today. I not only have a job, I have a good job.” Sometimes it’s more complex. “I work in an industry that helps build better people who will make a better world.” Sometimes it’s just about as mundane as it can get. “There’s sunshine coming through my window,” or “I really like black cherry sparkling water.”
Whatever works. Dwelling on bad budgets, staffing problems, irritable patrons, stalled projects, recalcitrant staff, missed deadlines, frustrated colleagues… they’re all part of the mosaic of good days and bad days, successes and failures. They all have value. But I find that if I remember that I really like sunshine and I’m happy to have my job, it’s a lot easier to smile at the next person to walk through my door. Which might, you never know, be on their list of small pleasures for the day.