One Day – Two Perspectives

This post is going to take a look at the power of perspective through a really simple example, a day in the life:

Day 1

You wake up, groggy from a restless night.  Your first thought is, “Ugh, Monday, this is going to suck”.  You realize that you didn’t wake up to your alarm and look over at the clock.  You panic as you see that you are late…your alarm didn’t go off as planned.  You feel frantic, knowing you are going to have to rush out the door. As you are brushing your teeth, you see that you’ve dripped toothpaste all over your shirt.  SHIT! You rush back to your closet and grab a new one, pissed that your carefully planned look is not screwed up. 

Rushing into the kitchen to grab coffee, you see that your partner has used the last of it.  “That’s just GREAT, you seethe”.   Knowing you won’t have time to stop at Starbucks, your anger grows.  Hitting the road, you immediately hit traffic.  You rage at the other drivers, wishing they would get the hell out of your way.  

You make it to work, head down as you are on the verge of being late.  Carol from Accounting gives you a look.  “Damnit Carol, mind your own business!”, you think.  You don’t love your job, and you begin to dread another day of boring tasks, just like last week.  You would quit, but feel trapped because there aren’t any other jobs available.   The day drags on, just like you suspected, menial tasks all day. Listening to Carol drone on about her stupid cat. “no one cares about Mr. Muffins, Carol!” you think.   

Monday seems endless. After lunch, you get an email from your kid’s doctor, noting that you have missed an appointment and that they will have to charge you.  “Why can’t I do anything right?” you think.  At the end of the day, your boss stops in, asking you to take over a project that one of your co-workers has botched.  “Great,” you think, “more thankless work on my plate.” 

On the way home, traffic is again brutal.  Your mood darkens with every car that cuts in front of you.  When you are almost home, you get a call from your partner, asking you to pick up a few things from the store, including coffee.  You get angry and short with them, just wanting to get home.  

Struggling in the door with groceries, still fuming about the store, you see that the living room is a disaster, the kids running around, chasing your partner, making a ton of noise.  Angry about the state of the house, you barely speak at dinner.  You immediately go to bed after, miserable, just wanting the day to end.

Day 2

You wake up, not having slept too well the night before, but feeling grateful that you woke up naturally and didn’t have the jarring alarm in your ears.  You silently set an intention that you will have a good day.   You look over at the clock.  Laughing to yourself, you realize why you didn’t hear the alarm.  It didn’t go off!  You make a note to start using your phone like your partner does, smiling when you think about how smart they are. 

You get your body moving, thinking you will need to employ your ninja skills to get to work on time.  Brushing your teeth, you drip toothpaste on your shirt.  You are thankful that you noticed now and not talking to your boss later.  You grab a new shirt, telling yourself, “it’s cool to look mismatched!”  Wheeling into the kitchen, you see that the coffee is gone.  “Good thing I got that extra sleep!” you think. 

You hit traffic as soon as you get on the road.  Knowing there’s nothing you can do about it, you crank the tunes and practice your air drumming skills (your hi-hat work is really coming along nicely!)  You get to work eventually, smiling as you skate in just in time.  “Made it!” you shout, causing Carol from Accounting to give you a look ( oh, Carol! ). 

You don’t exactly love your job but are grateful for being able to provide for your family, given how many are out of work right now.  You set an intention to keep that resume updated so you can be ready in case the opportunity arises.  Today is pretty much like last week, repetitive tasks.  You take some satisfaction in the completion of each one, making a game to see how many you can tick off in an hour.  You ask Carol about her cat, knowing she gets so much joy in talking about Mr. Muffins.  “Man, that lady can talk about that feline!” you think.  After lunch, you get a call from your kid’s doctor.  You missed an appointment, and they are going to charge you.  “Well,” you think, “this is an expensive way to be reminded to get yourself an organization plan rolling.” 

At the end of the day, your boss stops in, asking you to take over a project that one of your co-workers has botched.  You happily agree to take it on, thinking it will at least be a break from the same old tasks.  And who knows, there could be some opportunity in there.  You skip out the door, thinking about the possibilities.  

Traffic is again crazy, but you take the opportunity to listen to a really interesting podcast, looking forward to sharing what you learned with your partner (see, you are smart too!).   Speak of the devil, your partner calls.  You are glad to hear their voice. They ask you to stop at the store for a few things, including the coffee.  It’s not your favorite thing, but its only 15 minutes, so you happily agree. (Guess that caffeine hiatus will only be the one day!) 

You come in the door with an armful of groceries, greeted by the beautiful chaos of your partner playing with the kids.  You soak in their joy, watching them chase each other, squealing.  Dinner is delightful, as you talk with your family. Impressing them with your new podcast knowledge.  You lovingly tuck your kids into bed.  You tell your partner you are going to bed early…and ask them to join you.  Feeling the love for each other as you slip off to sleep in each other’s arms (after setting your phone alarm, of course!).

The outcome of these days could not have been more different even though the events that transpired are the exact same.   The exact same things happened to you on both of these days.  The only difference is in your perspective on what transpired and your reaction to them.  

It seems like a ridiculously simple thing, but the ability to have power over your perspective and your reactions can take a terrible day and turn it into a beautiful one.  It doesn’t just end with one day.   You can extend this power into your entire life.