At Your Service: September 21, 2011

It’s been a bad day. Not a hurricane-flood bad day, although it is raining (again); it’s the garden-variety bad day – the kind that everyone has from time to time. It is the kind of day when one notices that the skies are grey and everything else is painted in the same hue.

When I think about good days, I go in mind where I have so often gone in the flesh, to the top of Palmer Hill. There, no matter the weather, I am stunned by the beauty and cannot see anything but how lucky I am to be alive and a witness to what lies before me. It is an experience and emotions that are present in every good day.

I cannot help but notice that there is a common denominator between a good day and a bad day: me. I am the only constant in my every circumstance. More accurately, the difference between the two extremes and all the experiences in between is the attitude I bring to it all.

Attitude is much like the chicken/egg conundrum; it is sometimes difficult to tell which comes first. Today’s economy makes it hard for everyone, many have lost more than they knew they had in the recent flooding, and at one time or another personal tragedies have swept through our lives reeking havoc as they go. Yet our responses have much less to do with the specific circumstances we face than the spirit we bring to the experience. Circumstances are often beyond our control; attitude is always within our control.

It may be trite, but no less true, that the glass is either half full or half empty. One point of view is not necessarily better than the other, but our perspective influences what action will be taken. Where I put my focus opens me up to the possibilities that can be seen from that place. The customer who walks into a store wearing a pulled up “hoodie” should be given attention, but different perspectives will either watch carefully to avert a possible theft or offer some cider to ward off the cold.

The above customer could be served cider whether or not we anticipate bad behavior (assuming it is a fall or winter day.) The gesture could give us new information and the opportunity to assess the situation based on more than an initial reaction. It morphs the “hoodie” into a person and creates the opening for a relationship. Don’t we all want to be a repeat customer to a business that is welcoming? Conversely, the welcoming gesture could in itself ward off a potential threat.

The attitude we bring to the day and all its moments colors our world. It is always beautiful from the top of Palmer Hill, a height from which we cannot see troubles, trials and tribulations. But, it is difficult to just live up on the hill. When we bring the more lofty perspective down with us into the valley, it simply gives us more options. We are more likely to respond than react and see more colors than just shades of grey.