Yesterday I came home from a long weekend away visiting family in Wisconsin. The temperatures were below zero most of the time I was gone, both here and where I was. The icy weather paired with my older, slightly unreliable car created a situation in which I found my car in the exposed airport parking lot, dead. It tried to start but gave up rather quickly. It doesn’t have much heart.
At this point, travel weary and cold, I was at a loss as to what to do. The airport isn’t really very far from my neighborhood, so calling someone for help wasn’t out of the question, but I wasn’t looking forward to sitting at the airport for another hour while I waited for someone to rescue me. I had already been traveling for 9 hours, with a five-year-old. Calling AAA would have rendered roughly the same results. So I sat there for a minute weighing my options.
I have to admit, I had a momentary feeling of “why me?” helplessness and was in serious danger of slipping over into victim mode. I’m sitting in my frozen car which is covered in snow in a cramped airport parking lot which looks a lot like a junkyard on Hoth. I always carry jumper cables and have a general idea of how to use them, but without another running car, this sort of preparedness isn’t worth much. Like bringing your iPhone charger on a primitive camping trip. It was looking like I was going to be there for awhile, and after getting up at 3:45 am and enduring air travel with aforementioned five-year-old all day, I was knocking on poor me’s door.
This sort of victimhood mindset is wasteful thinking. Feeling stuck and helpless, waiting for someone to come and save you is a choice, princess. Even when you’ve done everything you can reasonably be expected to do (I mean, I had jumper cables) and you’re still stuck, pull up your big girl panties and figure it out. Use your brain power for something that is actually going to help you. Be creative and observant. There might be a solution right in front of you, but if you are wasting your cognition on feeling sorry for yourself, you are unlikely to notice it.
At this point, I became aware of a vehicle running nearby. It sounded like a truck or SUV. So I got out of the car and looked around. Right there, literally right in front of me, a white suburban was running. I hadn’t seen it before because my windows were covered with 2 inches of snow. What are the odds? So I walked up to the driver’s window and got the guy’s attention. It was a guy I had seen with his family on the plane. He was letting his vehicle warm up and melt the windows because he had forgotten his window scraper. I happened to have a window scraper, and he was willing to help me jump my car.
That solution seems pretty simple, right? Obviously, I would ask this guy to help me. I mean, he was in the parking space nose to nose with my car. Cars were parked door to door in this lot. If anyone else came to help we would have had to push the car out into the aisle to get the jumper cables hooked up. But, it took a “how can I make this work” attitude to notice that a simple solution was available. If I would have been wallowing in self-pity that is where my attention would have been. On all of the things that were going wrong and all of the reasons why I was a victim.
You can use this attitude to help you in your own life. Think about your goals or resolutions. You want to make 2018 your year! This is the year you are going to start your business, get financially sound, lose weight, get fit, or quit a bad habit for good. Whatever your goal is, you will have reasons to give it up. Lots of them. Some days you will have more reasons to quit than you have to keep going. If you are looking for reasons why you can’t do something or why this just isn’t working out, you will definitely find them. Personal responsibility is hard. Blaming outside influences for failure is easy.
On the other hand, if you can identify this attitude and stop it before you fall over the edge into dispair, you can do anything. Literally anything! Think you’re too old to change your career path? Think you can’t eat a healthy diet because your lifestyle or travel doesn’t permit it? Think you can’t become successful because you’re stuck where you are? B.S. (that’s Belief System, by the way). Change your thinking and you can change your life. Be brave and think big.
Sometimes you will have to do things outside your comfort zone. These uncomfortable things are probably exactly the things that are holding you back from success. Many times we think uncomfortable things are not possible. “I can’t because…I don’t know how, I’m not smart enough, I have responsibilities elsewhere…” It’s much easier to stay where you are rather than to risk putting yourself out there. I would be lying if I said it was comfortable for me to go up to an unfamiliar car’s window and ask a stranger for help. He could have been a creeper, thought I was a creeper, or been unwilling to help. After weighing those options, but not dwelling on them, the best option was to ask rather than to sit there helpless.
Recognizing wasteful thinking and stopping it in its tracks will go a long way towards making you successful at practically anything you want to accomplish. It does no good to think about all the reasons why you can’t do something. That sort of thinking is wasteful. Instead, look around you, be observant. An obvious solution might be right in front of you. If you stop thinking about why it won’t work, and start thinking about why it will, you are on your way to being wildly successful!
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