Default positions

There are many times when Mark is right and as much as I would love to be sarcastic and enter a monologue on how it’s one of his annoying traits, the truth is his accuracy and intuition often spurs me out of my whining state and into a better place — one that’s filled with possibility and a positive outlook.

“I’m never going to be able to run a sub-2 hour half marathon,” I have been known to say at various points in my training.

“Well, of course you won’t with that attitude,” Mark replies. I start to formulate my rebuttal but catch myself. I can offer a million different versions of  “yeah, but …” filled with everything from solid logic to the utterly ridiculous. However, I have learned it is difficult to counterpoint someone when they’re not only right, but spouting back your own deeply held beliefs, the ones that sometimes get covered with the old clutter of fear and doubt.

My default position is to scan the horizon for the negative. What potholes are on the road? Where might I trip up? Where might I fail? Lately, I’ve been working to change my default position, scanning the horizon for the positive instead. Each moment, no matter how frustrating or bad, has some gift to offer me. That run I struggled with this morning that was slow and hard work? It was a chance to get my body acclimated to warmer temperatures and an opportunity to grow by running on tired legs. That frustrating project at work? A chance to practice getting calm and focused with an opportunity to think about (and then create) what I really want.

A recent blog post from performance expert Jenny Evans describes the importance of gratitude in developing resiliency. “Stopping for a moment to acknowledge the great things in our lives makes us happier and more resilient,” she writes. “A moment is all it takes. Simple.” She suggests creating a daily gratefulness training program to increase our own resilience, whether it’s thinking of things your grateful for first thing in the morning or keeping a formal gratitude journal. What we focus on grows. Scan for the negative, and more negative comes your way. Scan for the positive and watch as fun things come into your life.

Can I think my way into a sub-two hour half marathon? Maybe. But I know for sure that I can think my way right out of it. Mark is right. My attitude sets the tone for what is possible.

And so what is possible for today? What am I grateful for? My gratitude includes amazing friends who share their lives and joy with me, opening up new ideas and chances to play. I am grateful for morning sunshine and warmer temperatures. I am grateful for creativity and excitement and fresh perspectives.

As my friend Hitch is fond of saying, today is a good day. I’ll take that sentiment a step further: It is a good day because I choose to make it that way.

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