1:15 p.m. My internet goes down. Shit! I have an interview with Jen Louden at 2:00, and I need to get online to get the information for recording the call with NoNotes.com. OK, deep breath. No need to get spooled up.
1:30 p.m. Rebooting the computer…again (and again). Still no dice.
1:45 p.m. My computer shows that I’m connected, but if I am, the connection is so slow the pages time out. Worthless! I feel a flash of a tantrum come half-way up my chest before I catch it and let it subside.
1:57 p.m. Success! I get online, grab the information, and call Jen at 2:00 on the dot. Whew!
As it turned out, I was able to dive into my call for a really fun, energizing, dynamic interview. But I could easily have started out tense and irritated, forcing myself to put on a less-than-authentic Happy Curt mask for the interview.
“OK Curt,” you might be thinking, “that’s a (mildly) interesting behind-the-scenes story. But what’s your point?”
The point is that not getting sucked into my negative story about what was happening made a difference. It kept the door open to what was ultimately a positive experience. It created a completely different reality than if I had gotten my knickers in a twist.
That had an impact on me. That had an impact on Jen (I wouldn’t have been as fluid in our conversation if I had gotten wrapped around the axle about it, and the interview wouldn’t have flowed as freely), and it ultimately will have an impact on anyone who listens to the podcast in the future. It created a more lively, fun, and informative experience.
What I was tempted to respond to had nothing to do with what was actually happening in the present moment. It was this imaginary future (having to reschedule the interview because I couldn’t record it) that ended up not even existing.
How often do we do that? How often do we choose the storm instead of the calm in response to some story about a future that doesn’t even exist? It reminds me of a quote attributed to Mark Twain that sums it up nicely:
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
And when we choose the storm instead of the calm, it doesn’t just impact us. It impacts the people we come in contact with. It impacts our ability to show up and do the work we’re here to do in the world.
Making a difference isn’t just about doing something grandiose. It’s not always about feeding the hungry, or saving the trees. Sometimes making a difference comes from the small, everyday ways we react to what life throws at us.
When things are going sideways, we have a choice. Either stay calm and surf the reality of whatever is happening, or fight it and let ourselves get wrapped around the axle. As Byron Katie so astutely says, “When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100% of the time.” (If you haven’t already, check out my Ripple Revolution Podcast interview with Byron Katie.)
Changing the lens you use to view the world changes the world you experience. Next time you feel the storm coming up, take a moment to ask yourself what you’re responding to. Is it a story, or is it an objective reality? And which of those is more likely to lead you to a positive, empowering experience?
I’m under no illusion that there’s some magic switch you can flip to suddenly choose calm instead of storm mode. But if you keep noticing, and asking the question, bit-by-bit it becomes easier to resist getting sucked into the story. And ultimately that allows you to choose calm over the storm.
You are the originating source of any impact you have on the world. And small things, like choosing the calm instead of the storm, can make all the difference.
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Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
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