Do you wake up most mornings wishing you could stay in bed? Do you concentrate mostly on bad things that could happen to you within the next 24 hours? Wouldn’t it be great if you could shift your predominant outlook on life from ngative to positive, ready to challenge each new day as a win/win proposition?
At middle age, all too many of us appear stuck on neutral, going nowhere in particular, complaining over every little thing and wondering what became of our dreams from just a few years back. If this describes you, I’ve got a small suggestion. It may sound trivial but it’s easy to try and it just might positively change your entire outlook on life. As a painless experiment, treat the next person you meet–friend, neighbor, casual acquaintance or stranger–as someone you care about, someone who matters!
I am not suggesting (especially the person you encounter is an attractive member of the opposite sex) that you fake it with that old pickup line, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” Instead, simply smile and offer a casual but friendly remark that acknowledges the other person as a valued fellow member of the human race worthy of your kind attention and respect.
A few months ago, I was jogging down a side street a few blocks from home. A middle-aged gentleman pulled over, got out of his car and walked over to retrieve mail from his curbside mailbox. To my surprise, rather than ignoring me, the man went out of his way to be nice. He asked me how I was doing, told me I was looking good and apologized for making me jog a few strides out of my way around his car.
I greeted the man warmly in return and continued my run. As I jogged on, I tried to recall where I had met the gentleman and how we had become friends. Only later did I recognize that we had never met; this caring individual simply had gone out of his way to show me consideration.
No, being nice to the next person you meet won’t instantly solve every midlife problem, disappointment and frustration. It can make you feel better! I speak from personal experience: for years, wrapped up in personal thoughts and lacking confidence around others, I would look down or away when someone else approached. I probably wouldn’t say “hello” unless the other person spoke first. A few years ago, I launched a conscious effort to change my approach. For example, the other day I complemented a woman on the two beautiful dogs she was walking. I joked with a jogger climbing a steep hill, pointing down the hill and commenting, “It’s easier the other way!” The jogger smile back and said something pleasant in return.
Warm, friendly interactions with those around us is highly contageous. It makes us feel a whole lot better and transfers our positive energy to others–a true win/win interaction. Believe it or not, over time we also build self-confidence and favorable expectations for the future. If we can wrest a positive reaction out of the old grouch down the street, think of the confidence we will build for future interactions that truly matter: that next big business deal, at home with those we love or socially when we have the chance to speak with a community leader or a local celebrity we have always wanted to meet.
In my recent book, A Mid-Life Challenge WAKE UP!, I offer comprehensive guidelines and a a whole lot of additional suggestions on how to enhance career, relationships and community service in those middle years. As a free gift, I also offer our Middle Age Renewal Training Mini Course. To request yours today with no obligation go to: www.middleagerenewal.com.