In my last blog post I wrote about choosing enthusiasm each day. Our ability to consciously choose how we are going to act and respond to situations is in large measure what defines us. We cannot choose all of our circumstances; sometimes life just happens, and good or bad circumstances can be thrust upon us for no apparent reason whatsoever, and we can’t always control that. But we CAN control our attitude, our response to these circumstances, and how we treat those around us.
A while back I was shown a really good short video, entitled “This Is Water.” It’s an excerpt of a graduation speech given by David Foster Wallace, which was then made in to a short YouTube video. In this video, Wallace makes the point that we all face the mundane aspects of life, and that often we can become frustrated with our situation and with those around us.
The trick, Wallace suggests, is to step outside of ourselves and to consider the circumstances of those around us. Perhaps they share the same struggles and frustrations that we do, and in some cases they may be going through serious life problems that we may be completely unaware of. If we step outside of ourselves, and become more aware of those around us, and their circumstances, and then take it to the next level by helping and serving those who could use a hand, that is where we can find purpose and satisfaction.
This concept of increased awareness can be especially helpful if you’re in a position of leadership/management. Being aware of the circumstances of your team members, and showing that you genuinely care for them as people, will help you build stronger relationships with them and increase their level of trust in you. They will know that you care, and will view themselves as a valued team member. This in turn will allow you to have a better working relationship, and help you to achieve your common goals as a team.
So, this is my challenge for you: the next time you feel yourself becoming upset or frustrated about your circumstances, whatever they may be, take a moment to stop and consider the circumstances of someone else around you, and figure out how you can help them in some small way.