YOU have been both of the following people...
Scenario A: Random stranger drops their bag. You are in a rush. You see random stranger who has no way of bettering your lot in life; and yet you stop and help them with no expectation of reward. On your hurried way to work/ home/ appointment/ etc you remember that the good deed was it's own reward, and you are still hurried, maybe even stressed, but you have a great feeling inside too.
Scenario B: You are in a hurry to get home from work after a tough day. You don't have to be home at a certain time but you can't help feeling anxious at the constant barrage of cars butting ahead of you. The last straw hits in the form of a car turning into your lane on a yellow light that makes you wait a few extra seconds when the light finally turns green for you. HONK!!!
Now you KNOW you have been both of the above types, because we all have. We have all (hopefully) done something nice for no other reason than to do something nice; which is actually the best reason to do it. We have also been mad or stressed or impatient just because we were stressed or impatient; which is one of the worst reasons.
The point of identifying these diametrically opposed personas is to stress that all other things being held constant; the world is a busy place and many of us will osmotically gravitate towards Scenario B. That is, there are enough people spreading negativity, enough potentially stressful situations, and enough BS in the media that a negative outlook is searching for us and will find us if we let it.
To swim upstream is to actively engage in those behaviours that you know will move you forward; not those behaviours that necessarily come naturally. In order to remind ourselves of this, we need to 'shock the system'. If you don't force yourself into a positive frame of mind, you may find yourself one of the honkers spreading negativity.
How can we shock the system? Glad you asked...
• Hang out with better people. The more time you spend with people who make you feel enlightened, the more you will have this impact for yourself and for others
• Read better articles and books. Put down the celeb magazine, pick up a thought provoking editorial or a great read that takes your mind on a journey.
• Expend more energy. Do you feel like you “shut off” when you’re done work? Most people do unless they are active people. Ironically, being active before, during or after your work day will actually increase the amount of energy you have every day even though you are burning calories.
• Get out of the routine. Take a course, take a trip, go home a different route, eat a different dinner, but stay away from the routine because routine leads to mundane, mundane leads to bored and bored leads to a dying mind and soul. Implement good and effective habits, but shock the system when it comes to the routine – often.
Hopefully you feel happy about the way you expend your energy, and the way your mind interprets potential stresses. Never get to comfortable or too predictable, as the rat race speedway is fortified by doing the same thing over and over and over with no question of the direction or purpose by the drivers.
Shock the system - you'll either find that you are on the right track, or you'll find a better way to do things and a happier way too. Good luck!