- Michael Thompson
A woman spotted legendary motivational speaker Zig Ziglar after one of his events and she immediately ran over to him. Before he even had a chance to introduce himself she was already seven layers deep into a tirade about how much she hated her job.
Zig was taken back — never had he seen so much anger in another human being. The woman was positively irate.
After the woman began to lose some steam she turned to Zig and said, “You gotta help me!”
“Help you?” Zig replied. “I’m sorry to tell you this but I think your day is about to get worse.” After pausing for a moment to ensure maximum impact, he continued, “I believe your company is gonna fire you.”
The woman was shocked: “Fire me?” the woman fought. “Why on earth would they fire me?”
Zig looked the woman straight in the eye and said, “I don’t believe there’s a company big enough in America that can handle this much poison in one small spot.”
Like a lot of people when they’re told that they’re in danger of losing the very thing they’re complaining about, the woman’s demeanor changed. Instead of continuing to rant about her problems, for the first time since meeting with Zig, she opened herself up to finding a solution: “What can I do?” the woman asked. “You gotta help me!”
“Well ma’am I have an idea,” Zig said calmly, “I guarantee you it will work if you’ll do it.” After a subtle head-nod from the woman, Zig continued — “When you get home tonight, and you’re done with everything you need to do, I want you to take out a piece of paper and write “I like my job because…..”
Before Zig even had a chance to finish his advice the woman jumped in: “That’ll be easy,” she said. “I don’t like anything about that job and I don’t like anything about those people.”
“Well just out of curiosity,” Zig shot back, “Do you work at this company for benevolent reasons or do they pay you for working there?”
“Yes, of course, they pay me,” the woman replied.
“Well, you like to be paid don’t you?” countered Zig.
“Yes, of course, I like to be paid,” the woman conceded.
“Well, that’s the first reason why you like your job. I want you to take out your notebook right now and we’ll continue to make the rest of your list together,” encouraged Zig.
When they were finished the woman had come up with 22 reasons why she liked her job.
But Zig wasn’t done: before going to bed that night he advised the woman to grab the list, stand in front of a mirror, look herself in the eye, and read off the list with excitement and enthusiasm — but instead of saying, “I like my job because….” he told the woman to say, “I love my job because…..”
He then instructed her to do the same thing the following morning encouraging her to take the list along with her so she could add to it every time she discovered something new that she liked about her job.
A few weeks later Zig saw the woman again. He was delighted to see that she had successfully made the transition from a “fault-finder” to a “good-finder” — putting an end to her advanced case of what Zig calls “Stinking Thinking.”
What do you love about your life?
Are you serious Mike? You want me to make a list of the things I love about my life and read it out loud in front of a mirror like a freaking lunatic?
You’re damn right I am. I’m also asking you to carry the list around with you like Zig suggests so you can add to it every chance you get.
The reason I am so emphatic about this is simple: it works.
The first time I sucked it up and did it my standard “Oh shit, it’s another day,” look on my face turned positive. My smile left the house and on the way to work it created a second smile, and then a third. By the time I made it to the office I was practically dancing. My friends thought I was high.
I’m not going to pretend like the rest of the day was all lollipops and creamsicles. Shit happened. Marcy from accounting still got on my nerves and don’t even get me started about Tom. But I gotta tell you — reminding myself about all the good in the world while making a conscious effort to keep my eye out for more — seriously helped me to end the day on a positive note.
This exercise hasn’t only worked for me. In fact, I was turned on to it by a friend of mine who lost his wife in an accident leaving him to raise their two young boys on his own.
My friend had met his wife in high school. She was the only woman he’d ever loved. He had a hard time looking his boys in the eye after it happened. Her face was all he saw. But one day he was encouraged by a friend to give the exercise outlined above a shot. In the beginning, of course, he had to fake it. But today he doesn’t have to. Even though his life is far from perfect — he loves it.
This is because he made the choice to look for all the beauty that exists in the world instead of allowing the negative aspects of life to consume him.
I write a lot about self-help for the main reason that I need a lot of help.
When it comes to boosting our moods and improving our quality of life few exercises are more effective than the one above.
You may find it cheesy or downright ridiculous.
But I don’t know about you but I’d rather feel stupid for a minute than spend the entire day with my head in the gutter.
We got one shot at this life. If standing in front of a mirror and saying out loud what I love about my life helps me to make the best of it — then I’d be a fool to at least not try it.
When it comes to life advice good old Zig got it dead right — “Attitude is everything.”