You are likely familiar with the difference between a dog and a cat. Dogs are easily excitable, mostly full of energy, and always visibly elated to see their humans. Cats on the other hand are a bit more, shall we say, calculated. Cats are more careful in their movements, not always as eager for attention, and are often more interested in their own affairs than yours.
A humorous example of this is the following image. Intended for satirical purposes, the writer articulates the difference between how a dog’s vs. a cat’s diary would read, should they ever evolve to learning language and grow opposable thumbs:
The dog on one hand is excited about every activity she is presented with that day. The cat on the contrary is tormented, dealing with the inner turmoil of captivity in a hostage-like situation.
The point here – besides taking this opportunity to share yet another hilarious thing floating about the internet – is that both the dog and the cat are living similar circumstances. Both are living with a human owner, both are fed, played with, and tended to in a household. Yet one sees their situation as fun, engaging, and a never ending montage of their favorite things. The other is miserable, spending his days plotting escape and the demise of his people.
Through the same vein, each day you are faced with presents you with a series of choices. You never really have to get out of bed any day that you don’t want to. Really! You could just not go to work. But most days you are motivated to get there because the fear of losing your occupation is strong enough to get you in the shower and out the door (hopefully with some clothes on).
You also don’t have to be nice to your wife, husband, or significant other if you don’t want to be. You could always just say, “Forget ‘em! I’ve had a rough day and they are just being too needy right now.” You can explain it away later and for the moment treat them the way you wanted to treat that client who yelled at you for 20 minutes over something that wasn’t your fault.
But, you don’t. You’re desire not to hurt them is motivation to be nice. You find a way to change your attitude just enough so that you can engage in a pleasant exchange with someone you love.
And that right there is what I’m talking about. Each day will offer you a myriad of challenges. Some days may be filled with more challenges than others, sure. But it is not those challenges that define the outcome of how you feel or how you’ll feel about that day.
You do. You and your attitude are truly the only difference between a good day and a bad day. A friend of mine recently took a road trip from San Diego to Seattle, and somewhere around Oregon his tire blew out. The closest town with a tire shop was 200 miles away, and his non-AAA owning self knew he was facing a towing bill in excess of at least $1,000. But when I spoke to him later that evening, you never would have known it.
“Man, I heard you had a rough trip Devon,” I said with audible empathy in my voice.
“I think it went alright,” Devon chimed in cheerily, “Since I got to buy tires in Oregon, I didn’t have to pay any sales tax!”
Devon is one of those people who never has a bad day. What’s incredible is he seems to constantly be faced with innumerable challenges that I hear about after-the-fact. But when I ask him, he always finds a bright spot to shine his mental flashlight on.
Like Devon, each day we have a choice. Today we can have a good day or a bad day, with the only deciding factor being our attitude. What kind of day are you going to have today?