“Number 28 water bill,” the teller called on. I looked at the 1.5-by-2-inch-ish crumpled piece of board I held. The numbers 3 and 7 scribbled with a fine permanent marker. One deep breath and I got my notebook and pen. Writing (and somehow thinking) is better than staring at something. Anyway, I’ve already studied all the paintings at the bank in my previous visits.
“At least it’s cool here,” I thought. After enduring a few hours of blackout at the office (meaning, no air conditioning unit and electric fan) and that long walk under the summer sun, I’d definitely appreciate waiting in an air-conditioned room.
I started writing about the 2009 planner I found as I attempted to clean my corner space at the office. How my entry ended about defeat, control, and negativity is beyond me. Here’s what I wrote.
Letting oneself become upset is a form of defeat. You became upset because you let yourself be. It’s not because of an irritating deed or the heat or your hormones. It’s because you let yourself be affected by these things. They can be anything. They can be everything. If you choose not to let yourself be, you will not be upset, irritated, disappointed, [ …insert all the negative emotions you can think of here].
If you submit yourself to negative emotions – worse let yourself wallow in it, you are accepting defeat. You are accepting that you failed to master your own emotions. You failed to be the master of “you”.
Letting others, any external factor, affect your default positive self is letting them take control over something dear to you – your emotions, your perspective, your self-control. You become angry and irritated because you chose to be that way. Do not blame the heat, lack of tact, or the uncommon sense for that negativity in you.
Wallowing in negative emotion for a short period of time is acceptable. We all need to be in that state every once in a while. But an extended stay in that state is already a waste of time. It’s such an easy thing to do. Be irritated, angry, cranky, and the like. Everyone can do that.
What makes people standout is not how angry or irritated they can be – but how they manage to retain their cool in the most chaotic situations. In these situations, you never remember exactly who lost it and panicked – almost everyone did. But you remember how one or a few individuals managed to stick to reason and calm. These are the people we look up to.
It so easy to find unpleasant things everywhere. Try looking to positive things and it becomes a challenge. People who find the opportunities in every context, no matter how difficult or complicated it may be, belong to an elite group. They are the few people grounded on reason and positivity.
In every situation, we choose what we want to be. We may change who we opt to be depending on the context. Reasonable and calm in the morning, irritant at noon, or perhaps something in between. We are humans after all, prone to inconsistencies. A “few” would be tolerable. Make that “often” and it’s not anymore.
In every action we take, in every decision we make, it’s good to remember that we do the things we do because that’s what we opted to do. It’s not because of the heat, lack of tact, or the uncommon sense – it’s just you.
Basically, this is me lecturing well… – me?