When I attended my first Warrior seminar in November we talked a lot about joy. Up until that point I hadn’t really ever thought much about it. Our homework was to create joy projects. One of mine was to smile and say hello to people more regularly, particularly while running. It’s actually pretty entertaining to observe people’s reactions. Half of the people don’t even look at me and the other half look at me like I am crazy. Of course there is always one or two people who give a big smile back… and that makes it worth it. It’s such a small thing with so much impact. When someone looks at me and smiles it truly does bring me joy as I’m sure they receive joy from me and my smile. The other benefit of it is that even those who won’t look at me or think that I am crazy keep walking but might feel better because I said hello and smiled, even if they didn’t reciprocate.
I still continue to do joy projects and they are always changing. It’s not that I stop doing one to start another, it’s that after I do these things for a few weeks they become habit. So now I just naturally smile and say hello to people, it’s no longer a project.
I understood the joy that I gained from doing the projects but I didn’t understand how they actually changed my way of thinking until one cold snowy winter day in February…
I had an early flight to California. The weather forecast wasn’t showing any significant precipitation. They were wrong. I got up to drive to the airport. Outside there was a foot of snow on my car and it was coming down significantly… this wasn’t factored in to me getting to the airport on time! I cleaned off my car and started driving… it was a blizzard. As it was only 4am the roads were not good. I made it to the 401 and thought I was in the clear. 20 minutes on the 401 and there was a sign – Highway closed at Brock St. Ok, I have GPS but as I was driving in a snowstorm I couldn’t try to set it so I called the one person I knew would be up… my brother! He navigated me through the back roads getting off the highway before the traffic started to back up. Back roads in a snowstorm – not ideal! I made to the 407 and had a good drive from there. At the airport on time!
I boarded the plane… and waited… then we went to get de-iced, needless to say we were late taking off, an hour late. My flight was not direct so when we landed in Denver I RAN to the other terminal to catch the next flight. I missed it by minutes. The plane was still sitting there but they had already closed the flight. By this time I had met a couple on the same route as me, and in the same dilemma. We went to the counter to get rebooked. All of the remaining flights to Orange County that day were full. We had to fly to Phoenix and then Orange County. The wife of the couple that I had met was getting upset. She was complaining to the ticketing agent, she was really not happy. I thought – she shouldn’t get so upset, there’s nothing that anybody could have done differently and it’s certainly not the ticketing agents fault. I laughed, a few months earlier that is exactly how I would have reacted!
We got our boarding passes for the flight to Phoenix but the flight from Phoenix to Orange County was on another airline. We were told that we could go down to the US Airways gate and get the boarding passes for that flight. So we walked and walked to the end of the terminal. After 10 minutes of typing the agent looked up and told us that we could not in fact get the boarding passes as the flight was actually an American Airlines flight and while the two airlines had just merged their computer systems had not. We would have to get the boarding passes in Phoenix (the problem being we had a tight connection there). So back to our gate at the other end of the terminal. This might be a good time to mention that I was wearing heels!! (Which I have never done since!)
We boarded our flight to Phoenix. All good here, we’re in the south, no need for de-icing. Except we weren’t. We sat and sat and finally the pilot came on and said that they were having a mechanical problem. The part was coming and we would be ready to leave in 10 minutes. 20 minutes later the pilot came back on and said that they weren’t sure what the problem was and that they didn’t know when we would be leaving. At this point I looked at my new friends and asked if it made sense to stay on this flight when we were clearly going to miss our connection (again). The husband went and spoke to the flight attendant to see if we could get off the plane. She so kindly went and booked us on a later flight out of Phoenix. We finally took off.
We landed in Phoenix and now had a 3 hour layover. I headed for the bar! I people watched and I journaled for awhile and realized that I was having a great day… yes, really. I thought, I’ve had a lot of time to read, journal and I’ve met a nice couple. I started to think about it and realized how crazy it was that I was having a great day. If this had happened 3 months earlier I would have been miserable. I would have given myself a massive headache and I probably would have gotten upset at two or more airline employees. Instead I just let things happen.
Our flight to Orange County was uneventful (finally, something went as planned). When I arrived in Orange County I went to the baggage carousel fairly certain that my luggage would not be there. I wasn’t disappointed. I went to the baggage office. (Side note – I had taken my heels off by this point, I got some strange looks but I had a massive blister on each foot so I really didn’t care what anybody thought!) Nobody seemed to know which airline actually had my luggage as I had an unscheduled airline change mid trip. I was told that they would deliver it to my hotel when it arrived. I was skeptical! When I returned from dinner, the luggage still wasn’t there. I asked the front desk clerk to please NOT call my room when it arrived and that I would just get it in the morning. My luggage was there in the morning!
I had no control over any of the events of the day. I just sat back and let it happen. The part that I found really crazy was that I didn’t consciously tell myself to stay calm, that was just my natural state. Through changing my thinking on a daily basis and understanding joy, my mindset has changed.
Your attitude is everything. The women who I met was unhappy most of the day and what did it get her? We both got to California at the same time but I had a great day and she did not.