Monday, August 8, 2011

Pro Choice

I bet you already think this is going to be some ignorant rant about abortion, don’t you?  It’s not; you can breathe a sigh of relief now.  I am pro-choice when it comes to handling frustrations in the work place.  We all have a choice daily.  Before we finish our first cup of coffee or even place our feet on the ground, it is our choice on how we deal with the day.  Some people choose wisely, others choose poorly, and their choices reverberate into their lives like a ripple in the water.  What choice you make has a direct impact on your quality of life and work.

It’s 7:00am when I arrive to my office.  I’m still in the process of finishing off my frothy latte and getting my eyes to adjust to the world after being shut for 7 hours.  It’s a Friday and it’s early, things should be tranquil with promising potential.  "Should be" is key here because the shrill of bad choices nearly causes me to run back home, crawl back into bed, and cover my head with a pillow.  Complaints of how things should be and why things are not and on and on deflated any sense of being bright eyed and bushy tailed I had.  I heard a gentlemen once say something in a passing conversation that has stuck with me all these years, “Accept and adapt.”  We were having a conversation about some big changes that had just went down within his department.  He wasn’t in harmony with the choir of complaints the rest of his department had, he was different.  He made other choices.  The choices are pretty simple; 1. Accept reality and adapt to it or 2. Kick and scream about things you can’t change and become miserable.  

It takes so much effort and time to complain, doesn’t it?  While it’s unrealistic to think we all won’t complain at some point, we can all fall into the easy trap of complaining.  Complaining is really just a lazy way out of being active.  It’s the most passive-aggressive thing a professional can do.  A process is wrong or broken so complaints naturally follow.  Are these complaints making an impact?  Are they changing the process or improving it?  Are you willing to do something about it or does it make you feel good to just complain?  I met a pal at my favorite little place in Indy and I was a little early.  As I sat outside on the patio sipping the nectar of heaven I couldn’t help but overhear conversations.  It was a little after 5 so most were coming to unwind and their conversations were all about work, complaining about things, processes, bosses, etc.  I just wondered silently to myself what these people were doing to change what they complain about.  Were they willing to do anything or were they just only happy being miserable?  Why would they allow all these external factors that they cannot control to impact them in such a way that they aren’t even enjoying the beer that sits in front of them after the work day is over.  Maybe they don’t realize they actually have a choice in the matter.  It is a gift to have choice.  We are not people with no will or choice, we are individuals free to choose how we react to our days.   

It all reduces down to the simple principle that we can only control ourselves and how we react to external factors that we cannot control.  The choice is yours, take control of yourself or go mad trying to control others.  I’m pro-choice, I have a choice every day and that choice is one of how I allow elements outside of myself to impact me.  In a professional world, control seems to be what everyone is fighting for, but ultimately the more your fight for control over anything outside of yourself the less you will have. 

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