Oh goodness I love this title! 🙂

If you’ve not heard of Dr. Alan Zimmerman (@Dr_Zimmerman), you need to look him up. Here’s a man oozes positive think and attitude. He’s got a Tuesday Tip that I subscribe to, and last week’s tip was the above title. It’s an attention grabber, but it’s more than that, it makes you think.

Honestly, I’ve not a good place right now. Having cancer taken out of me in May was a kick to the stomach. Apparently, in October, I had a small stroke as well. Yup, me a stroke survivor. Who’d thunk it?? To make a long story short, I had two episodes where I simply could not get words out. I could think them, but they would come out gibberish or slurred. Each event lasted about 90 minutes, and after that I was fine. No muscle issues, no pain, nothing. We got some bad information when calling about the second one, but were told to follow up with my doctor. So, we went and saw my doctor Monday. He put me on an aspirin regiment, then I had an MRI, a CT scan, and had an ultrasound of my heart and carotid artery. According to the neurologist, I have a partial blockage somewhere in my brain (if I could say it, I’d tell you where it was!). At some point, there will be medication and diet change and a whole other bunch of stuff (along with MRIs, CTs, chest x-rays, and enough blood draw to make a hungry vampire happy). Ugh. So, I struggle with being positive in the face of a lot of junk.

However, this article did help to put a lot of things in perspective. Dr. Zimmerman’s first question was to ask people he’s talked to what they want out of life.  A vast majority of them answered ” ‘I just want to be happy.’ ”  Sounds like a good plan to me! 🙂 So, he then lays out just how we can be happy.

1.“Recognize the fact that something good is happening in your life.”

I’m grateful that the doctors and neurologist and tell me what’s wrong and we can work to treat it. True, it sucks this happened, but I look at my father, who, 10 years ago, woke up with his heart racing. Mom took him to the ER just make sure nothing was wrong and he was admitted because they could figure it out. On the last test they were doing before he was to be released, they found 3 of the 4 arteries leading to his heart 99% blocked. He and Mom were scheduled that week to fly to Puerto Rico.  Catastrophe could have easily happened on that trip, but instead, he had open heart surgery, they postponed the trip, and he’s alive and healthy. It’s amazing what doctors can do, and I’m so lucky to be able to type this out. So, what’s the good thing you can see right now?

2. “Appreciate everything.”

My first quote I like to throw out to my classes and basketball team: Be in an attitude of gratitude. Thank you parents for allowing to play. Be thankful you live in a country you can come to school, get an education, and work towards something better. I try to find that one thing daily that I am thankful for. It ends my day on a high note.

3. “Phrase things positively.” 

“I’m terrible at this!” “Goodness, why me?” “This sucks.” All phrases I’ve heard at one time or another from students or thought myself. How to we rephrase this?

“I did that part right, now I can keep going.” “This is a set back, but it’s not the end.” “This is hard, but I’ll keep trying.”

It’s about making the positive the focus of what you are thinking or saying. It’s about making sure the negative shadow isn’t cast over what you are trying to do. Damn, it’s hard, but it’s worth it too. Keep that mindset of “I will keep trying” wears you down, but in the end, it’s the right thing to do.

4. “Verbalize Your Thanks.”

How many times have we seen something that deserves a thank you, and missed the chance to do so? How many times have we watched our students do the same thing? As we think about how about being thankful, how many times are we verbalizing that thanks? It’s one thing to feel it, it’s another to put it into words.

5. “Personalize Your Thankful Attitude by Using the Other Person’s Name.”

I’ve say this to my students all the time. Look someone in the eye when you say thank you and tell them why you are thankful! Don’t just mumble something under your breath, don’t be insincere about it, and above all, don’t just ignore being thankful. People love it when you use their name, and they love hearing thank you. It makes them feel good about doing something for you and you’ll see it in their eyes.

It’s been a brutal year. Cancer, a stroke, a daughter moving to college, and another is very challenging. However, I can see there are good things happening and it helps to keep me falling into the abyss. My wife is my rock, daughters make me proud, my team keeps me in line, and my students are second to none.

Keep focused on the positive. It’s hard, it’s exhausting, and sometimes, it’s easier to just focus on the negative things around us. But when you are thankful, truly thankful, those little things can help brighten your day, if only for a moment.

And sometimes, that moment is all you need.