Would you be happier elsewhere?
This is almost universal, that some people love their town or city, and others hate it. It’s generally not about the location, but attitude. There will always be somewhere nicer, cooler, warmer, safer. In the safest cities in the world, there’s heartbreak, and in the poorest countries, there are smiles and gratitude. Our attitude is what colours our experiences. And it’s something we can choose.
The following article is one I wrote for our local community, in Dubbo Weekender, and I’ve since been discussing these thoughts and noticing attitudes (positive and negative) in the two very different countries I’ve visited since writing, plus global conversations online. I hope the following inspires you to see the best in your community.
People are inspiring; sometimes, in big, unmistakable ways, and often in small, but significant ways.
Those who make good things happen often do so with little fanfare, and that’s how they wish it to be. Many others would agree, and say “rightly so. They’re just doing what needs to be done. It’s not hard to be helpful, kind and honest.”
However, I’d like to encourage a little more fanfare, more celebrating of good things happening because of kind people – and for a very good reason. The dark and dreadful news gets too much airplay, simply because the human brain is fascinated by and attracted to drama, but when we focus on good news, hope increases.
Happiness is contagious
Hope inspires, and recharges our energy – then more good things happen. Hope is contagious. As is Happiness. So is negativity, so choose what you’d rather infect people with, and be affected by. We’re surrounded by positivity and good news; so let’s put a spotlight on it.
It’s so easy to miss good news in the everyday, just as you could miss an edition of Weekender if you’re away for a few days, or have a particularly big week.
One amazing thing I’d been unaware of until recently is the number of trucks driving through here with volunteer drivers, taking donated hay to drought affected farmers in Queensland. My dad was one of those drivers a month or so back, and I didn’t give it much thought, as it was ‘nothing new’. I have many childhood memories of Dad loading up his truck from his hay shed and driving it to Cobar, Melbourne and other places after fires had destroyed everything, and Nyngan after extreme flooding. It’s just something he did. And then a few weeks later, my brother took time off work to drive one of these trucks. That’s when I learned it was a much bigger, well-organised operation with hundreds of people involved, making an incredible difference.
(If you missed this amazing series of events too, search for ‘Burrumbuttock Hay Runners’ on Facebook or Google)
This is what people do when they see others in need. Especially people who’ve known hard times. Someone helped them, and they’re keen to do what they can for someone else. And they love it. Even if it’s been the hardest days (or weeks) work they’ve ever done, there’s a sense of accomplishment, pride and gratitude that lingers longer than any sore muscles.
Another good reason to celebrate and acknowledge good news is that it sets an example – A ‘new normal’. It also inspires more positive change. We have a choice to lean toward positivity in so many moments throughout our day.
I witnessed a road rage moment in Sydney recently, when a Toyota driver ahead of us misjudged a corner, and slowed the traffic by a little reversing to straighten up. The nearby BMW driver had no patience for this and wasn’t going to let Mr Toyota off the hook. In stop-start traffic, Mr BMW drove up beside Mr Toyota and shouted, arms waving, through his drivers window. Not satisfied with this, he then let the other driver move ahead, then raced up to the other side of the car, so he could rant out of his passenger window at the driver of the Toyota. This happened several times, driving ahead, dropping back, changing lanes and ranting at every opportunity. It was ridiculous, and dangerous to other cars on the road. My friend who was driving asked me to video the scene, and hoping that the BMW driver would notice and pull his head in. This eventually happened, either because he’d finally vented enough, or because he saw a camera held out the window of the car behind him.
Happiness is your choice.
What a way to start the day! If he could let it go, and find something more positive to focus on than another drivers mistake, he could have enjoyed his morning more.
A friend described her moment of choice in this kind of situation “I don’t want to get lost in possible indignation when there is a flow of blessings to stay in.”
There’s often an opportunity for indignation – but do you really want to take it?
One could be annoyed about the number of trucks driving through Dubbo, not knowing the drivers, or their kindness. We don’t know someone else’s story.
Our community is blessed with many generous souls who make Dubbo the friendly, welcoming place it is, and I trust you’ll notice them this week, and maybe give them a thumbs up, a smile and a thank you. And maybe you’ll recognise the difference your smile makes, and shine your light a little more.
Cheering you on,