Strangely, I have had cause to tell this analogy three times in the last two days, so I thought it was a ‘tap on the shoulder’ to share it more widely.
The Tragedy of Yesterday
Yesterday, a young musical artist (rapper) named XXXTentacion (Jahseh Onfroy) was shot and killed. My daughter brought him to my attention and was following the news of this tragedy, looking through his life, watching how he changed, feeling sorrowful for the man he was becoming. It was interesting to see how she would speak about how he had come from a troubled background, the things he had done and had done to him. Then she would explain how he was making a huge difference to the world by changing himself. Yesterday she was touched by the public outpouring of grief of loss. This morning she came out angry, because of the haters online.
We all know of haters in our world. They don’t trust, don’t love, don’t say positive things, and are usually looking for the worst in any situation. This is what my daughter started reading this morning and it is no way to start a day. In fact, it was encouraging her to witness more of the same, because it was giving people permission to speak more of the same. (Like begets like). So I told her my “red-light analogy”.
When I drive around town I realize there are two states I can be in. The red-light state or the green-light state. When I am in the red-light state, I see red lights at every intersection. I feel like someone is purposefully trying to make me late. Maybe Kharma is working against me today. I feel impatient and the cars around me seem to be filled with aggressive, stupid drivers. When I arrive at my destination I am angry and frustrated. Even if I’m not late, I will apologize and then rant about my terrible experience with all the red lights.
On days when I get a lot of green lights, I feel like I have done something right. Someone out there is rewarding me for the good things I do in life. Somehow I deserved the green lights. This is also not a green-light day as it assumes that we have no control over how we feel about what we experience. As if it was because someone else gave us a gift of green lights that we can now feel good about our journey.
On green-light days I choose to acknowledge the green lights I see with a smile. I don’t think of them as good or bad, just as an experience of traffic. I choose not to acknowledge the red lights at all. I simply stop because that is what is required of me. I am grateful for the opportunity to drive, for a place to go, transportation to get me there, and for people to meet. Life is about the journey so focusing on what you have and what you are grateful for makes it easier to soften the experiences that make us feel hurt or angry. On green-light days, I get to my destination and think, I don’t remember hitting any red lights today. Hmmmm. Of course, there are no less red lights on my drive than there had been in the past. I just don’t focus on them and that delivers me to my destination in a mood to laugh, share, engage, think, and connect with people that can make a difference in my life and business.
Green-Light Days in Business
If you often find yourself focused on what other people are doing, thinking and saying, about the politics, world economies, the dollar, the leaders, the by-laws, the taxes, etc. you may be feeling discouraged, doubtful, negative, pessimistic, overcome with emotions, overwhelmed by the negative possibilities, unsure of your own future, and helpless, then you are likely focusing on the red lights instead of the green. In this mental state, you cannot focus on growth goals, finding solutions, making powerful connections and partnerships, or building for the future, because your brain is telling you it is a hopeless venture. You have to get your brain on board the green-light route.
When you focus on the people that are doing what you want to do and that are spreading the message that it is possible, you start to see more and more people that are living in a positive light, doing amazing things that support a happy life for themselves or for their family, community, country, and the world. When you train your brain to look for the best things, it sees more of the best things. It is not that the negative things disappear, or that you become ignorant to the challenges of the world, it is just the opposite. You become stronger and more competent at what you do. Your business becomes more sustainable. A world full of competent, positive people running sustainable businesses creates more for everyone.
Honestly, it takes each person the commitment to lead a positive life for themselves that will build a world full of positive and powerful change. Applied to your business, this powerful, positive perspective allows you to attract the resources you need, like people that can help you get to where you want to go.