A Lagos Street on a rainy day. Photo courtesy bellanaija.com
A Lagos Street on a rainy day. Photo courtesy bellanaija.com

This morning, it’s raining cats, dogs and other animals in Lagos! As I make my way to work, I am convinced that part of the advert for my car should say amphibious vehicle because truly the vehicle swims! It has to, it’s either it does or I do- in muddy, dirty, debris-filled water!

Anyhow, as I looked around me and heard the down pour of rain– which started at 6 a.m., just as I was getting ready to get out of the house; my first thought was “oh, shoot!” I imagined how the rain will affect traffic, how it means my one and half hour commute will become 2 and half or more, because drivers in Lagos seem to forget the outlines of the roads they drive every day, once a little water covers it (rolling my eyes). I imagined that my already freezing office will become frozen over and since it hadn’t started to rain when I got dressed, I was not prepared for winter! To go back and change will mean that my two and half hour fear will become my reality because somehow, the later you stay the more traffic there is!

As you can see, I was working it! Taking my environment and magnifying it! Interpreting the day’s “happenings” through the very lens I did not want to see it from! And I saw how we often fulfill our fears! I would have despaired, it would have then made me indecisive- afraid of getting into the rain, or just slowed me down because those thoughts do nothing if not drain you of energy…

Anyhow, as I thought all of this, the little angel on my right shoulder said “snap out of it! Don’t you call yourself the weather-maker?” And I smiled! Because truly, I say that all the time, I am a weather-maker! I make my own weather! The rain falls, yes it increases traffic but that increases snuggle time in the car with my little one! I don’t have to be late if I leave now, and as I write this in my car, I think I might just get there in time. I remind myself that because I do not want to yo-yo: be sad because it rained, be flustered because it’s too hot, be angry because Lagos is being Lagos, then, I have to control my response! Because you know that Event + Response= Outcome, right? So if I respond badly to the events of this morning, then it creates my outcome- BAD DAY! But I refuse to be a bad day type of person! What if it’s my last day? Will I be okay with having a bad last day?

So as I turn the corner into the street of my office, I take control of my physiology; straighten my shoulders, smile, tell myself, it’s going to be a fantastic, highly productive day- I reflect about how I’ve already written an entire blog post during my commute and I feel absolutely satisfied! When I am greeted and asked how are you doing? I shall respond “excellent”, why? Because, “we do not sing because we are happy, we are happy because we sing!” Do you understand that? You choose how you feel by overwriting the negative with the behavior you would normally exhibit if you felt positive and your body follows suit. Before you know it, you are gloriously annoyingly happy and optimistic/expectant of the beautiful day you are going to have! I am exactly in this state as my car gets to the gate of the office! Peak state and rearing to go! LOL! I can imagine how infuriating it must be to my colleagues, they must be thinking “is she from Mars? Cant she see the rain?!” I’m practically singing the “good mornings” as I get in!

Ciao people! Don’t forget to be awesome! You have only one life and it is what you make of it! And please don’t think up excuses to negate that- ask Oprah (repeatedly abused) ask Joyce Meyer (repeatedly raped by her father), ask Tony Robbins (homeless and suicidal), ask Dani Johnson (homeless, suicidal, defrauded, abused, now multi-millionaire success coach), ask any major success story, adversity is a great platform from which to do great things, it’s the dissatisfaction that causes you to act! On an unrelated note, I wonder when Nigerians will be dissatisfied enough to demand for change in a sustainable, effective and intelligent manner! When the pain of not acting will become more than the pain of acting and setting things right, starting with your space! (You know I just had to throw that in!). Enjoy today!

P.S

I found this fantastic TED Talk on the subject of physiology and its effect on your emotions and performance (yep! even how it helps in stressful situations like job interviews) watch it at   http://video.ted.com/talk/podcast/2012G/None/AmyCuddy_2012G.mp4 . You are welcome!

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