That Little Extra

little-extra

You never know when that little extra effort could really pay off, whether it’s because it will positively impact you or someone else.  Success often comes to those who are willing to put in a little bit more time and energy towards their goals.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, but sometimes a little conscious effort to think positively can get you over the hump.  Perhaps a few extra minutes spent doing something like exercising would be good for you, or taking the time to call or message a friend might put you in a better mood.

There are numerous situations that come to mind where it would be so helpful or just plain nice if someone made a little extra effort rather than just doing the bare minimum.  For example, it doesn’t take THAT much effort to push a shopping cart all the way in the cart return and put it in the correct row along with the other ones of the same size and push them together.  It would keep the cart return from filling up so quickly and cut down on shopping cart dings and unavailable parking spaces. Speaking of parking spaces, I wish everyone took a little extra time to make sure they were parking in only one spot and straight. A little bit more order goes a long way.

My kids do a reasonable job clearing their empty bowls and cups off the table and even rinse them out, but then they leave them on the counter.  Apparently, it’s very scary for my teenagers to open the dishwasher, but if they did take that extra step of putting the item in there, that would be much appreciated. I can think of countless other examples like this where a little bit more effort on a few people’s parts would make a lot less work for someone else.

Then there are things like making a little more effort to be pleasant towards anyone you encounter throughout the day.  Just making a conscious effort to smile would be an improvement for some people.  Recently, I had a store clerk ask how my day was going so far, as if she was very interested.  It was a nice change of pace from the often meaningless, “How are you?” It was a very small thing that significantly improved my mood for the afternoon, so I really appreciated her asking.  If everyone made more of an effort to be kind to others, even in the smallest way, I think that would make a big difference.  Giving someone you know a random hug, asking if there is anything you can do to help them, or telling someone you have been thinking about them or appreciate them are all small things that can have a big impact on someone else.

What little extra thing are you going to try to do more often?

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Optimism

optimism 3

It can be very challenging at times to be optimistic and positive, but it really can make a difference. Certainly, life throws us plenty of curve balls that get us feeling sad, angry, hurt, disrespected, disappointed, frustrated, and what have you, and it’s OK to feel all of those things.  What’s not good is to dwell on those negative feelings for too long, which is often easier said than done.

Not only is it not good for us physically to hold on to all that negativity, but it’s all too easy to let it affect other relationships and other aspects of our life.  Negativity at work can spill over into our home life and vice versa.  Anger towards our spouse can be deflected onto our kids.  Our view of ourselves and our success or productivity can be affected, too.  It’s very easy to fall into a rut of negativity, being critical of others, looking for things to go wrong, etc.  It does take conscious effort to be positive and optimistic when everything seems to be falling apart, but it can be done, and it definitely helps.  The power of positive thinking can be very strong.

Stopping to think about things for which you can be grateful is a good start, even if it is something small.  Coincidentally, I just bought a new wall hanging that has one of my favorite quotes on it … “There is always always always something to be thankful for.” For a while when I was in a pretty bad rut, before going to bed every night was writing down in a notebook at least one thing I was grateful for and one positive thing that happened that day.  It definitely helped.  Channeling any positive energy this might bring about can also help, especially if you can put it towards either doing something that makes you feel good (singing in the car always works for me) or doing something that would make someone else feel good (a random act of kindness, for example), which will in turn help you feel better.  Even smiling and laughing more can trick your brain in to feeling better.  Your brain will react the same way, even if you are fake laughing or just smiling for no reason whatsoever.  So don’t be afraid to give that a try. Finding ways to distress and let go of all the negative energy will certainly help as well.

Some people are naturally more optimistic than others, and I often wonder if they have a more positive outlook on life because things seem to be going well for them most of the time, or are things good for them BECAUSE they are so positive and optimistic.  Perhaps they become a magnet for attracting positive things and other positive people.  It can’t be just luck or coincidence.  I’m sure part of it is not waiting around for other people to make positive things happen and make them happy. They (we) try to be proactive not only with positive thinking but also in our actions, whether things are going well or not, maybe not all the time but as often as we can. It IS challenging at times, but it’s worth the effort.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.