Accountability is perceived as such a serious topic, yet it doesn’t have to be. It begins with intention and you can choose the quality of your life as easily as picking a clear intention.
I have to admit, that most of my life has been driven to succeed. I have looked at life with the desire to accomplish my goals. And, if there was an obstacle in my way, I was determined to overcome that obstacle. Sounds like a great formula for success right? Well, there was a fatal flaw that I recently discovered. I had such a mindset around success, everything became about driving for success and removing obstacles.
If I was going to an appointment, it didn’t matter that I left with plenty of time to get there. The race began – not consciously. I would see if I could get to the next traffic light before the other cars. If there was the least bit of traffic, I would race to find another alternate route, sometimes taking even longer to get there, just for the chance to outsmart the traffic (obstacle) around me. I would careful see the number of cars ahead of me, and plan my strategy of weaving in and out of traffic to get to my appointment even sooner than planned. You see, I believed like so many that it is important to “exceed” expectations.
Of course, as you might have figured out faster than I did, I wasn’t experiencing life, I was racing through life, adding stress along the way, but enjoying my addiction to the stimulus it created. Enough! I am getting too old to miss out on the experience in life for a race I can’t possibly win. So, I made the change.
My new intention: Laugh my way to success. That’s right. Find the humor in all that takes place rather than look life as a series of wins, losses and opportunities for improvement. Last Friday, I was traveling from Monterrey Mexico to Los Angeles with a stop in Houston. I had to run in order to get from customs to my gate, which I discovered on my path was two terminals away. Normally, this would stress me out and cause me to be upset with the airport for not having a tram to get me there faster. But this time, I thought to myself, I do not have a chance to exercise this morning, why not use this as my exercise time. So, with luggage in hand, I walked as fast as I could through the airport, smiling all the way knowing this was going to count as my exercise. Of course, I might have been smiling as I realized I looked as ridiculous as the Olympic walking racers I see televised every four years wondering how walking became an Olympic sport.
I arrive at my gate, as the plane was being boarded. Dilemma, I am sweating from my speed walking adventure. Yuck. But, instead of complaining about my situation, I decided to cooperate with it and as I was in the ramp filled with people, I found myself under the air conditioning vent that was blowing to cool me down. Divine intervention for sure!
Once on the plane, I heard an announcement to try and explain why the airplane was so stuffy and hot. It was a mechanical problem and the plane wouldn’t cool down until the engines were turned on. You see, as a mechanical problem, it isn’t there fault. However, if they would have said, we don’t want to spend the money in gas to turn on the air conditioning so you, the customer, could actually be comfortable on the plane.
Instead, we all sat, dripping sweat and feeling miserable, and justifiably so. But, wait! What about my intention to laugh my way to success? And, in less than a minute, I had myself and the people around my laughing at our situation. The situation of being on this overly hot plane was so ridiculous why not laugh at it. So, when the announcement came to turn off all of our electric phones and computers, I shouted out, “Let’s make a deal – I will turn off my electricity, when you turn on your engines.” Then, it occurred to me, “Are you going to charge us extra for including a sauna with every flight?” Now we were all beginning to have fun with this most uncomfortable situation. Someone, raised their window shade to see what was going on, since we were not at departure time, everyone was seated politely praying that the engines would start soon as we were melting in our seats. I let him know that even with the window open, he wasn’t going to get a tan.
As I was relaxed and laughing at the many ways in which this was funny, I realized that my intention was working. I wasn’t stressed, frustrated or even angry at my situation. I was having fun.
- What is your operating intention – the intention that drives your everyday attitude and behavior?
- Is your intention conditional or present – meaning, does your intention mean that you are waiting until you are successful to be happy, or waiting to lose weight to feel good about yourself? My original intention of driving for success, caused me to rush through life rather than enjoy life. I just assumed that I would enjoy life after I reached my ideal success. But, that bar kept changing and so enjoyment became further and further away.
- Is your intention practical enough to guide your quality of life in each moment?
- How committed are you to your intention? You can only say 100% committed if you are living your intention. Most people think intentions are about the future, but really it is about now. Begin having your ideal life now, based on your positive intention for yourself.
In the meantime, I going to keep laughing and having fun for the rest of my flight.
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