I was a fairly negative person until I was 23.
People did shitty things and it felt as though life was happening to me, not for me. I blamed others—or, even more vaguely, “society”—for my shortcomings.
It couldn’t have possibly been my lack of work ethic or my non-existent skills. No, clearly the universe was out to get me.
A big part of changing those thoughts was actually brought on by starting this blog.
For two and a half years, I’ve been typing my thoughts out every morning at this desk. The big fear I had when starting was that I would quickly run out of things to write about. I mean, a fresh blog every day? How interesting do I think my life is?
It turns out, our lives are quite fascinating…if we allow them to be. It’s a choice.
We can choose to go through our days as curious observers. I call this the Researcher Mindset. In other words:
Every single conversation, event, or mishap has value. There’s a lesson in everything. If there isn’t, that’s only because we’ve chosen not to look for it.
I’m not a “Everything happens for a reason” guy. I think things just happen…and we have the awesome power to derive meaning and wisdom from those things.
Let’s go through two examples—one small-stakes and one high-stakes.
1) A potential client says No to my business proposal.
No matter how smoothly the process goes up until the sales conversation, I have no control over how a person reacts when I say the dollar amount.
I’ve said a number and had people calmly say, “Oh, that’s it? Cool!” And I’ve said that same number and seen people baffled and think I’m joking.
People have ghosted me, dodged my messages because the money aspect scared them away, and flat-out asked to end communication with me. Needless to say, for a person running a business and trying to help people, this can be wildly frustrating.
In the early days, it was easy to take rejection personally. I would think…
• How could they do this to me?
• People suck.
• I can’t catch a break.
Shockingly, feeling that way and giving off that energy never made anyone change their mind and sign up with me. It just made it harder to be present and loving with the next person I was talking to.
So I began using my Researcher Mindset.
With every proposal conversation, I ask: What did I learn from this? What can I take away from this?
By asking these questions, I’ve improved as a business owner tremendously. People get back to me quicker, they’re more comfortable negotiating, and things are just clearer in the conversation overall.
2) My mom dies.
I’m well aware that my mother’s passing will be the worst day of my life.
But I actually don’t even have to wait for that day to use the lesson I’ll learn from it. Let me explain.
What I assume will smack me in the face will be the full understanding that no matter how much we care about a person, our time with them is limited. We will all fade.
The lesson here is simple. The only thing we can control is how much we cherish and utilize our time with these people while we have it.
When my mom invites me to something, I say yes. When she tells stories, I listen.
It can be hard at times, sometimes it may feel impossible.
But the most powerful question we can ask on a consistent basis is: How can I use this?
It’ll make us more resilient, more positive, and more appreciative.
it certainly has for me. Be a Researcher.