I once wrote a thank you note to someone who, in turn, replied with a thank you note to me. I had written my note in thankfulness for their performance; we will call that Note A. Their thank you note was to let me know how touched they were by what I had said; let’s call that Note B. I do not really recall exactly what Note A said and I doubt I spent days drafting it. However, their note to me was beautifully written and I was so affected by Note B, I felt I should write a thank you note for it. I suddenly realized that the saga of the thank you notes was starting to sound like the set-up for a Laurel and Hardy joke. Then I recognized that, like faith, such gratitude is supposed to take on a life of its own. The snowball effect of each is what makes them so important.
The first step you should take in beginning a new day or project is to think positively. Negative thinking narrows one’s field of vision. Imagine yourself swimming in the shallow waters of a beautiful ocean resort. Suddenly someone cries “Shark!” You no longer are focused on the rest of the people on the beach but only on getting yourself out of the water. This is a healthy instinct of self-preservation but your focus has also become extremely self-centered.
Recently a great deal of the rhetoric has been about “I”. One person claims to have all the answers while another says they voted to protect themselves. The ego or “I” is the conscious self so it is not unnatural that we would consider it in most things. The problem is that the “I” is not the only living entity on the planet. There is also a “You” and “We”. The word affect is a verb, grammatically speaking, in the English language. Basically it means to have an impact on something or someone. In writing this blog I am hoping to affect your thinking and encourage you to do something positive to benefit all of us, the family of mankind. Since a verb is an action word, to affect something or someone is to bring about change.
Effect is most commonly used as a noun, the result of an action or, as we just discussed, a thought process. While I am encouraging you to affect someone in this series by positive action, the intent is that your actions will create a productive effect or result. “Affect” refers to the doing; “Effect” denotes the end result of that doing or action. Effect also can be defined in another way. It can also mean someone’s personal belongings. This might seem confusing and yes, it can be but I like that effect is both the result and the possession. It encourages us to be accountable for our actions. No one is going to score a perfect rating on our actions. We all make mistakes. This is where thinking positive can keep us from letting past actions become a future death sentence. Thinking positive people also have lower blood pressure and sleep better.
Positive emotions help us to broaden our field of vision and imagine what is possible instead of seeing only the negative and dire outcomes. Maybe yesterday really was the worst day of life. Today really can be the first day of the rest of your life. Take care of yourself and start the day off thinking of possibilities. Share a smile with another and together you will create something extraordinary out of an ordinary facial movement. Maybe you really don’t have time for going to the movies but take the time hurrying on your commute to notice the flowers along your path. A healthy person can accomplish much more than one who is thinking or feeling negative. We all have time for a smile and the first smile of the day should be a smile to you.
Living positively benefits the “I” and also the “We”. To make the most of living and do what is best for “You” involves helping another and being grateful for when someone helps you. The time for talk is over. It is now time for action. As Walt Whitman once said, “If you keep your face towards the sunshine, the shadows will fall behind you.” With one ordinary affect, you will create an extraordinary effect.