Updated: May 26, 2020
It happens to me often - I get stuck in a mindset and I can’t seem to change it.
Imagine you’re driving a train, stuck on the same track. You’re supposed to turn right and curve around the mountain but the railway switch is stuck. You know that if you keep following this track it’s going to lead you to danger and you don’t want to imagine how big the explosion will be.
That’s what it’s like for me, quite often actually. I see things a certain way and it’s almost as if I fixate on it. More often than not, it seems to be negative. Anger, frustration, sadness. Something happens and seeming to miss the you’re-going-the-wrong-way!! sign, I end up in the explosion zone.
Yesterday it was the camera. I was on a mission to film Francisco’s students as they created their robots. He’s in Mexico City so we thought it would be good if I went to his work to help out while he is gone. Just to put this into perspective - I usually arrive to his work with a pretty negative attitude because I’m never my most productive. Between the excited, loud talking students and the lack of consistent WiFi, I find it really easy to end up in the explosion zone, especially when things don’t work out my way. So I arrive in the rain to Robotics. It’s 3:20pm and the kids don’t come for another 40 minutes. I pull out the camera to practice angles and shots when the bright red battery flashes at me. “Battery Low”.
So there I go, driving my train down to Explosion-Ville. Why would I be sent on this mission with a dead battery? Why wasn’t the charger put back in the bag where it was supposed to be? What a waste of my time - what am I going to do now? Crash. I’ve arrived, charged with anger and frustration. And believe me, I know it’s not a big deal. But for me in that moment it was.
I’m sure you’ve been there before. It’s kind of like how one bad thing in our day makes the whole day bad. Or how there is absolutely no way in the world we could ever see why another person would talk to us with such foul language. Or the neighbor kids are screaming all night long. We think about these things over and over and over with a filter of negativity.
Lucky for us, even when the railway switch is jammed and we are headed on the wrong path, Superman will come along and pick up the entire train and put it on another track. Our whole day isn’t ruined by one act. We don’t know what caused the other person to act out in such a way. We haven’t checked to see if our neighbors need help to make sure their kids are OK. Usually what we tend to do is get stuck in our own minds; thinking about ourselves and not seeking to understand another perspective.
The good thing is that Superman shows up in a bunch of different forms. Lucky for me, my boyfriend is my Superman, pointing out other perspectives or recognizing the many positives from the single negative. Sometimes I’ll call him and say, I need you to help me see this differently because I’m stuck. Superman can be a quote, a song, a conversation with a friend, a deep breath, a hot bath, yoga, meditation, painting, exercise. Sometimes I can do it on my own, and sometimes I need to see a situation through someone else’s eyes.
It took me the whole class yesterday to get out of the explosion-zone. After nearly 4 hours of positive self encouragement laced with negative self talk, I worked through it. I was my own superman. Now you have time to work on your online course. Why wasn’t the stupid charger put away. It’s OK, now you can write your blog. Today sucks. It doesn’t matter, now you can interact with the students. I can’t wait to get out of here. They will really appreciate if I organize the Lego pieces. It took 4 hours to get my track on the right track, but that’s fine because maybe next time it will only take 3.5.
What I’m trying to say through all of this is that our train track switch is a change in mindset. A change in perspective. A paradigm shift. It can change the way we see the world and help us take control of our emotions.
Friends, remember this. Anytime you need to drive that train on another track, anytime you can only see through your own eyes, anytime you need a shift in mindset, I will be your Superman.