Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

IMG_0936Rushing around trying to cram Christmas shopping into an already busy schedule adds to everyone’s stress level at this time of the year. It’s a hackneyed statement that couldn’t be more true. It seems we are all bit actors in a bad Holiday Movie; interactions in department stores have been scripted by Seth McFarland. There are the surly shoppers and the snarky salespeople. Cliched one-line zingers zip back and forth; it is hard not to laugh at the dark comedy playing out in front of me.

Yes, it brings out the worst in people. But it also brings out the best.

I can just hear my father singing a fragment of a song: You have to Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative. I am sure there is a whole rest-of-the-song to back this line up –it is probably from the World War II era– but I can’t remember it. I don’t even remember my father ever singing the rest of it. Just that line.

It has become my mantra: that phrase plays over and over again in my head as I encounter various people during my day. Its like the short story One Ordinary Day with Peanuts, life contains both good and bad, concentrating on the good is a choice. It is very easy to focus on all the people you meet in the course of a day who are NOT doing their job well, or even at all. Clerks in stores, company representatives on the phone, people who work for big institutions, everyone in a service industry for that matter. (I asked for no cheese!)

But this week I chose to focus on the few stars who did their job right. Some even well: an insurance company representative who actually answered all my questions and did not transfer me back into the holding queue; a salesperson who laughed and was so efficient the line visibly diminished in minutes; the postal worker who smiled in spite of the long line; a waitress who got all the orders right, quickly and still had time to be personable and sincerely friendly. IMG_0962When you look for it, there are a lot of people quietly excelling at the job they have chosen to do. Now that’s the Holiday Spirit!

Catch someone doing their job well today. It will bring you some of the wonder and joy of the Holiday Season.

© Jane F. Collen December 19, 2015

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