My chosen form of regular exercise is swimming, and most weeks you’ll find me in the pool 2 – 3 mornings.
This last week I was doing my regular swim when I noticed the water in the pool was very cloudy. How cloudy? The line on the bottom of the pool that tells me that the wall is coming up was hard to see!
Once I noticed that, I realized the pool had been cloudy frequently. In fact, it’s been getting worse for several months!
Now I was starting to get angry, and in my head, I started writing a stern note about the importance of pool cleanliness that I planned to send to the gym’s GM.
When I got out of the pool, I stood on the edge and verified that even standing on the pool deck, you could see how cloudy the water was – unacceptable!
When I got into the locker room, I decided to wash off my goggles to get rid of all that cloudy water. Oh my, that cloudy pool water had made my goggles dirty! Washing them made a huge difference.
Maybe you’ve caught my fundamental error, but I hadn’t. So it was with great surprise that I got into the pool for my next swim and found the water had cleared entirely. I didn’t need to send the GM that indignant note – I had cleared the dirty water with my mind!
The power of a good story
You see, I had convinced myself that the water was cloudy. It never occurred to me that my goggles were dirty. Instead, I blamed the dirty water when I saw how dirty the lenses were.
Unfortunately, this problem extends beyond swimming goggles.
- When I decide my neighbor is unfriendly, I interpret every interaction with them from that frame, and respond in kind.
- If I believe a team member isn’t a “hard worker,” I see evidence of their laziness everywhere.
- I hear stories on the news about how terrible the economy is, and I blame my next 3 failed proposals on the “terrible economy.”
Where do you need to “wash your goggles?” Are there stories you are telling yourself about your own behavior or the people around you that might not be true? How can you stop and question the underlying assumptions that you are living with?
If you can clean all that gunk away, you can see much more clearly.