When life gives you trash, make music.
Perhaps you’ve heard the proverbial phrase…”When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” While some might interpret this as a simple message of optimism, I see it as so much more than that. For me, it’s a reminder of the most powerful freedom each of us received at birth; the power to choose. More specifically, the power to choose the way we “SEE” the world. Let me explain.
A fundamental component of my leadership program, Lenses of Leadership, is the notion of a lens and its subsequent impact on everything we feel (emotions) and do (behavior). Unlike an optometrist who prescribes various lenses that are designed to improve one’s eyesight, my goal is to encourage students to exercise the freedom to transform their own “mindsight” To be mind doctors, if you will. Simply put, our mindsight is the function of the brain that allows us to think about, or interpret, the world around us. So, much like the lens of an eyeglass would change “what” we see, the lenses in our mind allow us to change “how” we see things.
One such lens is what I refer to as the “owner” lens. A mantra I share with my students to help them understand the nature of this lens is…”I am the driver of my life.” In other words, regardless of the circumstances I’m surrounded with (road conditions), I have the power to choose my interpretation of each circumstance (driver). Therefore, my “owner” lens affords me the opportunity to accept and embrace “what is”. Rather than spending an inordinate amount of time complaining about “what is” or seeking to find another person to blame, my owner lens gives me access to my creative thinking abilities, which in turn leads to a more active role in seeking a solution.
This past week, I shared a very compelling video with my leadership students, which serves as a tremendous example of the power of the “owner” lens. Rather than using lemons to make lemonade, this remarkable group of individuals live according to the following proverb…”When life gives you trash, make music.”