Every morning when I wake up, I make the bed. I don’t really have that many household morning chores other than letting the dog out and feeding all the pets so a few years ago I took it upon myself to start making the bed. I don’t particularly like doing it but who likes going to bed in the evening in an unmade bed?
Animals, that’s who.
I know none of this is particularly interesting – I’m a grown man and I make the bed, I’m sure there are loads of men who do that each morning [eyeroll]. At any rate, I told you that so that this next part has some context.
We replace our pillows several times a year – not because I am a germaphobe (even though pillows get nasty) – because they get too soft and squishy. As I was making the bed the other day, I was complaining out loud “Our pillows are terrible!“.
Bob: These pillows are terrible!
Michelle: We can go get some more this coming weekend.
Bob: It seems like we just got these – why do they get so bad so quickly? I don’t ever remember getting a new pillow when I was a kid. It’s like you got your big boy bed when you were 3 years old, it came with a pillow, and that was your pillow until you graduated from college.
Bob: Well, maybe it didn’t quite happen just like that, but if I got a new pillow as a kid, I don’t remember it.
Yes … it is entirely possible that I had 1 pillow as a child. Maybe I got a new one when our house caught fire when I was in the 8th grade, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that despite losing just about every single item in my room, my pillow was spared.
… of course it was spared.
That got me thinking about dealing with problems and the state of mind required to deal with and solve problems (pillows will do that to a person). Now that I am responsible for myself, if I have a crummy pillow, I just go to the store and get a new one. Other than my complaining, there isn’t really a lot that goes into it. Need a new pillow, go get a new pillow. BOOM Problem solved.
So what does this have to do with anything? It has to do with your state of mind on EVERYTHING!
Let me spell it out. When I was a kid, I had a crummy pillow for years but since I had no means or the where-with-all to solve that problem, I either didn’t:
A) see it as a problem, and/or
B) didn’t have “new pillow” money
C) Couldn’t drive myself to the “pillow store”
Due to A, B, and possibly C, I had the kind of pillow even Turkish prisoners wouldn’t want.
“…empower people to believe that they can do more than they think they can.”
If you think that you can’t be a part of the solution, you never will be. In fact – and possibly even worse – you stop seeing the problems. I see evidence of this sort of thinking in my office from time to time and it is one of the things I attempt to combat most vigorously – to empower people to believe that they can do more than they think they can. Rather than work completely within your sphere of knowledge and influence, start thinking that you can do anything and go anywhere and before you know it, you can go anywhere and do anything. At least you’re willing to try, and that’s really the victory.
I have a small architectural firm and have spent the majority of my professional career working in small firms. I have never had the luxury of having an army of experienced individuals surrounding me when I ran into a problem I didn’t know how to solve. By that same extension, I also didn’t have a bunch of people surrounding me telling me what I can or can’t do either.
So, thanks to my crummy pillows for giving me something to think about other than just how crummy they really are.