Bonjour Royal Friends!
Welcome to my ‘tongue-in-chic’ life, style, and happiness blog from a funny princess point of view!
Today I’d like to talk to you about how small shifts in perspective can promote big changes to boost happiness. I learned this principle from my experience with breast cancer, and I continue to learn it from the world around me, including from the journey of a little baby goose.
I had one of the biggest, life-changing shifts in thinking when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was wallowing in fear, not knowing how to handle the trauma facing me. I didn’t know how to quiet my racing, run-away thoughts of despair and sorrow. I knew I had to figure out a way to handle these ruminating thoughts or I was going to be one unhappy princess camper.
I heard a voice deep down inside that shifted my perspective from focusing on the ways I was tripping over my fear to focusing on finding ways to stoke my happiness. The voice said, “If I let cancer steal my joy, then I’ve died while I’m still alive.”
Of course! That’s it! I didn’t want to die while I was still alive. But if I let sorrow be the headspace that I stayed in, if I let my happiness, my positivity, my optimism mojo die, that was exactly what would happen to me. I’d be among the living, walking, dead. Not my style.
That small shift in thinking made a huge difference in my happiness quotient and my ability to manage the challenges of my breast cancer journey. Now to the story of the gosling.
One day on a walk around my neighborhood, I noticed a mother and father goose and their little baby goslings walking in a line together down a street. The street ended in a cul de sac that abutted a large lawn that funneled out to a lake.
The mom and dad geese were headed down the street, waddling in a feathered conga line. Assuredly, the crew was on their way to the lake. When the geese arrived at the end of the street, mom and dad hopped up the curb onto the lawn. One by one their fuzzy little babies hopped up and over the curb and continued in a line behind their parents.
Unfortunately, neither the mom nor dad looked back at any time to check on everyone. Negligence, apparently, is not confined to human parents. This lack of attentiveness to their kiddies was a grave mistake. Neither of them noticed that one of their babies was in big trouble.
The baby at the caboose of the heretofore happy conga line couldn’t jump up and over the curb. Try as it might, it kept falling back. As it continued to try, Mr. and Mrs. Goose and their family-minus-one was getting farther and farther away.
It broke my heart to see this sweet, innocent little fuzzball franticly and repeatedly try to hop up over the curb. Hop up. Fall back. Hop up. Fall back. No matter how hard it tried, it couldn’t master the mountain. The stakes were high. If it failed, it probably wouldn’t survive.
I couldn’t help but think of the quote about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Meanwhile this unhappy little chick’s family was getting farther and farther ahead down the lawn as they marched in line toward the lake.
I was slayed by the plight of this left-behind gosling as it persisted in struggling to get to its family. I didn’t know the right thing to do. I wanted to scoop up the little chick in my hand and help it over the curb. If I did, would I leave a human scent on it that would make the parents reject it? Would I be interfering with Darwinian principles of survival of the fittest?
I made my decision. I was about to swoop in, place the baby in the palm of my hand and place it on the lawn. That’s when a I witnessed a miracle. The chick had a shift in perspective.
I saw the little thing stop focusing on the curb and suddenly turn its head to the right. It was clearly and unmistakably searching for options. It surely wasn’t insane.
As soon as it turned its head, the answer to its plight became obvious. Only a few feet down from where it was standing was a driveway… with a flat area… that had no curb! Hallelujah! No jumping necessary.
With all the energy left in its little body the gosling waddled those few feet to the driveway entrance and ran down it at full tilt speed as fast as its little feet could go. Halfway down the driveway it calculated that if it cut a swath across the lawn in a sideways vector, it had a chance to meet up with its family before they got to the lake.
Luckily, the little gosling did reunite with its family and they all went on their merry way to the lake!
I couldn’t believe the brilliance of this little chic! And I realized the small shift in its little head (and big brain) was what enabled it to see its situation differently and make a new decision which led to its survival. If it had been stuck in same-minded thinking, the “insanity” of trying to jump the curb, it would never have made it to the lake with its family. Small shift in thinking, radical change in the situation.
The driveway option, the solution to its plight, was there all along, but was obscured because the chick was only looking in one direction, straight ahead at the curb. Its behavior was fear-driven and the fear obscured other options. Such is life. But it doesn’t have to be.
I invite you to create a habit of looking at challenges from a different angle to solve them. Sometimes just a small shift in your thinking can produce radical results. Look for that shift. It’s your problem-solving portal. If a baby goose can do it, heck if I can do it…you can too.
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Bisous & Tra la la!
Bonjour! I’m Princess Diane Von Brainisfried™
Motivational Speaker. Certified Life Coach. Award-Winning Writer. Breast Cancer Survivor. Offering seminars and coaching using humor to inspire happiness.
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