While taking hundreds of flights throughout my life only once has my luggage gotten lost and that was on my honeymoon (fortunately, it wasn’t a sign of things to come)! The second time occurred just last week. After speaking at a prestigious prep school in the Washington D.C. area, I was traveling to Charlotte, NC to speak at a large high school in that city.
After waiting about 45 minutes at the baggage claim carousel (20-25 minutes after the other passengers had gotten their luggage) a customer service agent came and collected the only two bags left on the conveyor belt. He then took me to the office to file a lost luggage claim form.
Without my luggage, I had no clothes for my upcoming presentation. I know, I know … I shouldn’t have checked my bags but that is a story for another day.
Anyway, as I waited, a gentleman from my flight came to the office and was furious that the employee had collected his two bags. He had some choice words and made it clear he was unhappy that his bags had been taken from the conveyor belt. I almost made a snide remark in his direction but then wisely decided against it. At least he had his luggage! Seriously, what was he doing for the last 45 minutes? Wouldn’t he have been madder if the employee hadn’t collected his luggage and it had gotten stolen (which happens more than you think)?
His impatience caused me to quickly do an attitude adjustment toward the unfortunate circumstance I found myself in.
Think about how we go through life sometimes. It seems that we often use our energy on negativity or get frustrated about little things. Minor inconveniences seem to set us off. We get mad at the red traffic lights but don’t appreciate the green lights. When we leave the house late we get mad at other drivers on the road. But when we have plenty of time, traffic doesn’t seem to bother us.
Maybe the great philosopher, thought-leader, and literary scholar – Captain Jack Sparrow – was right when he said, “The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is your attitude toward the problem.”
We can’t always control the situation we find ourselves in, but we can always control our attitudes toward those situations. When we are faced with challenging circumstances (or people) remember that success (and our attitudes) are a choice. What choice will we make today?