What I learned from him.
It was a cold spring day in New England.
Cherry-tree flowers hung ripe and fluttering in the chilly breeze, and I watched the wind send their white petals blowing down the sidewalk ahead of me as I walked to my office.
Gray clouds hung low and menacing overhead.
“Why is it so cold out?” I thought grumpily.
As I approached the next block, I heard distant music playing on speakers, and what sounded like someone singing along.
A large, old Victorian house came into view, and along with it, a cheerful house painter perched high up on a ladder, singing “Could You Be Looooooved?” by Bob Marley, at the top of his lungs.
I couldn’t help but break into a wide smile, and as other passerby noticed the music and happy energy emanating from the house, they looked up and smiled, too.
This man was carefully painting the trim on the house white, and he was doing a good job. Best of all, he was upbeat, not self-conscious, and spreading some much–needed warmth on a cold spring day when most New Englanders were walking briskly and brusquely down the street, avoiding eye contact and hurrying to get to their next destination.
I love that this person had a different perspective.
I love that he created his own warmth, and his own joy. On a cold day, I was quickly transported to Jamaica in my mind. I felt the sunshine, sandy beach and blue waters.
He was also doing a good job on his work at the same time. In fact, he was probably more careful, motivated, and productive because he was in a good mood.
I love that his happiness spread down to us on the sidewalk, even if only for a moment.
I was reminded of a great lesson: that miracles happen when we shift our perspective.
I got to my office and instead of feeling grumpy I turned on some reggae music and got down to work — happily.
One last thing…
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Originally published on The Ascent.