For a long time I believed accidents were always going to be in my future. Frequently I’d find myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, once I was stopped at a red light and observed a car crash and another time, while out for a morning jog, a bicyclist wiped out fifty feet in front of me. Why was I a witness to so many painful accidents? Then I had an epiphany, what if I’m actually in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time and the right person with the right skillset to provide assistance? – afterall, I had emergency medical training. I discovered that I’m not alone in this type of forward thinking.

Assess the AreaMy friend Barbara Higgins is a fabulous photographer who captures special moments in a nanosecond. While shooting her Newport Beach Reflections series, she was walking on the pier and saw a couple being married with a few onlookers crowding around. She briefly assessed the area and noticed the bride and groom’s reflections in the lense of beach binoculars. Barbara was in the right place at the right time with the right equipment and skillset to snap an award winning photo (see above). 

Some folks claim she is incredibly lucky, but I know she has honed her ability to assess the area and see what others have overlooked. “I’ve learned to survey the scene.” says Barbara. “I’ve done it for so long that now I’m natrually observant.”

Change the FocusThe question, “Why is this happening to me?” can be interpreted two ways: as a victim or a victor. In my initial scenarios I was being a Negative Ned whining about the collisions and calamity I saw until I changed my focus and relalized I could be a Positive Paul and provide assistance.

  • Victims complain, “Bad things always happen to me.
  • Victors ask, “What can I do to make this situation better?

This is a dressed up version of the classic question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” but I’ll take it one step further and ask, “Regardless if the glass is half full or half empty, fill it to the rim!”

Take ActionEvery day you and I have many opportunities, in our personal and professional lives, for fixin’ our stinkin’ thinkin’. Start small and follow Nike’s motto: Just Do It. Barbara Higgins agrees, “I still have to get the camera up pretty quick, focus and press the plunger before I lose my chance. Yes, I miss a few shots, but I get more than I miss.” 

To be completely candid, I have not always found that simple solution when I ask, “What can I do to make the situation better?”, but I know it’s out there. Each of us have unique talents that will make a difference when we decide to ACTAssess the Area, Change the Focus and Take Action.


Your turn: How have you fixed some stinkin’ thinkin’?

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