Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't get mired in too much flapdoodle!

I recently discovered a children’s book written by Maine author, Amy MacDonald. The title immediately grabbed my attention: Too Much Flapdoodle! Something about this phrase really resonates with me. I looked up the word flapdoodle in the dictionary, and it means pretty much what you would imagine: nonsense; foolish talk. The phrase stuck in my mind, and as I went about the next few days, there were several times when it popped into my consciousness.

Every time I turn on the radio, someone is moaning and groaning about the state of the economy. No improvements will come from focusing on the negative. In fact, this type of reporting is contributing to our problems. Hope is the answer; positive thoughts are the path we should be following. Unemployment is currently something like 6.5%. Folks, this means that 93.5% of people have jobs! I don’t have a job myself, and yet I know there’s plenty to be thankful for. Hyper-focusing on all that’s wrong? Too much flapdoodle!

I was standing in line the other day, waiting to mail a letter, and the woman behind me became very impatient. Now, sure, waiting in line can try one’s patience sometimes. We’ve all felt that kind of frustration. But consider what the outcome is: we post a letter, and within a relatively short amount of time – usually less than a week – our written words travel across the country, all for only 42 cents. The US Postal Service delivers hundreds of millions of messages each day to more than 141 million homes and businesses. That’s quite an achievement, and I for one appreciate their efforts! So the next time you go to mail your cards and packages, don’t gripe about the wait; appreciate the service. Complaining about a few minutes of waiting in line? Too much flapdoodle!

Everyone experiences stresses and strains during their daily lives. Everyone. Rich or poor, single or married, city folk and country dwellers. It’s not what happens to you, though, that determines if you’re happy – it’s how you react to what happens. It’s how you think about what happens. The next time you’re tempted to complain, criticize, or sink into a place of despair or depression, ask yourself this question: Is everything in my life really so bad? Is there anything good in my life I can focus on instead? There has to be something positive – look for it. Look hard. It’s well worth the effort, since it can literally make the difference between a happy life and an unhappy one. Look for the good. Do it every day. Get into the habit of catching yourself when your thoughts are going down a negative path and turn them around. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Otherwise, friends, you won’t be feeling very good. Your naturally buoyant spirit will become mired in your negative thoughts. And you may just find yourself feeling overwhelmed with too much flapdoodle!

[Thank you to Daniel Powers for the photo of the beautiful Irish mosaic. Visit Daniel online at Powers-Studio.com.]