Saturday, May 10, 2008

The power of positive expectation

I was talking to my mom the other day about how unlikely it seemed that I'd be able to put up a decent amount of artwork for the Pelham Art Festival. She didn't think it was a big deal, though. "Just do your best," was her advice. She reminded me how it's been a juggling act every single year that I participated. It was always school and work and usually something else going on too right when I should have been preparing art work. I never once got to go for the opening night either. And yet, somehow or the other things came together and I put up work and heck, I even sold work every year. It's funny how I still forget and my mind veers towards the worst possibilities instead of focusing on the positive.

This year too, by the time DaddyBoy got home and we reached the festival site on the set-up day, we only had one and a half hour left to put everything up. I was already a teeny bit nervous by that time, but one step inside the arena and I wanted to just backtrack the way I'd come - all the stalls were already set up AND the work looked just fabulous. What in the world am I doing here with my crummy paintings, I thought, supposing I even got them up on time. This time DaddyBoy came to my rescue. "It's not a competition," he said. "You're here for the fun of it."

True enough. That's when we discovered the extension cord we had wasn't long enough, although we had the specified length. If that wasn't enough, we had also managed to get the wrong hooks for the pegboard. The situation looked so hopeless I just burst out laughing. There was nothing to do except bundle the HunnyBunny back into the car seat and look for a hardware store.

We did it, though. I'm not sure how, but we did it. At some point my brain went, "OK, whatever." And then I just put all my energy into making something out of the whole thing. So yeah, we got the lighting figured out, the hardware sorted out, the paintings up, the table set up, all the while making sure the Munchkin was safe and happy. AND we even went back for opening night a few hours later. And I got a lot of visitors to my stall, reconnected with artists I hadn't seen in a while, met new ones, and yes, sold a few paintings, two of which I had done only the very day before!

I guess it all comes down to this: How will you approach a situation, any situation, and how will that mindset facilitate your success?

That's the power of working the Rule of Positive Expectation: the more you focus on the hope of a good outcome, the more you work towards it, and the more that hope becomes reality.

P.S.: Sometimes, though, it REALLY helps to have someone by your side, or on the phone, like my mom was, although thousands of miles away, to pat your shoulder and say,"Don't sweat it; just do your best. Things will be fine."


Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily think that if you believe you're going to fail that you will indeed fail. But that attitude doesn't help much either. Always try to stay positive and most of all, don't panic.

Unknown said...

True! The corollary to the rule is "Always expect the worst!", I guess, which many people swear by.