Recently I really needed to go to the shops. Important provisions had been forgotten and dinner depended on righting this wrong. Nothing unusual about this. Happens to me all the time.

And normally my son is a willing assistant on these routine errands. But not today!

PLAN A

“Remy”, I ask. “Do you want to come to the shops with me?”

“No.”

Hmm. “Are you sure? You could really help me out?”

“No.”

And so the discussion went. I suggested amazing things to do and see and our local shop was sounding less and less like the sterile-sole-crushing-mall that it is and more and more like a scene from Disney Land!

But despite the flamboyant imagery:

“No.”

Okay so I needed a different strategy. I could say, “Remy! We need to go to the shops and you can either walk to the car or I can carry you.”

[I’ve learned that it is ALWAYS good to offer a choice. Choices really work. Real choices. Not false ones. And not just any random choice. There must be at least two options where either choice is ones you’ll be happy to see eventuate. Never offer a false choice. In the options above, both of them in up with us in the car!]

But this ‘stern option’ (with choices) was not always the best way to go.

It’s not the best for a number of reasons but mostly because I’ve learned -the hard way- that taking a recalcitrant assistant shopper into a public space is almost certainly to end in disaster and a public shaming. Namely, my OWN public shaming.

Plan B

“Remy, do you want to come on an ADVENTURE with me?”

“An adventure!?”

“Yeah, an adventure.”

“Sure!”

Bingo! My shopping assistant was now enthused, the car-seat was scaled voluntarily, provisions were secured, dinner was made. The day was saved.

I was not lying about the adventure bit. You have to come good on a promise like the promise of an ADVENTURE. So we did go on an adventure of sorts.

Our adventure required us to search the magical isles to discover exotic spices (paprika). And visit special stores in hidden places requiring special maps (ie., free centre maps) to find secret treasure (mangos). And of course, after we were done a good frolic on the beach and a run-around the park doesn’t hurt to finish off an adventure worthy of the name.

But more importantly, the lesson that was impressed upon me most was how a simple change in perspective can make a world of difference.

Are we going to the SHOPS? Or are we going on AN ADVENTURE? To a 2 ½ year old there is a WORLD of difference between the two.

So what about my own perspectives on things?

It’s like the adage, “Is this apparently disastrous occurrence a crisis or an opportunity?”

Is the sudden situation or state of affairs that I find myself in the end of the road or the beginning of something potentially better?

Is my glass half full or half empty?

The reality is that any situation could be either/or or both/and.

I find myself in these kinds of quandaries all the time. Sometimes I see my way through them and keep on going though life completely unappreciative of why or how I was able to overcome a tough moment.

Other times these kinds of situations throw me into a depressive melancholy for a while and I waste hours or days or WEEKS in a depressive state until finally I find a way to drag myself out of the mire!

More importantly, rarely do I ever catch myself stepping back from the moment of choosing my approach to a situation to have a good objective look and consider my approach. Rarely do I stop to consider how I might ‘frame’ the experience from the very begging so that I might actually ENJOY the challenge ahead.

I should ask, “Is this a problem be solved or an opportunity for self-pity?” Am I going to be dull, boring and depressed or AM I GOING TO GO ON AN ADVENTURE!

 A 2 year old taught me this! Shhhh, don’t say anything to him just yet. He’ll be charging for these nuggets of wisdom soon.

 

Damien Norris is the founder and senior whole-body movement and lifestyle coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia.

Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life!

Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”

Damien Norris