I knew a person who always seemed to have a black cloud following over his head. He encountered some of the most bizarre situations I’ve ever known. His drive to work regularly was a harrowing experience. I’d hear tales of near-death situations involving rogue drivers forcing him off the road. Then there was the incident at the sporting goods store. He tried to return an item he purchased and got into a massive fight with the store that involved an ongoing string of e-mails and phone calls. Finally he always seemed to be feuding with a friend. The reasons were so banal that I never figured out what was really the problem.
At one point I dug in a little deeper to try and understand why this individual was always struggling so much. And guess what I found? He had an LFT problem. If you haven’t figured it out by now, LFT means Looking for Trouble. He was continually loaded for bear and saw a conspiracy against him every time he turned around. Turns out he was a pretty aggressive driver (I rode with him once and he scared the bejabbers out of me). He could be very demanding so I imagine that in a retail store he might have been inclined to run roughshod over the sales clerk. He told me that his motto was to “expect the unexpected” and be ready to “play offense.”
Going through life with an LFT mindset must be pretty depressing. And it’s an attitude that’s pure poison for entrepreneurs. I can see preparing for the unexpected, but intentionally expecting something bad to happen seems like it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I truly believe that if we see conflict and strife in every situation then that’s how we’ll live. Those types of thoughts are like a magnet.
I can count on two or three fingers the number of times I’ve had close calls in my car. I know I’m pretty vigilant when it comes to driving and while alert, I’m not “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” In other words, I don’t believe that there is someone out there looking to make my driving experience a miserable one. As an entrepreneur I’m well aware of the fact that there may be others who are looking to gain an unfair advantage. But I don’t obsess on this awareness. Instead, I go into each situation with the belief that the person across the table from me is going to deal honorably and I know that we’ll find a mutually acceptable conclusion to our interaction.
Life is so much better when we are in an LFG mode. LFG? Looking for Good. Don’t be fooled by this approach. It’s not naïve or Pollyanna-ish. LFG is relatively simple. We look for the good in every experience and with every person. This type of thought is also like a magnet. When we Look for Trouble we find it. When we Look for Good . . . we find it! It doesn’t mean that I’m going to walk down a dark alley in a big city and flash a big roll of Franklins! After all I’m not bulletproof. But it does mean that until someone proves me wrong, I’m going to choose to see a positive outcome in whatever I’m doing.
The entrepreneur who wakes up in the morning with a siege mentality and wonders who or what is going to come at him today, is in trouble before his feet hit the floor. By contrast, the entrepreneur who wakes up and knows that today is going to be positive and productive has just set the stage for a great day. Oh sure, there will be challenges because that’s just life. But the challenges are so much easier to resolve when we don’t have a nagging belief that there’s someone hiding around the corner ready to whack us in the kneecap.
So which will it be – LFT or LFG? The choice is 100% ours to make. There is no conspiracy. And there is no “other shoe” about to drop.
You can also listen to a weekly audio podcast of my blog. What you hear will be different than what you read in this blog. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also click on this link – Audio Episode 10 – Urgently Patient.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.