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How Clarabella ‘Schooled me’ the other day…

By Marcus Santer

I think I might have mentioned this before…

But my natural tendency is to be a ‘glass half empty’ type of guy.

I’m not happy about it.

I certainly wouldn’t choose to a moody bugger, but I am what I am and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 44 years on this planet it’s this:

Fighting against who you are is a guaranteed way to frustration and exhaustion.

Acceptance is the key that sets you free.

Plus, knowing and accepting who you really are means you can take appropriate steps to turn things around when you need to.

Like I did a few days ago.

I was feeling the signals that could herald a bit of a downer, so I took the necessary steps and gave myself a dose of Queen’s “Don’t stop me now”

Singing along to that always helps to lift my spirits.

When it came to an end I noticed there was a Bon Jovi video with 252,398,904 views and I was amazed.

In the past I’ve put up top quality, teaching for free, Qigong videos. Videos that could help people to improve their health and vitality and I’d be lucky if I got more than a hundred views in a year.

Yet here’s this music video with over 250 million.

Dang that pushed a few of my buttons and as Clarabella was passing my Woffice I said to her about how people really want to be entertained.

Nothing wrong with that.

But then I continued with…

“I guess it helps them to escape the pain and frustration of their every day reality.”

And Clarabella came back with…

“Er, no. Maybe they just enjoy being entertained.”


She got me.

I realised that my statement was a reflection of my own experience with life:

And so on.

Experiences I’m happy to say are no longer true today, but they still clearly have an impact on my life.

Especially if I’m not paying attention.

My point?

Be very careful about the conclusions you make based on your assumptions of what people do or how they behave. Because they might actually be refections of your own thoughts and feelings.

It’s certainly a lesson I’ve taken to heart.

And I proved it yesterday during Clarabella’s driving practice down Dawlish Warren carpark.

A couple got out of their car and stared like a couple of slack-jawed-yokels as Clarabella and I drove by with her L-plates on.

And then continued to stare all the way around.

My natural first thought went along the lines of: “Why don’t you take a photograph it’ll last longer you ignorant ******”

Because in my younger years, staring for too long meant you were about to ‘get into it’.

But that’s just my experience and I’m interpreting their behaviour through the lens of my experience.

Now this staring = trouble, well that’s my reality…

But it might not necessarily be theirs.

So I gave myself the freedom of choosing a different interpretation for their staring.

In the absence of certainty about someone’s actions, I decided to choose to believe their behaviour meant something else.

And I said to Clarabella: “Look they’re staring because they can’t believe how great you’re driving and they’re probably wondering who that handsome guy is next to you.”

Now I don’t know what they were thinking.

They may very well have been wanting to start a fight.

But choosing to believe something that didn’t push my buttons made my day a whole lot better.

So remember…

In the absence of certainty – where appropriate – give yourself the freedom to choose what someone’s behaviour means.

Especially if it helps to make your day a whole lot better.

Right, I’ll be filing this ZEN+ Daily in the + for mindset folder.

For 120 better tips – better because they’re backed by science and not by anecdote – check out my book:

ZEN+ The Art and Science of Living Healthier for Longer

Bye for now


P.S. I really do believe that freedom is about choices – as long as it’s not trying to choose toothpaste in the supermarket!

Having the emotional maturity to choose how you’re going to interpret another person’s behaviour…

Or being aware enough to know when you’re filtering another’s actions through the lens of your own life experience is a freedom I’m looking forward to developing.

How about you?

Brought to you by: ZEN+ The Art and Science of Living Healthier for Longer