Perhaps the first hour of your day controls the next 23 hours of your day. If you stub your toe immediately after you get up, you have at least two choices to make about what kind of day you will experience.
• A stubbed toe can convince you that this will be a terrible day and that the smarting toe is just the beginning. If you are a pessimist by nature, you will expect one problem after another; and you may contribute to the lousy day just to be able to say, “I told you so.”
• A pessimist, after a bad start of the day, may very well start to see problems that really don’t exist. While driving, he may see a road-rage driver creating rage in front of him, and somehow he becomes involved in the road rage.
• An optimist would not join the road-rage circus. It’s easy to avoid road rage … just take your foot off the gas pedal. When you slow down, the road rager will move on down the road, seeking someone else to bully or intimidate.
• Road-rage jerks do not give up easily. If someone does not join their game, they move on until they find someone who is easy to intimidate or someone who is just as angry as they are.
• What you say during the first 20 minutes of the day is important, too. Your words and your body posture can set the tone for the morning and possibly the entire day.
• Before you get out of bed, watch what you say. If your first words are, “You stole all my covers again,” or “You left the living room fan on again,” you can expect some negative feedback; and the confrontation is on.
• When people start the day with negative words or angry body language, they create negative responses that cast a “here we go again” spell before breakfast is finished. To avoid early-day friction, you can keep your mouth shut and not bring up the fan or the stolen blankets.
• Instead of bringing up criticism or put downs, why not say, “Would you like some coffee?” or “Let’s get out of town this morning and have some fun.” Wives always enjoy hearing the phrase, “Let’s go out for breakfast.”
• A great way to deal with the stubbed toe is to think that this is going to be a great day. I got the bad Karma out of the way early, and the rest of my day will be positive and rewarding.
• I have discovered that starting and ending my day with counting my blessings gets me off to a great start and guarantees a good ending for my day. Start your day with love gestures. Don’t declare war in the first five minutes. Love is a lot more fun — and wars suck!
• Have you ever done something for over 15 years and discovered you shouldn’t be doing it? Recently, on one of my busier days at work, I decided to read the directions on my Sharpie permanent marker. The directions said, “Not for letter writing.” I have been writing letters and columns for over 15 years with my Sharpie. Now, what can I do? Is this the end of my letter writing and column career?
• Is failure to follow instructions a crime? I hope it is a misdemeanor. I will try to convince the judge to give me 200 hours of community service at a donut shop.
• I would like to end this column on a positive note by discussing inner peace and harmony. After a lot of research and thinking, I am convinced that inner peace is always inside us and available. You have to seek inner peace by whatever method works for you. Early morning meditation works for me. Many people prefer prayer.
• In general, quiet time makes the search for inner peace easier. Go on an unplanned vacation, without TV or your cell phone … soon.
Bob Billingsley is an El Dorado Hills resident and bi-weekly columnist at the Mountain Democrat.