A few years ago, my wife and I went to Monday Night Football in Denver. When we got off the plane, it was quite pleasant for late November—sunny and 72°. We had a great time at the game. Yes, the Broncos won.
When we left the hotel in the morning, it was 10°. An Arctic air mass had slid down the Great Plains overnight, sending temperatures plummeting and bringing a dreary layer of clouds with it.
These Arctic air masses bring an interesting phenomenon with them. The air is so cold and dense that it slides in and pushes warm air up. All the clouds are at this layer between the cold air below and the warmer air above. It happens every time.
As we drove up to Wyoming, we reached the point where we drove up out of the cold and back into the warm sunshine. Over the course of a few miles—a few hundred feet in elevation—the day changed completely. All because we got above the clouds.
You’ve had days like that. One day, everything’s great. The next, the clouds roll in and the temperatures drop. You can’t think straight. You can’t get any traction. You push forward, but nothing you do seems to get the results you want. Eventually, you fall into bed, exhausted, hoping that tomorrow will go better.
The weather may be outside of our control, but we can control how the weather affects us. We choose how we respond.
If you can learn to keep your head above the clouds, you’re going to have more sunny days.
- Go where the sun is. Ever watch a dog laying in the sunny spot on the carpet? When the sunny spot moves, they’ll get up and move with it. They aren’t content to lie in the shadows. Above the clouds, it’s pure sunshine.
- Route yourself around the storms. Air traffic control will route planes around and over storms. This reduces turbulence and gives passengers a smoother, safer flight. Make the same adjustments to reduce the number of problems you have to deal with.
- Appreciate the 10%. Know what the difference is between a mostly cloudy and partly sunny? It’s your focus. So what if the sun is behind the clouds 90% of the day? Use the 10% to its fullest. When the sun peeks out, take a moment to stop and feel the sunshine.
- Attract sunshine. If you focus on the clouds, you’re going to be gloomy and miserable. And you will attract other people into your life who are gloomy and miserable because it’s cloudy. This works both ways. You can also attract other people who are positive, cheerful, and know how to make their own sunshine. Pretty soon, it won’t matter what the weather is. It won’t affect you if you’ve already decided what kind of day you’re going to have.
- See clearly. Above the clouds, you can see clearly. You can see all obstacles in your way (nod to Johnny Nash), and you can avoid them. No more clouds, no more haze, no more fog. Just unfettered movement and freedom.
There will always be storms in our lives, and the clouds will roll in. Even on the darkest days, the sun is still there. It shines whether you can see it or not. It feels good to turn up your collar and complain about the cold sometimes, but I’d rather just get up above the clouds.
Question: How do you get above the clouds? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
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