Lessons from Nicaragua

In 2013, I took a trip to Nicaragua after a personally challenging month. As we drove to the airport through the rough roads of this beautiful but impoverished country, I thought about my experience. Two things emerged for me that may serve as valuable reminders for you.

1. Attitude

As I reflected about the day-to-day hardships Nicaraguans face, with many living in structures just one notch above what we would consider camping, I was struck by their positive attitudes.

Most people we met took such pride in their vocations, whether it was the small boy on the street making an honest living quickly washing windshields as cars stopped at the red light, or the roving mariachis dressed in nicely pressed pants and long-sleeved shirts in the 90+ degree weather, or the street vendor proudly showcasing his wares as we passed by.

The Nicaraguan culture reminded me about the simple power of a positive comment, an offer to help, or a warm smile. Every day, we get to make choices about how we want to show up. How are you showing up?

2. Gratitude

Spending five days around Nicaraguans who were grateful for the simple pleasures in life reminded me how easy it is to lose perspective when life feels stressful and complicated. A person’s ability to make rational decisions can get vastly diminished by fatigue and emotion, especially when things do not go as expected.

The next time you feel this way, remember the power of gratitude. Challenge yourself to look for the lesson in the tough situation you are drowning in, to give you what you need to stay afloat. Or simply make a list of what is going right or the things for which you are thankful, or express appreciation to others. These quick exercises can give you the energy you need to move forward.

My trip to Nicaragua came at time when I really needed it. But I realized that I didn’t need a trip to keep my perspective in check. Rather, I needed to remember the power of positive thinking on a day-to-day basis. As you know, it all starts with your mindset. If you can successfully shift your thoughts from negative to positive, it can work wonders.

This week, I want to challenge you to take one small step to put the power of attitude or gratitude into play. Remember that small steps can lead to big results.

 

© 2013 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.