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The Impact of Positivity

If only I had a penny for every time my mom told me, “You never know who is watching…”

I smiled thinking of her and that phrase when I learned of Rick Brubaker’s recent surprise gift. Each week Rick can be found at Walmart working a “ Medicare booth.” He has become a familiar face for so many who come in and out of the doors. Rick takes great pride in being able to advise our community and enjoys the opportunity to make a stranger a friend every day. Last week, a complete stranger drew the pictured sketch of Rick. Why did this Walmart patron choose him? I think the answer is pretty simple if you know him. Rick has a genuine kindness and approachability about him. If you watch, he smiles at everyone and speaks to everyone. It feels authentic. No matter the day, no matter the circumstances, you will get the same smile. It’s not that Rick has it perfect or doesn’t have stress. None of us are immune to storms. Rick simply chooses his attitude. He chooses how he is going to approach each day and each person he encounters. He chooses to be positive. It’s not easy and usually practiced. But it is a choice.

A few reminders that can encourage the “Rick” outlook:

  1. Stress is more about how you respond to what happens rather than what actually happens. A lot of stress is created by focusing on what you don’t want. Focus on what you want. Live a life you don’t need to escape from.
  2. None of us are immune to the hard times. Difficulty comes to everybody’s life, but we need challenges to grow. Focus on what you can control and take action. Worrying about things you can’t control only causes fear and stress.
  3. If there’s something you can do to make now better, do it. If you can lift your spirits even a little, that’s enough to move you into action. Newton’s first law of motion says that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object that is stuck tends to stay stuck. That applies to us. If we can get enough energy or inspiration to take some action, we will get motivation for the next step and then the next step and the next. Once people get a bit of momentum, they can turn things around.
  4. Ask for forgiveness. Missteps are a guarantee. When it happens, own the mistake, apologize and then choose to move forward. Remind yourself that everyone deserves a little Grace – you included.

Strive to be someone that others want to watch. Maybe not the context my mom originally intended for my brothers and I in our hay-day, but it sure is one we all know and can appreciate.

-Larry S. White, March 2023