“The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” the Calgary Stampede, takes place in our city early in July each year.
Stampede began yesterday, as it always does, with a spectacular parade through the downtown core. Some 250,000 to 300,000 people lined the streets enthusiastically cheering on the thousands of folks who participate. With marching bands, street musicians, creative floats and other forms of entertainment. The mood is upbeat, happy and a spectacle many people eagerly wait for year after year.
Sometime yesterday afternoon I had two telephone conversations with people who had attended the parade with their families. Their responses to my inquiry about how much they enjoyed the parade really brought home a point we have often talked about over the past few years since we first began getting together every Saturday.
When I asked the first person how he had enjoyed the parade, his responsible was less than enthusiastic, “Well it’s the same every year. There’s absolutely no creativity or variation. I go because of the kids but I’m bored to tears and can’t wait for it to be over. Nothing ever changes. It seems like the same people occupy the same positions, doing the same stuff, screaming the same inane things, to the same crowds while this colorless, uninspiring parade passes by at snail’s pace.
“Personally, I think they should cancel the parade and spare everyone the agony. It is a waste of time and all it accomplishes is making downtown impossible to get in to or out of. Personally, I can’t wait for my kids to grow up so we can stop doing this every year.”
Some 30 minutes later I received another call. This caller too had attended the parade with his family. “I just love this time of the year. The city is so alive and vibrant. It is so fantastic to go downtown and just be a tiny part of this parade that unites our city year after year after year. It is absolutely fantastic.
“You can feel the energy the moment you hit the downtown core and it just gets stronger and stronger throughout the entire morning. The parade is so much fun, the kids love it, the adults love it, everyone has a good time and everyone is in a great mood. The music is fantastic, the crowds are wonderful, some of the floats are really creative and it is just such a fabulous thing to look forward to every summer and a great way to kick off Stampede Week with a huge bang. I’ve been going to the parade since I was a kid will and I can’t get enough of it.”
So here we have two individuals, in by and large the same place at the same time, and, experiencing exactly the same event, having for two completely opposing viewpoints.
The first person experienced a few hours of boredom, fidgeting anxiously while waiting for an annoying, irritating and uninspiring event to pass, while the second one, immersed himself in the energy of the event, enthusiastically, passionately and excitedly loving every moment.
What a great example for all of us to learn one of life’s truly transformational lessons: the irrefutable message that the meaning of each and every event, experience and happening in our lives has only the meaning we choose to give it.
Both of these fine gents were in same place, at the same time, witnessing the same event and yet their experiences were so different.
Observing this really helps us with understanding the remarkable gift we were given – our power of choice – which enables us to take anything that happens in our lives and choose its meaning.
You see, the Stampede Parade is just the Stamped Parade, that’s all it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither fun nor boring, neither exciting nor dull. It is just a parade.
We – each of us – go to work and decide the impact is has on us. We choose whether it is good/bad, fun/boring, and exciting/dull.
Rather than assuming that we are victims of cause-and-effect – “The Stampede Parade made me feel bored, uninspired, impatient, disinterested, and generally unimpressed” or “The Stampede Parade inspired me, put me in a great mood, energized me, made me very happy,” it is really transformational for us to understand that both of these folks chose how they would be impacted by the parade.
All the Stampede Parade did was provide an event – information, data. The rest they did themselves.
We alone decide what each and every experience in our lives means to us – whether it empowers or disempowers us, gladdens or saddens us, excites or depresses us.
Events in our lives mostly take place outside of our heads. The meaning of those events all take pace inside our heads.
As you read this, please take time now to reflect on this message. By doing so you are giving yourself the most liberating gift possible.
The more you absorb this premise, the more you will experience the departure of stress, anxiety and other unpleasant emotions from your being.
And only good things can come from that.
Till we read again.
P.S. My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.