This is Water

A video I find myself watching on a fairly regular basis is “This is Water”.

It is an adaptation of a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College in 2005. If you haven’t seen the video before it is well worth 9 minutes of your time.

I’m no saint but since first watching the video I do try to react to situations differently, especially ones where I have no control. I try to think about others perspectives and put myself in their shoes. It doesn’t always work, it’s easy to react negatively, much harder to choose to react positively, whether you are stuck in traffic, in a long line at the store, or dealing with something at work.

Some of my favourite lines:

“Learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options.”

“You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t”

Just this weekend I was walking at a crosswalk at the mall and a lady who had to slow down was upset because she had to let me cross; she gave me the hands raised, hurry up signal. I actually started to chuckle. It was 9 am, I can just imagine what the rest of her day must have been like. But on the other hand, I have no idea how crappy her day might already have been.

The one thing we do control is the power of choice, we can decide how we handle each situation we encounter. I could have yelled back at her, slammed my hands on the hood of her car, etc. But I chose to laugh instead.

What’s your default setting? Would be interested to hear what videos, people or stories have changed your perspective on things and have helped you deal and handle situations you encounter.

If you would like to watch the full speech from 2005 click here (22 minutes).

Originally posted on www.govlife.ca

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