I attended a workshop Tuesday evening and at the break, I was standing on the porch listening to a rather loud discussion by a couple of the other participants. One woman was saying, “This is the worst workshop that I have ever been to. There is nothing new being presented!” (she had just asked for a refund…which she did receive, and was leaving), and another woman replied, “I think this is the best workshop that I have ever attended…..”
I have been in plenty of situations where people have had very different reactions to something, but this may have been the most pronounced. Neither of these women were new to the information, but it was clear that the woman who thought it was the best, was open to more than just the information being presented. She was enjoying the entire experience.
The woman who was leaving, looked like someone you might avoid if you met her on the street. Her face was hard and her mouth tight. She looked ready for a fight. She didn’t leave peacefully, with the attitude, “Well, this is just not for me, so I am leaving, but I hope that you enjoy it.” Even on her way out, she was trying to convince others that it was awful too.
She had made up her mind that the evening was a waste, and so that is what it became to her. Even though she had gotten her money back, and had only spent an hour of her time in the workshop, she was still angry….. suffering because of her attitude, not because of the workshop. It is really easy to see this in someone else…not so much when it is me. Witnessing these two women was a powerful reminder that I alone choose my attitude and that my attitude will ultimately determine how much I enjoy my life.
“You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.” (quote attributed to the Buddha)