Flipping your mindset

I took a seminar style freshman English course in college. There were just twelve students, and we sat around a conference table with Professor Patterson, a distinguished teacher who was in his final year before retirement. 

We had an eight page paper due every week. I don’t think I had a paper that long due over any single semester in high school. 

The first assignment was to analyze a sonnet. Sonnets are fourteen line poems. How was I going to write eight pages about about such a short poem?

Dr. Patterson noticed the collective chagrin and low level panic around the table as he explained the assignment. 

I remember his advice well, almost 33 years later. He smiled and encouraged us to make this a pleasant experience. He suggested that as we tackled this project over the weekend we should find a comfortable chair and a tasty beverage and savor the work. 

Somehow, his unexpected suggestion encouraged me and dulled the dread. I ended up doing just fine on that paper and throughout that class. 

A comfortable chair and a tasty beverage. That image arises regularly when I’m confronted by an overwhelming or seemingly dreary task. 

It’s a matter of mindset. Instead of resisting and dreading, I was able to see the work as an experience to be enjoyed. 

It’s worth giving this a try when you face something difficult or unappealingly tedious. Find a way to flip your mindset and make it a pleasure. 

Go to a happy place. Listen to lovely music. Find a comfortable chair and a tasty beverage. Act as if the unwanted task is something you chose and eagerly anticipate, and then delight in completing it.