Thinking Small Enhances Luck

Yesterday, I was feeling down. Nothing in particular, just a collection of annoyances. I had gotten up very early to attend a meeting in San Francisco, and the meeting started late. The delay wasn’t anybody’s fault; there had been serious accidents on the Bay Bridge. But still, I had rushed to arrive on time. I had gone to the meeting to pitch my book, but forgot to bring books with me. Then, a group of us went to lunch at a French restaurant, where everyone around me ordered a Croque Monsieur, once my favorite lunch in Paris. But I now eat gluten free, so I ordered a salad, which didn’t in any way match its description–and was dressed with so much vinegar it made me cough.

On the way home, I stopped at our local greengrocer to buy ingredients for the dish I was planning to cook for a dinner I was hosting the following evening. At 2:00 in the afternoon on a Wednesday, I expected to have my shopping completed within several minutes. But the parking lot was filled, and the aisles crammed with shoppers. I gathered the items I needed, then wended my way to the end of one of six check-out lines snaking back through the fruit and root-vegetable aisles.

By this time, I was really grumpy. Everything that day had been off for me, and now I had to waste 15 minutes standing in line to pay. As I stood clutching my ginger, onions and basil, I found myself sinking deeper into my funk. I began with, Why in the world had I not brought any copies of my book to the meeting? And quickly moved to, Why haven’t I figured out how to sell more books? And then, What’s the point of trying?

Just as I was picking up momentum, I noticed that a new line had opened to my left, and there was no waiting! Without a second’s hesitation, I moved left and forward, and placed my items on the belt. It was at that moment that I remembered to think small. This was a perfect opportunity to allow my good luck to penetrate! Instead of feeling lucky for a second or so, I stopped and embraced this moment of good fortune. How lucky I am, I thought to myself. I was feeling so grumpy, and thought I’d have to stand in line for 15 minutes. And now this new line has opened up. I am very lucky.

By paying deeper attention to the shift in my situation, I was able to invite the feeling of good fortune to replace the funk I had been stewing in several moments earlier. That’s the power of small. We don’t need spectacular beauty or fantastic success to be happy. All we need to do is acknowledge the small moments of beauty and each small success, and we can not only shift our mood momentarily, but transform the way we see ourself and the world around us.



3 thoughts on “Thinking Small Enhances Luck”

  • Perfect timing, Jane Anne. I am having a particularly funky day — pain, tummy, etc. — and your piece also reminded me of one I just read (thanks to Ellie) by Jack Cornfield about “wanting” and learning to want what you have. Seems relevant to your moment at Monterey Market that lifted you. I’m working on it!

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