About the Wiser Next Week Series: These entries will involve posting my book, Wiser Next Week, chapter by chapter, freely available to the public. Additionally, I’ll be recounting a story about something I’ve learned based on the chapter’s topic since the months that have past when the book was published in December 2018.
“Why Is This Happening To Me!?”
The weather in South East Asia is hot, like really hot. And it’s not just the temperature you see on an app. It’s the humidity as well. The moisture in the air retains the heat emitted by the sunlight and cooks you like a pressure cooker.
And I grew up in cool, even temperature San Francisco. Adapting to the weather took some time, and I remember musings from long dead Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, he said,
Enough of this wretched, whining monkey life. What’s the matter? Is any of it new? What is it that you find so surprising?
The weather is what it is, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. One thing that can be done besides wearing weather appropriate clothes is changing your attitude about it. What I did was stop complaining about the problem, as what you focus on expands, so might as well put your mind on more productive thoughts as so that unfavorable conditions gradually take up less and less real estate in your mind.
Keep Cool (Literally)
A trick that I used was I changed the adjectives I used to describe a situation to a more milder version of it. Here’s what I mean:
Replace disempowering words with empowering words (i.e. instead of “outraged” you’re “cranky”). For every negative word in your vocabulary, write down a list of alternatives.
So instead of using words such as its “hot” or it’s “baking” I replaced these words with different adjectives such as, “it’s a tad warm.” It just became a part of my vocabulary, and whenever I interacted with locals and we talked about weather (the topic of weather is always brought up) I would describe it as “warm” rather then “boiling.”
Sometimes they would light heatedly oppose my description. I remember one of my tour guides in Hanoi described the weather as blazing hot when she heard the way I described it. I explained to her how I use milder forms of adjectives to help mentally adjust to “less then favorable” (see what I did there?) situations.
Whether she understood through the English/Vietnamese language barrier I cannot say for certain.
What I do know is that in terms of the weather, its not “happening to you” because mother nature has it in for you, its “just happening.”
And by the time I left SE Asia earlier this year, the weather didn’t bother me much anymore. Partly because my body had adopted, and partly because I put my mental resources to focus on more important matters.
So I don’t know about you, but I check my attitude.
Here is the “On Attitude” chapter of Wiser Next Week. Take it and implement it into your own life.