It’s 6:30 AM on a Thursday. I’ve just requesting cash from an ATM inside my local grocery store.
It might be the first time I’ve used an ATM in years. Probably since the pandemic first landed on our shores. Venmo has all but eliminated the need for cash in my life, and I have a friend who often pays me in cash, serving as my own personal ATM. But on this day, I need cash to pay a vendor who only accepts cash or check, so I decided to grab cash while I was shopping.
As I grab the cash from the slot, the ATM flashes the message, “Your transaction is complete.”
I said, aloud, “Hell yeah my transaction is complete.” I say it with genuine enthusiasm. Happiness over a task complete. Positive self talk. It’s a practice I use constantly, both because it makes me feel great and is supported by science.
I explain all of this in my upcoming book, Someday Is Today.” Preorder now from wherever you get books.
When you’ve finished preordering my book, you, too, can say, “Hell yeah my transaction is complete.”
Try it. It feels good.
When I say it to the ATM in response to its message, a woman standing about ten feet away looks over and rolls her eyes at me.
Maybe she rolls her eyes because I’m talking to a machine. Maybe she rolls her eyes because it’s 6:30 AM on a Thursday. Maybe she rolls her eyes because she’s spotted a spider weaving a web in her eyebrows.
But I suspect that she rolls her eyes because she’s unhappy and can’t stand watching someone be happy, particularly at this hour, on this day, for this seemingly trite reason.
A month ago, I watched a man and a woman high-five each other after finding an outstanding parking spot outside of a bookstore on Crosby Street in Manhattan. They climbed out of the car, paused on the sidewalk to admire the admire the spot, then congratulated each other for their luck.
Oddly, there were many available parking spots up and down Crosby Street at that time, and since it was after 6:00, parking was free for all of them, but still, these two people were thrilled with their success and not afraid to express their emotions publicly.
I didn’t roll my eyes. I smiled. I’ve been thinking about those two people ever since.
I loved those people.
Had that man and woman heard my tiny celebration at the ATM on Thursday morning, I think they would’ve loved me, too.
And I think all three of us are probably happier than the eye roller, not for any external reason, but because we understand how to acknowledge and celebrate our achievements, even when those achievements are tiny and simple and seemingly mundane.
Our brains are listening to us at all times for clues about how we feel and will respond in concert with the words it hears us say. That sounds a little crazy, but it’s true.
It’s why just saying that you’re happy will make you happier. Saying that you’re tired will make you more tired. Saying that you’re hungry will make you hungrier We can change our mood simply by the words we choose to say aloud.
It’s true. Read my new book – since you’ve already preordered – to learn more.
So we can either offer our brains reasons to help us be happy, or we can roll our eyes and inform our brains that we are soulless, downtrodden, uninspired, beleaguered sad sacks.
One will cause our brain to release chemicals that will improve our mood. Boost our energy level. Positively alter our disposition
The other will release chemicals that will make us feel even worse.
The eye roller probably thought that I was crazy, but I think she’s crazy if she’s moving through the world, rolling her eyes at people expressing joy, regardless of the time, place, or reason, when she could be doing the same and probably feel better about her life, too.