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By Michael Angier

I Love New York: A Useful Point of View

On a recent trip to NYC, I had breakfast with a colleague who said something that really made me stop and think.

Mike Foster ( holds the title of the top trainer out of 450 seminar leaders at a major international training organization. He's a dynamic, sought-after speaker and expert in what he calls e-Savvy—getting the most from your business technology.

In his profession, Mike travels three to four days a week, fifty weeks a year. He practically lives on a plane, and I asked this seasoned traveler what his favorite city was. The way he responded gave me pause.

Mike said he didn't have a favorite city. He didn't think it was a good idea to have favorites because that would take away from his enjoyment of the city he was in. "What if I never get back to that city for a couple of years?"

Mike was leaving later that morning for a training assignment in Chicago. He went on to say, "I love New York and I'm getting ready to love Chicago." Wow! What a useful way to look at things.

My astute breakfast companion was saying that even preferences can take us out of present time. Making judgments takes away from our enjoyment of where we are now.

It relates to one of the most profound things I've ever learned: It's our resistance to what is that creates our pain. Most, if not all, the emotional pain we experience in our lives is caused by our unwillingness to accept what is. Our belief that something isn't fair or somehow isn't right causes our upset and creates our pain. Being able to accept the things we cannot change is the only path to peace. And someone with pure acceptance is a rare individual indeed.

If we're longing to have something other than what we have, if we don't like where we are and continue to pine for where we want to be, we not only reduce the value of our current experience, we reduce our energy and resourcefulness to get where we want to go.

Mike's philosophy was particularly important to me because for a variety of reasons our trip to New York was less than ideal. In fact it was the worst trip my wife and I have ever taken. It seemed that almost everything that could go wrong did. It took every bit of our positive attitudes to make the best of it.

I wasn't at a point where I could say, "I love New York," but Mike certainly made me think about things with a higher perspective than I would have otherwise. I did my best to milk the value from a trip that most would have labeled a disaster.

By not labeling, by not judging—even in little ways—we can enhance our life dramatically. The fact is, we can't afford to complain about things. When we judge things as bad or wrong and especially when we complain about them, we keep our focus on what we don't want. And what we focus on expands.

Related Article:
The Top Ten Questions to Ask in Order to Enhance Your Effectiveness







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Last Updated 01/30/2004