Elementary, my dear Watson

In high school, a group of us went to Fargo, ND, for an annual conference for Latin (the dead language) students. As a pretty sheltered child in Houston, I had basically never heard of Fargo (there was the movie, but I hadn’t even seen that). So when the location for the event came down, it was a bit of a surprise – and as it turns out (not surprisingly), it wasn’t the easiest or most affordable place to get to from Houston. But we were going to be seniors and wouldn’t have another chance, so we figured out how to get there.

We ended up taking a flight to Minneapolis (making a stop at the Mall of America, a huge win-win for a group of teens), and then a bus the rest of the way. We had an absolute blast and now I’m fondly reminiscing in my mind, but that’s not actually the point I’m going for here.

OK, back to the point – once we knew we were going to Fargo, the city I’d never heard of started popping up literally everywhere. I’m getting ready for school and all of a sudden, Al Roker is giving me the weather report for Fargo. I watched The Today Show every morning, had he really never done that before? Of course he had, Fargo didn’t just start having weather because I booked a trip. It just hadn’t meant anything to me before, so I subconsciously tuned it out.

As humans, we’re truly amazing detectives. We’ll track down evidence for whatever theory we’re trying to prove. And here’s the thing – no matter what we’re looking for, we will find it. Just as Fargo did in my high school days, pieces of evidence will start to jump out at us once we begin looking for them. There’s scientific research to back this up, and I think most, if not all, of us have experienced it in some form.

As with everything else, we can use this to improve our lives if we so choose. Why build evidence for a case that’s going to make us unhappy? Instead, look for ways to build a case for joy, gratitude and success. The more you find, the more you find.

In a typical busy work day at the office, I can choose to be annoyed, frustrated or overwhelmed that I have so much work to do…or I can choose to be thankful that I have a job where I am needed and that allows me to live a fulfilling life when I’m not in the office. The best part is that by choosing to be thankful, I create a cycle where I keep finding more and more reason to be thankful.

In a city where I pass rushed and stressed people on the street all day, every day, it’s easy to get caught up in those feelings. I just have to keep reminding myself what I actually want filling each of my days. If I want to bring more and more positivity into my life, I can’t do that by looking for negativity – because my inner detective will always find it. And yours will too.

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