So, I was thinking. Today, I was standing in line at Home Depot, and I was returning the keys to a truck that I was renting from them, for an event that I was putting on for the family business. And, long story short, there were two people behind the counter, taking forever to help out Customer Service. It started to get on my nerves. I started to find myself getting angry, started to find myself getting pissed off that my day was being wasted, standing there watching these assholes work so slowly and dispassionately.
Then, all of a sudden I started to realize, I started to realize and reflect and think, and I was like, "Why am I so angry?" I had nowhere better to be. I actually didn't really mind standing there, because it was nice. It was a nice break at the end of a long and challenging day, where I'd been working very hard since 4:30 in the morning, and it was now 5:30 in the evening. 13 hours later I'm pretty tired. It feels good to just stand there, staring mindlessly at the people working behind the counter, and breathe. Focus on my breathing, focus on standing with some good posture, and feel good.
It wasn't an unpleasant experience, having to wait, being forced to take a breather and relax. So I was curious. I started to ask myself, in my own head, "Hey, why is it exactly, that I'm so angry about this, when it's not even something that I'm pissed off about at the deepest level? It's not something that I'm unhappy about, honestly." And I realized, in a moment, that the answer was, it's the socially acceptable thingw to do. Everyone else in line looked pissed so on some unconscious level I had made the same decision. When you have to wait, it's socially acceptable to be angry. People look at you strangely, when you're happy to just be standing in a line and relaxing.
And as soon as I realized that, as soon as I realized that my behavior was motivated by trying to behave like other people, I dropped it. I dropped the anger. I focused on my breathing. I relaxed, and I enjoyed the moment. It was kind of nice, you know, just sitting there smelling the wood of Home Depot, wafting through the air; listening to people having conversations in the background; staring at the window, looking at the snow falling. It was beautiful, and it was a beautiful moment, as all moments are if you actually can surrender and enjoy them.
But, the big idea I want to have as a takeaway, the big idea that I want to give you as a takeaway is, oftentimes our behavior is motivated by learning how to emulate and copy other people. That's how we human beings work. When we are growing up, we learn to act like our parents. As we grow older and older, we learn to act like our peers.
We learn our behavior based on other people. But, if you can get to the place where you forget that, and you act from an internal place, when you act from your own decision, your own motivation, that's a place of authenticity. That's a place of sincerity, and that's a place where attractive character traits emerge.