Today, I learned a powerful lesson at the grocery store. I was in a bit of a rush so I made my way quickly through the aisles, grabbed my four items, and headed to check out. The person in front of me had way more things than I did so I opted for self-checkout.
As I sat my items down to begin scanning, I remembered the machine I chose was the one that malfunctioned last time. It wasn’t just a simple—the cashier comes over, punches in a few numbers, swipes their badge, and you’re on your way—kind of moment. It was a complicated—the cashier comes by, can’t enter a code because the screen is frozen, holds the button down for 30 seconds to reboot the system, we wait for several minutes for it to get back online, only for it not to work, so they do it AGAIN, and it still won’t work, so I get escorted to customer service where they “re-ring” each item—kind of moment. So I looked at that machine and thought, “Oh no, not today,” gathered my items and chose another machine.
The associate working self-checkout gave me a puzzled look, so I told them, “Oh. I had problems with that one last time,” and began to scan my items on the blessed machine. And, of course, it immediately froze.
Luckily, the cashier was bagging someone’s groceries so they didn’t witness my scurry of shame back to the original devil machine. I had a hunch in that moment that it was probably just my negative expectations screwing with me. So I took a deep breath, laughed at myself, and began to scan my items. Oh course, not one issue. I was done in seconds!
Right then, I knew for sure it was just my negative expectation proving me right. I could’ve avoided having an issue at all, if I just left that one inconvenient experience in the past. Instead I brought it with me and recreated it.
I learned in that moment that often the uncomfortable cycles that repeat in our lives could possibly be avoided with positive expectations. Our thoughts are powerful and creative. It’s important that we train ourselves to focus more on what we desire than on what we fear. As we learn to leave our negative expectations behind, and set new empowering ones, we set ourselves up to win.
If you, like me, tend to worry about what can go wrong, I challenge you to start paying attention to that tendency. Envisioning the worst doesn’t serve us as much as we think. Sometimes it is the thing that draws the negative possibility. Let’s learn from my experience, and begin to envision the possibility that things will work out. Despite what we’ve experienced in the past, we can set positive expectations for the future. Let’s not cancel today’s wins expecting yesterday’s losses.