“No one can ever take away from us our power to interpret our own circumstances.”– Dr. Vincent Amanor Boadu- Kansas State University
I was bundled like an Eskimo plowing through the bitter wind screaming through the streets of Washington, DC, when I spotted a paper grocery bag sitting by a lamppost.
I’m obviously from the Midwest because I didn’t even think to call 9-1-1. Instead, my curiosity got the best of me so I took a peek. There were several gourmet chocolate candy bars that looked scrumptious.
I wondered if someone had left it there by accident or on purpose. I wondered if I helped myself to a candy bar some talk-show host would run out behind a building with a t.v. camera. I wondered if I should take it back to the grocery store a block away.
My answer depended upon my interpretation of the circumstance. If someone accidentally left it there, then my reaction would dictate I take it to the market. If some talk-show host was sitting a trap, then I was already a rube for fondling the candy bars. However, if someone left it there with the intent of providing food to someone that was needy, then heaven had come to earth and the spot I was standing on was holy ground.
As I walked away- I left all the candy bars there- my interpretation fueled by an active imagination took me to positive places that led me to the following conclusions:
- The person had been asked by a wheel-chair bound veteran for some money, but didn’t have any so was unable to give
- The person had watched a show the night before about how poorly the government treats wounded vets
- The person walked away considering how grateful they were to have a good job, good health, and a warm place to sleep
- The donor had gone to the grocery store and bought things on his credit card and returned looking for the wounded vet, but he wasn’t there
- It had to be a man because the selection of groceries was more unhealthy than a woman would buy
- The person decided he would find a spot for wounded veterans in his business
Out of that simple exercise of the positive power of imagination, I began researching ways to engage wounded vets in a meaningful way in business.
All because of an abandoned bag of groceries.