We’ve all seen that guy standing on the side of a busy road, spinning a sign luring customers with their impeccable skills. So instead of looking at one, I decided to be one and see what it was all about. Taking into account my spinning skills, you could have as well removed the ‘spinner’ from the description. I was basically the sign-board. So for about a month, I decided to work as a sign-spinner for a phone company alongside my summer job. Not the most dignified job as most would put it. But I did it. Not because I had to, but because I wanted experience what it was like, to be looked at by passersby, and in return, to observe them myself. And like we can from anything and anyone, I learned a few things from my time as a sign (spinner).
1. People don’t care about you as much as you think they do.
People are way too caught up in their own worlds. They have too many things on their minds – be it paying bills, getting to work in time or making it to the restroom in time – to care about what you do or say. So just be yourself and do whatever it is that you want to do. People will not care in the end if you’re standing in the middle of a busy road walking around with a sign in your hand like you’re a nut-case or if you’re staring at them like a maniac. They will eventually get back to what they were doing in the first place without their thoughts about you affecting your life.
2. Dignity is a state of the mind.
How much you respect your own self is irrelevant to what you do for a living. What matters is what you make of the opportunities that you are given. There are millionaires and billionaires today who once lived on the streets and did any kind of work to survive. What got them to the point of amassing fortunes is that even then they believed in themselves, and in what they wanted. And as Martin Luther put it, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.” When you always know what you’re capable of and are willing not to back down till you get it, you are bound to get it.
3. Happiness is irrelevant to your job/pay.
When you have a job, it might be your dream job or it might not. Yes, you have the option of feeling shitty about your current job and shittier about that dream job you don’t have. You can either treat is a shit hole or you can see it as a pot of gold. And so, you can also look at your current job as a pathway to your future job. You can one day use your savings from the shitty job and create a business empire that you always dreamed of owning. Happiness is a process not a destination, and that process resides in the mind. There is no guarantee that a randomly chosen billionaire is happier than a randomly selected farmer.
4. The weather can be unpredictable and unpredictable is fun.
The weather can be as capricious as an old man’s waistline, especially when you have not taken a look at the daily weather forecast. Similarly, many things in life are unpredictable which when taken in good spirit always leads not only to something better, but also brings good light to that very situation. So go out there, learn to dance in the rain, enjoy the heat of the sun, and play with the snow, and not a single day will be sombre. Once you start seeing everything else in your life in the same way, what happens is what we call life at its purest.
5. People will judge you no matter what you do.
So that girl gave you a “What the hell are you doing with your life?” look. So what? It changes nothing for you what she thinks about what you’re doing with your life. They don’t know anything else about you or your life except that you were seen spinning a sign at that very moment. People are always looking to criticize others. Not because what you are doing is wrong or dishonorable. The truth is that when you’re seen doing something that other people know they are incapable of doing, or don’t have the guts to do it themselves, they will criticize you. Let people talk the talk while you walk the walk.
6. Positivity is not a creation of circumstance, but of the mind.
So what if I have to sit under the hot sun for a few hours? I’m getting a tan that many people would go to a tanning parlor for. And I am doing it while making the same money that they would be paying for it. Whoever planted that tree next to the street decided to do a whole lot of good to a lot of creatures including myself for that welcome shade. How you look at your situation, and how you decide to utilize it really depends on your mindset and nothing else. We all come across difficult times, but not all of us live out difficult lives.
7. Rehydrate. Rehydrate. Rehydrate.
Water is life. There is no greater medicine to man than the gift of the mighty H2O because when we drink water we are giving our body what is the basis for its existence. However, when over half of our body (50% – 75%) is made of water, it is also very easily to lose it. When you sit under the heavy sun for no matter what reason, your body will thank you at the end of the day for the water you quenched its thirst with. In fact it will thank you more than you often catch your mind thanking you for a bottle of fine whiskey. And apart from the commonly known importance of water, it can help your body in so many ways ranging from losing weight to gaining muscle.
8. Music is the Soul of the Universe.
Plato once said “Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination. and life to everything.” Mr. Plato missed something though. Music is, in fact, itself the the soul of the universe. No matter where you are, inside an office, at home, or on the sidewalks of a busy street, music can not only transport your thoughts to a different place, it can also transport your mind to a different state. And with the endless possibilities of music that can be created (unfortunately, including those of the likes of Nicky Minaj and Miley Cyrus), all it takes nowadays is a mere push of a button for you to chose where you want to go, from whatever it is you want to depart from.
9. People are inherently directed towards helping others.
People are all nice. They want to help each other. Some people might just not be aware of the goodness within them, but it does not mean that they are bad people. If people were not nice – be it sharing a sip of beer, a shot of vodka, a smoke, glass of ice-water or just a riddle about a monkey who lost his tail to a mere sign-spinner – they just would not be making good gestures towards a stranger. And the best part about this is that when you bestow an act of kindness on others, you will make them realize their own potential of kindness towards others.
10. Whatever you do, you have to meet certain standards, and then some more.
No matter what your job is, whether it is to manage a sports team, to entertain thousands of people live, to clean up an airport lounge, to run a store, or to be seen with a sign that directs people towards the store, you have to put in decent effort if you do not want to fail. And then once you’ve done that, you put in every ting you’ve got in order to succeed. Bruce Lee put it together like no one else has, “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”