“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
~E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web)
Who didn’t read – and love – Charlotte’s Web when they were young? And cry when Charlotte died? It is truly a classic, and there are many reasons why, but I believe one great reason is because of the messages the book offers – perhaps one of the most important messages being the one encapsulated in the quote above.
“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” Life, work, home, relationships – all of these seem to go better when we are aware of wonder. Situations seem easier; problems seem more solvable; other people seem more likable and connect-to-able.
When clients (or colleagues, friends or family) complain about a peer or manager, I suggest that they look for something to appreciate in the person they can’t seem to appreciate. That they look for wonder. When clients (or colleagues, friends, or family) are disengaged or frustrated at work (or at school or in relationships), I again suggest that they look for what is positive in their situation. What are they getting or learning? What can they learn or improve upon? What is good? Again, that they look for wonder. When clients (or colleagues, friends, or family) are in pain, or annoyance, or anger, I again suggest that they look for what’s good. How can they grow? What is still working?
Research has shown that when we look for the positive – when we look for wonder and awe – our peripheral vision expands and we can see more…and we can see more possibilities. When we bring awe and wonder into our lives, we increase our hope, and we can share that optimism and broadened vision with others around us. Which, again, brings more positivity and joy to our lives, and more energy and effectiveness to our work, our leadership, and our lives.
I specifically suggest to clients (and colleagues, friends, and family) that they list three things each day that went well – three “wins” or three things that they’re grateful for – and what they did to help those three things come about. By focusing on what went well or gratitude, this process increases wonder and awe, and by noting what you specifically did to move things forward for yourself, this process increases self-efficacy. This is truly a win-win combination.
Wonder is there for us to see; we just have to look for it. We have to look up from our frustration and annoyance, from our complaints and fears. If we’re on the lookout for wonder, wonder can fill our lives.
How have you found more wonder in your life, and how has it helped you?
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For support in finding the wonder around you, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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