Recently, I read a book that seemed focus on the possibilities, on living on the edge, taking risks, and reaching for the limit that cannot be reached. The book was entitled FISH! Tales. Now I'm reading the prequel, FISH!. Both these books are based on the World Famous Pike Place Fish market down in Seattle. Have you ever heard of World Famous Pike Place Fish?

If you haven't, then listen to this. In this market, fish are thrown from employee to employee and from employee to customer. The employees joke with the customers and everybody has a great time. If you head down to the fish market, don't be surprised to see fish sailing through the air! World Famous Pike Place Fish has a few things that many workplaces and schools lack or have very little of today.

First of all, there is CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE. Everyone always wants to do what they wants to do. This seems quite obvious, but it doesn't always work that way. For some people, searching for a new job involves too much time or energy, or for others, like kids who go to school, there simply isn't a choice. You don't have to do what you love. That's not what it's about. What it's about is loving what you do.

Right now, for example, I'm going to have to do a worksheet for my science class. This is an assignment that I have received, and I must to do it. It's nothing personal, but I don't necessarily love doing worksheets regarding the metric system. In fact, I can think of a lot of things I'd rather be doing, like talking on the phone, updating my website, listening to music, or going to bed quite early to make up for the sleep I lost last night. But that isn't in my hands.

True, I don't have to do my science homework. I could just shrug it off and suffer the consequences. But I've made my first choice already. I have chosen to do my homework. Perhaps this is because of ulterior motives, such as wishing to get good grades, but it doesn't matter, because it's a choice that I have made. It's much like the choice people make when they decide to go to work for the money.

But the second choice is much more important than the first one. On the flipside, however, it's a lot less obvious and a lot harder to make. As I said before, I would rather be doing something other than science hmework. So I could come to the assignment in a let's-just-get-it-over-with mood, and do a sloppy, cruddy job, or even an average job, or maybe even a pretty good job. But I'd still have the let's-just-get-it-over-with attitude embedded into the foundations of my homework, and I'm sure anyone would be able to sense it.

But instead of just wanting to get it over with because I am not doing what I love, I have chosen to love what I do. I have chosen to come to the assignment with a good attitude, and do the best job I can. I realize that, no matter what, I'm doing my science homework, so I could either make it average, or I could try to make it something more. Instead of reaching for the sky, I could try reaching past, and that is what I have chosen to do.

CHOOSING YOUR ATTITUDE. It's at the core of things. If you don't choose your attitude, then it's really all crap in the end. Yet choosing your attitude is a complicated thing. It's not as easy as it sounds, while it's a lot easier than sounds. When you choose your attitude, you decide how you're going to face things, and, with one simple decision, you can make a difference in your day.

Is it about always choosing to have a good attitude? No, of course not! That's not humanly possible. Everyone has bad days. But even if you're having a bad day, it's about realizing that you've chosen to be grumpy. And it's about not changing your attitude without choosing to change it. For example, if you've chosen to be grumpy and someone comes along and does something really nice for you, you don't have to be happy all of a sudden. In fact, don't be. First, tell yourself that you're choosing to be happy now.

Sounds like doggy doo-doo, doesn't it? Don't get happy when someone does something nice if you've decided to be grumpy? Sounds like stubbornness. But really, it isn't. Not choosing to be happy when you have a perfectly good reason to be happy over and over again is stubbornness, but in the end it's your choice. Choosing to be grumpy is self-empowerment.

Believe me, the flipside makes a whole lot more sense, though. Primarily because, most of the time, you're going to choose to be happy, or at least I hope so! And when you choose to be happy, just because someone spills coffee all over your new shirt doesn't need to make you angry. You can keep on choosing to be happy. It's a simple choice. Make it today.

Once you've chosen your attitude, a number of new possibilities open up. One of them is the second thing that World Famous Pike Place Fish has that many places don't: PLAY. Sounds inappropriate for a workplace, doesn't it? But it happens! At World Famous Pike Place Fish, they toss fish around and (playfully) tease each other and perform ventriloquism with fish.

When you start to play, it becomes a whole lot easier to choose your attitude. Even though you're not necessarily doing what you love, you're bringing love to what you do. When you're playing and having fun, not only do you work more efficiently, but you also have fun working efficiently, so you'll come back for more. Just because there aren't any fish to toss at your workplace doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities for play. There are always opportunities to have fun, at appropriate times, in appropriate ways. And though having to be appropriate does limit the possibilities, it doesn't really matter, since there are an infinite number of possibilities to begin with. There are still an infinite number of ways to play, even if the inappropriate ones are out.

But playing isn't just about you. It's about other people too.

When we include other people in our play, we make them happy, and it's memorable. In essence, we MAKE THEIR DAY. That's the third thing that World Famous Pike Place Fish has that a lot of other places don't: people who focus not on themselves, but on making other people happy. When you're trying to make other people happy, opportunities to do just that will appear.

And when you look outside of yourself, to the people you see from the outside instead of from the inside like you see yourself, then you will feel satisfied when you succeed in making someone's day. This satisfaction makes you happy. It's a win-win situation. Basically, making someone else's day can make your day. Make people happy, and you will be happy. It's that simple.

Lastly, BE THERE. Why do the fish dudes down at World Famous Pike Place Fish have such a great thing going? Because they're THERE. They could never have transformed their store from the mundane, life-sucking thing of a store it was into what they have now if everyone called in sick every other day. Sure, you have to choose your attitude to play and make their day, but all of that is really moot if you're not actually present.

But now you have to think of BE THERE in a broader sense. It's not just about being physically present, or even about being mentally present. It's about actually being there. Be there for people. For example, if you were a clerk at Safeway, being there would mean not just ringing up the customer's order while chatting with your buddy behind you, but being there for the customer. Conversely, if you're getting you groceries rung up, hang up your cell phone so you can be there for the clerk. Only when you're actually there in entirety will opportunities to make someone's day present themselves.

I highly recommend that you read FISH! and FISH! Tales, available from ChartHouse Learning. I have yet to hear of a business which practices the FISH! Philosophy but has unhappy employees or customers. Remember, a philosophy cannot be implemented, but must be practiced and believed.

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