In all honesty, I really wasn’t looking forward to it. We were only getting about four hours of total time in Paris which is like being dropped in New York City and being told to “enjoy all the city has to offer.” It’s impossible.
Additionally, never having been to any part of France before, I wasn’t expecting much from the people. I’d heard they didn’t care much for Americans and were rather rude. All-in-all, I was going to Paris on that first stop because I figured we’d regret it if we didn’t at least see it, but I wasn’t expecting to have much fun.
Can you guess how that visit to Paris turned out? It was awful. I didn’t enjoy it at all and I was in a lousy mood for most of the four hours. I thought the people were rude and thought the city was overrated. I couldn’t wait to get back on the bus and back to the ship. Paris turned out to be exactly what I expected.
Fast forward about three years and we had the opportunity to return to Paris. I really wanted to give the city another opportunity so, before our trip, I spoke to people who absolutely love Paris. I listened to stories from people who had wonderful experiences. I asked for their personal highlights and for the best things to do and see.
I decided to learn a few key phrases in French. I imagined Lisa and I sitting at a sidewalk café and strolling down old, cobblestone streets. I imagined us sitting on a picnic blanket on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower with a bottle of wine and a basket of breads and cheeses for dinner.
When we finally arrived in Paris, we fell in love with the city. In fact, it’s now my favorite city in the world (at least of those I’ve visited). The people were wonderful, the city was beautiful, and the experience was absolutely magical. So much so that we wished we had stayed a few extra days. I’m longing to return there soon.
Did Paris Change?
Here’s the obvious question: Did Paris change?
Of course not. Paris was the same city during the second trip as it was during the first trip. Nothing was measurably different except for my attitude.
This is the principle that I sincerely hope you apply to your life: You can’t live beyond your attitude and your beliefs. Period. It’s impossible.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” ~ Proverbs 23:7
In other words, what you believe to be true will be true. If you think something will suck, it will. If you think a person is going to be a jerk, they will be. If you think a job will be miserable, it will be.
Unfortunately, we often mistake cause and effect. We usually think our negative feelings are the result of a bad situation or person when, often, it’s just the opposite. Our negative feelings are causing the situation or the relationship to worsen.
What’s Your Paris?
Chances are good that you have your own Paris. There’s a situation, a person, a place, a job, or something else that “sucks” precisely because you’ve made it that way through your attitude.
I encourage you to take some time to own up to your faulty beliefs and poor attitude. Don’t blame anything or anyone but yourself. Just own it. Then, figure out what you could do differently to change the situation, job, relationship, or experience.
You may just discover what I did: Incredible opportunities and experiences are always found on the other side of an attitude adjustment.
Share Your Thoughts
Have you ever had a Paris experience? What was it? What happened when you changed your attitude? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Panoramas