Wednesday, May 27, 2009


“Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.”

---- Frederick Langbridge

You have more control than you know. Two people faced with the same situation can see it differently. If you see mud, then you will be unhappy and dissatisfied. If you see stars, you see the potential in each day, and a failure is merelya step closer to success.

I've just returned from another dog competition. This one was the American Working Dog Championships, where I rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in the sport of schutzhund. I try to be a "glass half full " sort of gal. Sometimes I succeed more admirably than others, but if you at least try to find one positive thing, chances are more will come your way. This doesn't mean that you grin your way through the day, making excuses (in a postive way) for lack of preparation. It means that, even astraddle those mistakes, you find a redeemablepiece that lets you focus on moving forward.

A woman I met at the trial asked how to deal with the anxiety of competition, being new to the sport. I gave her this advice: "Surround yourself with good people." I went on to explain that it is important that you select as mentors and friends, people who are supportive but who do not make excuses for their performance nor criticize others to build themselves up. To be standing in the wings, hearing person after person torn apart will not serve you well. It puts failure in your consciousness.

In any dog trial there are folks who will never be happy, who seem to seek out something they feel has wronged them to whine about. They will not be happy that the sun was shining. The grass will be too short, too tall or too hot. They will not admit to errors in their own preparation, and instead the judge will be prejudiced, the helper too slow or too fast. Al Govednik once reminded us in a seminar that we need to be happy with OUR dog's 100%. What my dog and I are capable of, as a team, may not be the same as Ivan. And perhaps even his dog will earn 96points only giving 80% effort. But if my dog gives me his 100% then I should celebrate that and be proud.

Look for stars. Encourage others around you to look for them, as well. When you hear people complaining, instead of nodding in agreement, find one positive thing and see how quickly the mood changes. If they elect to walk away and spread their toxic waste elsewhere, you've saved yourself. See stars.