When I was living in China, I had the pleasure of serving and gathering with other foreign teachers who were there to be ambassadors for good. Though there are many wonderful elements of the Chinese culture - hospitality, food, sites - being in a culture so different from home can be a challenge. At the beginning of each year, the returning teachers would hold a type of cultural and professional orientation to pass down tips and tricks for adapting and thriving. One year in particular, I remember a colleague challenging us to be fascinated instead of frustrated. That charge has echoed in my head and proven useful many times over the years. It has proven useful most any time I’m out of my comfort zone and in the discouraged phase: re-entry to my home culture, learning an organization’s culture at a new job, adapting to married life and motherhood, to name a few of the big ones. Fascination over frustration is really a choice to choose a positive perspective that can lead to discovery and understanding instead of frustration that keeps one bogged down in what’s different or going poorly. In reality, I don’t always remember to use this set of lenses. When I do, it helps me put myself in someone else’s shoes, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the insight gained.

What is or can be fascinating you these days? What benefits are you seeing from this positive perspective?