The right mindset is so necessary for encountering the various peaks and valleys of life. Being a "the glass is half empty" or "the glass is half full" kind of person can make all the difference in how one approaches circumstances, responds to the new challenges or exploits new opportunities. The optimist will not only be more aware of opportunities that the pessimist cannot see, but might even create some of those opportunities as well. Some will say, "but it's hard for me to be optimistic when I cannot see the positive outcome." Granted, not all are visionaries that can imagine, and picture in the mind what grand results will emerge from humble beginnings. However, consider the plight of heroes in popular adventure movies, who cannot see the victorious outcome that will be revealed after all the struggle. They continue forward without knowing that the damsel will be rescued, the village will be saved and the villain's evil plot to take over the world will be thwarted. Inspired by conviction, that the struggle is right even though the outcome is uncertain, they press on through the various obstacles and dangers. This is summarized in one my favorite quotes from Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when asked how he will keep pursuing the Ark. His response? "I don't know. I'm making this up as I go."
I now live in Houston and work at the College of Biblical Studies - two realities that I could have never predicted mere months ago. In addition, we attend a new church and are making new friends both there and at work. I suspect we'll make more friends in our neighborhood and at the fire department. A whole new life will be carved out in a place we did not see ourselves until it occurred. Vision is overrated when one can't really see around the corner. All that can be entertained and decided upon is what attitude and mindset will be in place to meet the new life events.
Therefore, the chief mindset I am disciplining myself to maintain right now is to have an adventurous spirit. Along that line, because I'm heavily influenced by music, I spend a lot of time right now listening to music that will encourage that adventurous spirit. My music collection ranges from movie soundtracks, to classical, to country and rock. Not all of it encourages the same mood though. Some of it expresses isolation, such as the score to Cast Away. I played that music in my iPod as I packed to come here to Houston. Some of it expresses discovery, such as the score to Angels & Demons. I played this in my iPod when I first drove to visit the CBS and DTS Houston campus three weeks ago. Other music expresses the playfulness I feel when wrestling with my kids or engaged in a pillow fight with them. I play music from Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Man's Chest) when I really miss my kids and want to "feel" them through the music.
However, I have music that really keeps me in the adventurous spirit. Oh sure there are the obvious scores to the Indiana Jones movies (all four of them), The Mummy, National Treasure, Sahara or Armageddon. But sometimes I need a little more convincing. The sliver of resident cynicism within me needs more subtle persuasion than the bombast of heroic themes. Perhaps one that communicates preferred outcomes through messy struggle. Lately the score to Blood Diamond has met this need. I play it on my iPod when walking through the neighborhood where I'm staying, while getting ready for the work day or winding down.
Music is so important, it not only expresses the mood, but can influence it also. I advise people to choose their favorite music carefully, for its power can be wielded toward non-preferred ends as well. Those experiencing depression should possibly lay off Blues music, or possibly scale back on Rob Zombie if they're having trouble concentrating. That's just my opinion.
For now, I have plenty of music at my disposal to help maintain the best attitude regarding all of our new adventures. The adventure music reminds me to keep on my toes, with heightened senses ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will emerge that we could not have foreseen.