Last time we talked about using words in a positive direction. Now, let’s talk about the mind.

I had a strange experience donating plasma this past Tuesday. I went through the initial screening process as usual, and waited for a bed on the donor floor. The way the process goes is that the machine extracts blood from the vein, separates the plasma from the red blood cells, deposits the plasma in a bottle (which the donor can see), and returns the red blood cells to the vein. When the bottle is filled,  and IV solution is injected to the vein – what I call “the cold juice” because the IV solution is cold enough that you can feel cold liquid entering your arm. (Being a polar bear, this is my favorite step in the process.) Generally, it takes about 8 minutes to complete one cycle, and it takes me 5 cycles to fill the bottle, and 3-5 minutes to receive the cold juice. An employee un-hooks you from the machine and bandages your puncture site up, and you are free to leave. Your payment is instantly deposited on a debit card you acquire at your first donation. For me, once I lay down on the bed, it’s about 45-50 minutes to complete the donation and exit the building.

On this day, I noticed my preferred phlebotomist Melisa was not on the floor. I was bummed. Melisa is leaving this location at the end of this month, transferring to a center much closer to her home in the next county. Oh, well, I thought, I’m sure one of these other people will hook me up just fine. I get my seat, and one of the other phlebotomists got to work on me. She had a bit of trouble getting the needle in my vein, but got it in eventually and I didn’t feel any pain. I go through 2 cycles, just a tad bit slower than usual, but no big deal. During the third cycle, everything goes much slower. The machine starts beeping. I wave for help, and Melinda, one of the higher-ranking employees of this location who I have a rapport with along with Melisa, came to investigate. My needle needed adjusting, which Melinda took care of. But a couple minutes later, everything stopped again. Melinda looks again, and says, “Melisa will be right here.” Turns out Melisa was actually on-site, but working in another part of the building. Melinda brought her to my bed, where she investigated further, tried to re-stick me in my left arm, and was unsuccessful because my veins in the left arm are too narrow. She asked me who stuck me originally, but I couldn’t say. Because of my low vision, I can’t read an employee’s name tag unless I’m within 3 inches of it. I said it didn’t matter, because sometimes things go sideways and you can only do so much. Melisa and Melinda must have apologized a dozen times between them, and I kept saying, “it’s one of those things; it will be OK.” Using the hand-held device they always use when checking a donor out, Melisa told me that the amount of plasma that had been extracted – a little more than half the normal amount – was accepted without deferral (that means I can continue to donate on my normal Tuesday & Friday schedule without interruption (when you are forced to stay away for any length of time, that’s called a “deferral”). I would also receive the full payment for the a-little-over-half-sized donation. I was just required to drink a small bottle of Power Ade and wait 15 minutes before getting up and leaving. Melisa tried to apologize again, and I said, “It’s all good.” She said, “You have a far sunnier disposition than most people that go through donations like this one.” I replied, “It happens. I’ve been in enough ‘customer-facing’ jobs to know y’all have to endure a lot, so getting upset only makes everyone’s day worse.” I was able to leave with no complications, and I’ll be back in there on Friday morning.

Later that morning I was doing my daily Bible study, which right now involves a series of devotionals prepared by Dr. Joyce Meyer. This particular one discussed “casting your cares on God” (1 Peter 5:7) and choosing to entertain positive thoughts instead of negative ones.

Then it hit me. Why was I so easily able to keep a positive mindset during the plasma donation gone awry, but I struggle so hard to do so in other areas, such as being a caregiver for my wife and dealing with the ups and downs (so far, mostly downs) of building a business? It’s because I made a choice during the plasma donation, and I don’t make the same choice at other times. I have to change the choices I make when it comes to what thoughts I dwell on. I must choose to believe my wife has no ill intentions (she doesn’t enjoy interrupting my work to ask for help with something), and that business will only grow from here, because my writing continues to develop and other businesses will see that, find what I do to be something of value, and will enter into a partnership.

What changes do you need to make to foster a positive mindset in your life or business?

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