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“I am bold. I am brave. I am confident. I am supreme. I am courageous.”

January 9, 2015, 1:22 PM

When I was in training to be a bus operator, about half of the program involved going out with seasoned operators on their regular runs, and actually driving in revenue service, i.e. taking real passengers where they need to go (as opposed to driving an empty bus around with the “TRAINING” sign set).  During that time, I joined ten different operators on their runs, and learned a number of different bus routes.  It’s also where I came up with the idea that great bus operators don’t just happen, but rather, they are formed through the help of many, and lends credence to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

However, the one point that sticks with me most from this part of training is something that I learned on the first day with a seasoned operator.  This particular operator put a strong emphasis on positive thinking, and encouraged me to say the following affirmations to myself each morning:

I am BOLD.

I am BRAVE.

I am CONFIDENT.

I am SUPREME.

I am COURAGEOUS.

And, truth be told, it works.  My normal weekday assignment begins with a lengthy deadhead (i.e. going somewhere without picking up passengers), and I remind myself of these things while I’m doing that first deadhead.  It helps me get in my zone, it pushes out the negativity, it calms me down, and it’s a good reminder that no matter what happens on the street on a given day, I can surmount it.

I’ve also learned to appreciate the amount of destructive force that negativity brings.  It’s toxic.  If you think that you can’t do it, then you’re not going to do it, simple as that.  I have a rule when it comes to working on this website, in that when I find myself in certain mental states, I am not allowed to touch the site.  Those states are intoxicated, sad, and upset.  On the first one, I don’t drink that often, and rarely to the point of “drunk” (one or two beers, and I’m done), but still, no one wants anyone drunk-blogging.  But sad and upset don’t work, either.  I admit that I’ve violated this rule a few times over the years, and it’s pretty clear when I’ve done so.  But in general, I don’t work on the site in those states because I don’t want to spread negativity.  If I had taken a negative attitude back in 2011-2012 when I was converting the entire site to WordPress, I don’t think I would have made it, and the site would still be a hodgepodge of different setups that would make big changes cumbersome.  But I told myself that I could do it, and it was done.

Same thing goes for people.  I want to surround myself with positive people.  I left Food & Water Watch in part because the negativity that emanated from that place had become too much to bear, to the point where it started to consume me.  Seriously, my life for about four or five months in 2013 was where I dreaded coming into work each day, and even my weekends were haunted by the fact that I had to go back into work on Monday.  It was a miserable existence, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  When I put in my resignation, it was as if a weight had been lifted.  Even though I didn’t know what the future held for me just yet, I knew that the negativity had to go, and I knew that there was a place for me somewhere that was a better fit.  It took much soul searching to find where my real home was, and after several months of unsuccessful job searching in the nonprofit sector, it became clear that the nonprofit sector was not where I belonged, especially with the realization that it was not a long-term solution.  What was to say, after all, that I wouldn’t be back on the job hunt again in a few years?  It clicked with me in October of 2013 that, as a transit nerd, transit was where I belonged, and I pursued it.  It was like a ray of sunshine, as I now had a clear goal, and I made it happen.  No more negativity.  This is your goal, and yes, you are going to do it, and that’s all there is to it.  I want to say “yes” as much as possible, and leave any negativity behind.  Oh, and doing something that I enjoy as the “promoted fanboy” means that I’m getting paid good money to have fun every day, while providing exceptional service to the riding public.  I like to say that since I’ve been driving professionally, I haven’t “worked” a day yet.  The whole thing energizes me, even late at night after my sixth trip down the same street.  After all, I can leave work every day with a genuine smile, and that’s something to be proud of, since not everybody can claim that in their work.

And if you don’t believe me when I say that I enjoy what I do, and enjoy all of the positivity that resonates from it, ask my friends.  They could probably tell you that I could talk all day about what I do, and do so with a smile.  I actually have to consciously remember that not everyone is as into what I do as I am, and thus ramp it back a bit to avoid making them crazy.

So I guess what I’m saying is, don’t let negativity get you down.  If you find yourself surrounded by negativity, push it out.  Positive thinking will get you much further in life than negativity.  When faced with a challenge, you have to see yourself rising up to meet it.  Snap, clap, and chuckle, as they say.  And just keep reminding yourself: “I am bold.  I am brave.  I am confident.  I am supreme.  I am courageous.”  And make it so.

Categories: Work

  • Nelson O

    Hello Schumin!

    I read your article and I must say I agree with you and appreciate your advice about removing negativity.I am also a Transit nerd,ever since I was a little boy I have always enjoyed riding metrobuses and always imagined myself in the seat,I always keep track of bus models and which garages there located at and which fleet such as Orion V are being retired and I have made friends with many operators at metro.I have been in the same position I dreaded going to my job at the airport.I knew I needed a change and then I considered metro.I always wanted to drive the metrobus and I told my self it does not hurt to apply in which I did and pursued my learners permit and obtained my cdl.Passing the md cdl test made me feel like a new person,I was very happy and pleased to know i passed all the requirements to join metro.I begin training in March and your words of encouragement will be with me throughout training and the start of a new career.

    • That’s awesome, congratulations! Please message me through the contact form so we can chat further. Would love to hear how things go.