About a year ago, I was out to lunch with my cousin at one of our favorite restaurants. I was starving and eagerly awaiting my food when I saw the waitress coming our way. To my horror, shamelessly placed next to the main course were sliced pineapples. How dare they ruin a perfectly good meal with this uninvited guest? See, for as long as I can remember, I've been anti-pineapple. It's got sharp edges, an odd scent, and an even weirder taste.
After staring at the fruit on my plate for a while and attempting (unsuccessfully) to pass it over to my cousin, I had a wild thought: What if I just ate them? People eat pineapples all the time. No one's died yet...I think. Before actually taking on this feat I prepared myself mentally. I decided I would like pineapples...But I hate pineapples. No, I would eat them and I would love them.
So, it turns out we are capable of manipulating our minds. Since that day, I've loved pineapples. I no longer eat them only when forced. I actually seek them out. I love how they look, smell, and taste. And to think, if it hadn't been for that sneaky restaurant, I'd be missing out on all that juicy deliciousness.
Since then, I've encountered many situations in my day-to-day life where the pineapple lesson applies. People have become very picky when it comes to their tastes, and not just about food. Being blessed with abundance has made us feel the need to have an opinion on just about everything. We feel we're expressing our individuality when we choose to like one thing and hate something else. I say "choose" because I believe that many of our preferences are arbitrary, not based on reason or logic, but on some superficial basis. Not only are we needlessly picky, but we're stubborn. We don't like the idea that we might be wrong or that our so-called preferences may simply be baseless personality quirks of our own creation, essentially figments of our imagination.
I admit I'm guilty of this quite often. For example, I am known to absolutely despise the singer Pink. If one of her songs comes on the radio, I must turn it off. If a friend says she likes her, I start to have serious doubts about our friendship. I will confess that this has nothing to do with Pink's talent or anything she's done. I just decided, long ago, that I didn't like her and that was that. Technically, I could apply the pineapple rule here...But I don't want to.
In truth, there are much more important lessons to be learned from my pineapple epiphany. How many times do we make our lives harder by refusing to get on board mentally? In my opinion, that's half the battle. A great example of this is work. People love to complain about work. It could be their boss, their coworkers, or a lack of passion for their field. Whatever it is, these people have chosen to hate their jobs. They drag their feet around day in and day out dreaming of the weekend, during which they will only complain that the start of the work week is fast approaching. That means that 5/7 of their lives will be spent feeling miserable and the other 2/7 will be spent anticipating the misery to come. Sounds just lovely, doesn't it?
What if you decided to love your job? What if you decided to take it seriously and commit yourself to nothing short of excellence? Needless to say, you would be happier and more content with your life. But the added bonus is that you would also be more successful. The same could be applied to just about anything. Living in Egypt, for instance, is not without its challenges. But moaning and groaning the whole way through, longing for the easy life won't make things better. Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, you have to make the conscious decision to like Egypt, to appreciate its charms and forgive its shortcomings. Again, not only does this give us peace of mind, but navigating life in a new place actually begins to feel easy and natural.
I believe that you can choose to love fruit. You can decide to love your job. You can decide to love a new, unfamiliar place. I even believe that you can choose to love your life. I know it sounds easier said than done. And in a way it is...But in a way it really isn't. It's simple: Love pineapples and they'll love you back.