A quick mindset shift can be the difference between a disaster and a delightful experience! Today I’ll share what an upsetting conflict between the TSA and my Native American flutes can teach us about reframing difficult experiences. Learn how to start focusing on what you want (instead of what you DON’T want) in tough situations so you can rapidly create a positive outcome.
Read transcript below:
Steve Napolitan: Welcome to More Business More Life Daily. And this week we’re going to talk about mindset, and specifically today I want to talk about how do we shift our mindset really, really quickly when we could go to a downward spiral and we can shift it to a positive. So recently I had a situation which caused me to possibly, and definitely affected me, so let me just get right into it, for those of you that don’t know, I’ve been playing the Native American flute for about a year now, and I like to practice every day. So when I’m traveling, I’ve been traveling with my flutes, I have two of them and I got a little case, it’s a hard case, but it doesn’t… I usually carry it on just to protect the flutes because I’ve got a D minor and an A minor and they’re tuned to those notes.
And so, they’re fragile and I want to take them with me. So I’m going through TSA, the security checkpoint here in California, and I’ve traveled with the flutes already now, over a dozen times internationally and domestically, and TSA person stops me and they have done this before and it’s fine, they take them out, they look at it, they’re like, “Oh, they’re flutes. Okay, go ahead.” But this time the woman grabbed my flute and she’s like, “I’m going to have to take a look at this,” and she starts tapping it on her hand. And I was like, “Whoa, hey.” I didn’t say, “Whoa,” but I was thinking that in my head. I said, “Excuse me, can you not do that with the flute?” And right away her face changed, she got really upset that I was correcting her.
She said, “You’re going to have to wait here.” She takes the flutes to go talk to somebody else, comes back and says, “Hey, you can’t take these, these could also be used as a weapon.” And I said, “Well, I’ve done this many times. Why is it so different now?” And she said, “Well, it’s to all of our discretion and today I’m telling you that you can’t take them.” And she was definitely upset, and then now I’m starting to get upset, I can feel it. And I said, “Well, these are fragile, that’s why I’m carrying them on.” And then she said, “Well, there’s bubble wrap out there, you can go ahead and wrap those up and check it.” And now this is an international flight and my family is with me and they’re all ahead of me already, and here I am having this situation and I can feel myself getting upset and I’m trying to reason with her like, “Hey, this has never happened to me before,” and nothing’s working.
And so finally I say, “Hey, since this has never happened to me before, I’d really like to talk to a manager.” And then she said, “You want to talk to a manager,” getting even more upset. And I said, “Yes, please.” And then she said, “Well, it might be a while.” And I said, “Well, let’s see what happens.” And so she says, “Come over here with me,” so I go over where she tells me to and she said, “I have to call a manager.” While she’s doing that, I start to notice myself like, “Hey, maybe I don’t even want to take my flutes, I’ll go put them in the car,” But then I realized we didn’t take a car because we were going to be gone a while, so we did a shuttle.
All of these things were thinking in my head and it was like all the things of what I could do because this is not going the way I wanted. And so then in that moment I said, “Wait a minute, this is not what I want. What is it that I do want?” And so I took a deep breath and I let myself calm down and I said, “What do you want?” And I said, “I want to take my flutes with me on the plane.” And so then I said, “I’m going to,” I switched it because one thing in our mind, it doesn’t know the difference between present tense, future tense, I’m going to, I’m not, it basically just fixes on the thing. And so if we could bring it to the present moment, which that’s in that moment, that’s what I said. I said, “I am taking my flutes on the plane,” and I just took a couple other deep breaths, I started to have myself calming.
She comes back over to me and she said, “Hey, you’re going to have to wait for the manager. I can’t tell you how long it’s going to take.” I said, “It’s okay, and I just want to apologize. I wasn’t trying to tell you what to do, but I just was, obviously,” I even said, “I noticed now how emotionally attached I am to my flutes,” and I wasn’t holding them then either because she took them away from me. So I said, “I’m attached to them and I just don’t want them to be fractured, that’s why I even carry them on.” And then she said, “Okay,” and it calmed the situation.
So I’m waiting, I’m breathing, and I’m being positive of what I want, not focusing on what I don’t want. And the manager comes over and says, “Hey, are you the one with the flutes?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Native American flutes?” I’m like, “Yes.” He said, “I play the Native American flute.” And I’m like already like, “Oh my gosh, how is this happening?” And he said, “I play the Native American flute and this is amazing. I want to see your flutes. I came over right away because I wanted to see your flutes.” And so I started, she already had my flutes out and then this one, he’s like, “Oh, is that a Guillermo flute?” And I said, “No, this is Todd Chaplain from New Zealand. A friend of mine told me that this is an amazing place to get flutes, so I got this one,” and we’re geeking out of the fluids, “How often you play?” I was telling him I play every day and he’s like, “So do I.” And he said, “I fly with my flutes as well,” and she’s there and he says, “These are musical instruments and when I fly, I fly with my flutes as well. And I would say that they’re okay, but you are the officer that’s dealing with the situation, so you have the final say.”
So it went back to her, and I’m so thankful that I had made that apology and just calmed down the situation. And I didn’t yell at her ever, but I definitely was getting upset. I think I still was able to calm the situation and then she looked at me and she said, “Okay, go ahead.”
And this all felt like eternity, all that’s happening, it felt like forever. But when I got my flutes and I was on my way to the gates, I was able to walk a little faster and I was able to catch up with my family as they were arriving at the gate. So I wasn’t held that long.And then, right then I was talking about how I love traveling but I don’t like going through the checkpoint, the security. And then my son says right away, he says, “What do you mean, Dad? Going through security’s the best part of the things, it’s an adventure.” He said, “What do you mean you like sitting, waiting for the plane? And then you like sitting on the plane?” He said, “That’s boring, you never know what’s going to happen at security, that’s the adventure.”
And then, again, my mind was blown. I was like, “Oh my gosh, talk about reframing the situation again.” And the rest of the trip, we did multiple countries on that trip, I had to go through security many times, and so I just remembered my son’s words and tried to make an adventure every time I went through security. So ultimately this is one of the best stories I have where it could have went all wrong and I was getting upset and I reframed, and what are the coincidences, this is why I don’t believe in coincidences. How could, out of all people, the manager plays a Native American flutes, of all instruments, it’s not like as common as other instruments. So just an amazing thing that occurred to me and so as you’re going forward in your life, when you start to notice something not going the way you want and you start have to get upset, it’s a great point to stop, acknowledge that it’s happening, it’s happening, but now ask yourself, what would you like?
And then focus on that. And that’s what I do more and more and more, and I was able to do it in a matter of minutes. And I really do think if I would have argued more, I would have been sent out with my flutes. So what do you want? And really focus on that. I hope that this was useful today, I know this video went a little longer, but I wanted to tell you this story. And as always, remember, choose gratitude and create freedom, we’ll see you in tomorrow’s video.