Hump Day Wisdom: The Power of Presence

National PArks Service Photo of Scavanging Bear

I have visited Yosemite perhaps a dozen times.  For all the talk and warnings about bears, I have never seen one- even in the back country.  That is, never until last week.

I have always loved my image bears as fierce masters of the wild, hunting and foraging where they chose and proudly holding their spot at the very top of the food chain.  But this bear was none of that.  It was smallish, thin and all but un-noticeable, except of course because it was a bear on the valley floor.  This was no wild master of woods and meadows, but a prideless scavenger, wandering the Yosemite Valley floor in search of trash or handouts.

The squirrels, raccoons, birds and other smaller wildlife are regularly hand fed by the thousands of people who visit the park.  It happens because we think of them as cute and cartoonish.  But I do not think anyone is hand feeding a bear, even a small one.  That means that we have changed the animal not by actively intervening but merely by our presence.  This is not a tirade about how evil land grubbing humans have ruined the bear as a species.  But seeing this poor bedraggled creature did get me curious about how we change others just by our presence.

We all know how someone can change the tenor of a room through anger or petulance.  What about through optimism?  How about through pessimism or naiveté?  Perhaps the better question is, “How do I impact others just by my presence?”  Am I a positive influence?  Do I add value where I can, and learn about topics when I offer no expertise?

What do you notice about what people expect from you?  If you do not know, then observe yourself and them for a few days.  You will learn what you have trained them to expect.  More importantly, what do you want them to expect from you?  What can you do beginning this HUMP DAY to retrain their expectations?  How do you want to impact others and the environment by your very presence?