According to Shawn Achor in his bestseller “The Happiness Advantage”:  “When we focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us.”

These tools are drivers of the Positive Tetris Effect: happiness, gratitude and optimism.  Happiness: the more we see the positive – the better we feel.  Gratitude: the more opportunities for positivity we see, the more grateful we become.  Optimism: the more our brains see the positive, the more optimistic we’ll be.

During a January concert, I fractured a small bone in my right hand as my conducting arm enthusiastically came down heavily on a monitor.  Not really earth shattering to fracture a bone – but for me, I wasn’t sure how it would affect my work at the piano or as a conductor.

Immediately I felt the pain of my hand striking down on the waist high monitor – thought it was just a deep bone bruise.  X-rays showed no evidence of a fracture.  I continued to conduct and play piano – yet I felt tremendous pain just to shake hands.  Two months later, after a bone scan and more x-rays, it was revealed that there was a fracture.  A half cast was ingeniously built for my hand to stabilize my wrist allowing me to continue to conduct and play piano.

Again hardly earth shattering for most people – but not so for conductors or piano players.  I thought about the tools mentioned by Shawn Achor: happiness, gratitude and optimism.

I focused on the healing – on checking in with the specialist – readjusting the cast at the cast clinic to aid with the healing and aligning the cast contours for my piano/conducting routine.  (I played more left handed piano, conducted with a pencil held in my right casted hand.)

I decided that no matter what the consequence – if my hand needed surgery, if it needed to be cast for a longer period than four weeks – even up to a time of May performances – I would adjust.  I would “go with the flow”.

It’s the “positive tetris effect” approach – to make the best out of the situation.  The cast came off today – feels good.  I’ll work the wrist and hand slowly into shape again, a little work with a therapist with more dramatic work at the piano and conducting preparation for May concerts.   I just expect “good” results to be the overall outcome.

And over the course of the past four weeks … I’ve learned to fist bump, knuckle touch, power five, dap, spud, fo’ knuck, box, bust, give props, respect knuckles, bump the rock, brofist, pound cake and knuckle crunch.  Yeah!

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