Wherever you go, there you are

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Wherever you go, there you are. This is something my wife has said to me many times throughout our 13-year marriage. Typically I would just smile and nod, pretty much ignoring her. However, I've realized I never really understood the concept ... until recently.

The concept is really quite simple. No matter where you go in life, you are who you are.

In my 10 years in the military, I have seen many people try to leave an assignment as soon as they got there. From day one, they pointed out all the bad things about the place and their co-workers. It seems some would practically sell their first born child to get out of there.

The sad truth is it typically doesn't matter where these people go; they are always going to be unhappy. They could be stationed at their dream assignment and find all the same problems they had at their last assignment. This cloud of negativity will follow them all the way to retirement; and eventually to civilian life.

You can't always run from your problems because sometimes the problem is you. If you have a crappy attitude, you will have a crappy day. If you have a crappy day, you'll have a crappy night. If you have a crappy night, you'll wake up in a crappy mood. And the cycle carries on and on.

Our ability to grow as individuals is usually hindered by our inability to take a good, hard look at ourselves. If we're not willing to do that, the cycle will continue. And it will ultimately affect those around you.

Everyone has worked with a "Negative Nancy" or a "Donnie Downer." There's always the person who talks to the new guy and tells him all the bad things about the office, base or country they're stationed in. How is he supposed to have a subjective opinion about the place when that opinion was just made for him?

On the flip side, there are people who come into work every day with a smile on their face. You never hear a negative word come out of their mouth. They just seem to enjoy life and that has a way of permeating through the entire workspace. Even the darkest attitude seems to lighten up a little. While negativity is infectious, smiles are contagious.

The military affords us the opportunity to grow as individuals. In our travels, we will meet people who will impact our lives in many different ways. We will be met with adversity and become better people for it. We see things many non-servicemembers just can't comprehend. There are millions of Americans who never even leave their state.

I challenge you to look in the mirror and honestly see if you are the "Negative Nancy" in the office. Are you the one bringing others down? If you're really willing to grow, ask someone for their honest opinion of you. Don't go down this street though unless you are truly ready. Not everyone can handle criticism. You may not like what you hear, but what's important is what you do with the information. If it helps you to be a better person, maybe you should listen.

Embrace change. If we as servicemembers can do that, our lives will be much better for it. Remember, wherever you go, there you are.