Every Day, Everywhere, something not so great happens to someone…
John woke up late on Tuesday. He missed his bus and was well over an hour late starting his commute to Wall Street! His whole day was ruined.
Mr. & Mrs. Harrison got a notice from the IRS that they owed $350,000 in back taxes due to a clerical error. They know they filed correctly, but now they fear the IRS will hold them to something they don’t owe and can’t afford.
Lola spilled hot coffee on her lap while driving to school. She ended up almost getting in an accident, and then had to stop and buy new clothes. This was a delay and expense that she didn’t need right now.
Rafiq discovered a broken frame and glass on a family painting. It happened while he was moving to a new location, 1,500 miles away! This was an irreplaceable piece of art.
The reality is that things like this do happen every hour of every day. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment and with concern over how to fix the situation, it’s easy to focus on the negative. Some might call it pessimism, being realistic, staying grounded, seeing what’s right in front of you. All of these are ways to describe and rationalize the “negative” perspective.
What are we doing to ourselves, though?
“Poorly-managed negative emotions are not good for your health.”
Karen Lawson, MD
In fact, when we stay on the negative side of a situation, we affect our immune system, increase our stress levels, and put ourselves at risk of cardiovascular disease or other health conditions. That’s not even addressing what we do to the people around us!
My husband has an interesting way of dealing with stressful situations… he hisses (sighs loudly and often) and he clicks his teeth. The more stressed he is, the louder and faster the clicking. You can image how that can elevate the heart rate of anyone who lives outside his head. Therefore… his stress can directly translate to stress for me.
Look on the Bright Side… Riiiight. How?
It can be very hard to find that positive side of a situation… especially when you are in the middle of it! However, I encourage you to look for it… practice it… always stop, breathe, and consider that no matter what IT is, it could be worse.
Let’s take another look at the scenarios and situations we started off with. In hindsight, this is the positive side of what took place…
John’s bad commute day occurred on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Because he overslept, he wasn’t in the City when the attack on the Twin Towers took place. Unexpectedly, he was safe from being in the middle of that horrific experience.
Mr. & Mrs. Harrison submitted the notice and their self-prepared taxes to their Accountant who not only confirmed there were no taxes due, but actually found a few missed deductions. They were about to receive an unanticipated $500 back from the IRS.
Had Lola taken a sip of her coffee she might have ended up with 3rd degree burns on her mouth. The situation caused her to pull off the road, avoiding the 5 car pile-up that was two miles ahead. Plus… she ended up with a really cute outfit!
When Rafiq took the art to the local frame shop to see what could be done, he was informed that mold was actually developing between the print and the back of the frame. They caught the situation in time, and were able to eliminate the mold and include a moisture-prevention barrier in the new frame. Had the glass not needed repair, the print would have been lost forever.
None of these positive outcomes were readily apparent while each situation was taking place. Yet, there they were… Incidentally, each of these is a true story. (Names and some details have been changed to protect identities!)
Keep these stories in mind the next time you face an unpleasant situation. While you may not see it at the time, there is a positive outcome that you will realize if you open your mind.
Don’t just Pay it Forward…
…Spin it Positive.
What story do you have that makes this very point? What took place in your life that started out negative, but ended up being amazingly positive?
Join us and share your story! Be sure to include our hashtag #spinitpositive so we can all share in your inspiration!