Last Friday, I had an awful day, one of those days that starts bad and gets worse, the type of day where everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong. Or did I?
I have been suffering from significant pain in my lower back and hip for almost two years and it has been getting progressively worse over the last year. I take quite strong painkillers to help me manage the pain and remain in work.
Friday morning I decided to wait until I got to work to take my painkillers. However I forgot to take them with me. My first thought on realising my error was “this is going to be a long day”. My suspicions were confirmed when before lunch I took a call from an extremely abusive client. Just before leaving for the day I received a call from a suicidal client who wouldn’t identify herself. Finally having arrived home, I realise I didn’t have my wallet. I couldn’t be certain I had left it in work, so I couldn’t leave it until Monday just in case it was lost or stolen, in which case I would need to report it missing. As we had guests my partner couldn’t take me back to work, and ordinary having took painkillers I wouldn’t have been able to drive myself. Thankfully, I was able to return to work and retrieve my wallet without too much disturbance to our evening plans because I had forgotten to take my painkillers with me that morning.
On the drive home it occurred to me what a lucky coincidence it was that I had forgotten my painkillers. I started to wonder if there were other ‘lucky coincidences’ that I had failed to see today as I had been stuck in my belief that it was a bad day.
Returning to the abusive customer, a colleague overheard the conversation and was able to advise me that in the future I could refer a general enquiry, not related to a specific case to our help line. This is useful advice for the future. I wasn’t able to identify the potentially suicidal client however a colleague whom she had spoken to earlier in the day recognise the situation she had described and was able to identify the client. This was especially lucky as that member of staff usually leaves early on a Friday. This allowed my manager to deal with the situation appropriately. Finally, the 40 min round trip to return to the office and home provided me with the much-needed quiet time to reflect on the days events.
What a Day!
So, was it a good day after all? Probably not, but it occurred to me that my belief that it was going to be a bad day made me focus on the bad things that happened and made it seem like an awful day. This reminds me of an exercise someone once asked me to do. I can’t remember when, where or why but it does seem quite relevant.
Take 60 seconds to look around the room you’re sat in and memorize as may red objects as you can. Try this now before you read on. How many red objects could you remember? Now without looking around again how may green objects can you remember. I bet it’s far fewer than the number of red objects you remembered. Are there really less green objects than red objects in the room, or is it just that you remember what you were focusing on. Have a look around I suspect there are a lot more green objects than you remember.
Perhaps this is really how the ‘law of attraction’ works. Does it really have anything to do with ‘positive vibrations’ or is it simply that if we focus on positive things we notice more positive things including the opportunities that present themselves to improve our situation and create more positive outcomes. Compare this with what I was doing which was focusing on the negative, and therefore seeing only the negative. If I do this everyday it is likely I will also miss and opportunities to improve my situation as I am not looking for them. In my post ‘A New Years Resolution’ I talked about how I have been practicing focusing on my successes no matter how small, and I think this change in attitude has allowed me to view my ‘bad day’ in a more realistic light. From now on, as well as focusing on my successes I will also look for the good things that happen in my day. The more I look for them the more I will notice and the better my days will be.