The record cold temperatures and snowfall have made this winter challenging even for those individuals that enjoy outdoor activities. By March, “March Madness” can accurately describe our mentality as well as that round orange ball game that monopolizes the sports channels this time of year. How can we stay positive amid the madness?
Last week I was in New York City conducting a two-day certification leadership program for a client. The training just so happened to coincide with the arrival of Winter Storm Thor. It was one of those trips that followed Murphy’s Law–if something was to go wrong, it did–culminating in an 8-hour drive through the Catskill Mountains at nighttime after flights to Buffalo were cancelled. What helped me get through the ordeal was to focus on one positive point each time something negative happened. It was the only way I could maintain my calm and peace of mind even though all seemed to be going wrong.
In life, bad things do happen to us:
- A tractor-trailer jack-knifes and we’re stuck in a traffic jam.
- The computer crashes and we have a project deadline to meet.
- The snow is melting on the roof and we have water damage.
- A loved one goes in for surgery and we are told there are complications.
Whether the situations are minor inconveniences or major life challenges, it is in these moments that we need to focus on what is going right versus what is going wrong. Complaining or acting out in anger and frustration are completely human reactions, but are unproductive and unhealthy. A positive mindset may not immediately change the situation either, but it helps us to move forward with a healthy perspective towards a productive conclusion or resolution to the problem.
Although Thor proved challenging to this trip, I made the journey home safely and very appreciative of all those trips when everything did go well. So when you feel you are going mad, take a moment, take a breath. Remember that no matter the situation at that given time, someone may have it better than you, but someone, somewhere most definitely always has it worse. When madness strikes, strike back! Look for the positive points and be thankful for the experience in its entirety.