Friday, January 30, 2015

You Had a Bad Day

Back in 2005 the “Bad Day” song by Daniel Powter became a hit. In fact it became the most successful single release of 2006 and the first song to ever sell 2 million digital copies in the United States. (Wiki) I guess he hit a nerve.

We are all going to have bad days. That is a given in life. Obviously some of them are worse than others. Some of them are largely our own fault. Some of them were caused by forces beyond our control. The world is such a complex interconnected place sometimes it seems just about impossible to understand why what just happened—happened.

But we do live in a cause and effect universe. Even though we are affected by causes outside of our control or even the random events found in the extreme tails of a normal distribution, there is always something we can do to better our own situation and to be a blessing to others.

First of all take a deep breath and open your eyes. The world is the way it is. Pretending otherwise won’t help the situation. Before you can improve your situation you must understand your situation. There are unwise mental states that make understanding just about impossible. Of course these unwise mental states are our natural reactions to bad days.

Extend mercy to yourself. This is very hard, but blame, guilt, or shame are not likely to improve your decision making process. Extend mercy and forgiveness to others. Nelson Mandela observed, “Resentment is like drinking poison and the hoping it will kill your enemies.” Wise actions are more likely to rise out of mental states like love, peace, and joy than hatred, resentment, and blame.

Now look deeply into your situation. Keep asking the question, “Why?” starting with your motivation. Was your intention good? I am assuming if you are reading this blog you are not a thief or a swindler. Most likely your intentions were good. Sometimes our best intentions just go awry. Spend all the time you need to better understand the problem.

Once you feel that you understand the problem you will be ready to propose a new solution. This quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein, but who knows? “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Remember a plan consists of a series of actions. Some of these actions can be done at the same time. Some of them will need to be done one at a time. Once you start listing the actions required to reach a goal, you will be developing a schedule as you estimate the time required to complete each task. Now you have a plan and a schedule. Since we live in a material world, it is likely that most of these tasks will require some expenditure of money. Now you have a plan, a schedule, and a budget.

It is time to implement your plan with patience and persistence. This is where the teachers of “mind science” typically fall short. Yes, intention is the beginning of all things. Yes, visualization can lead to results in the material world. No, sitting on your behind and waiting for the universe to give you your desired results isn’t going to work. You need to take action. Sometimes you will need to hit that rock with your hammer more than once before it starts breaking up into manageable sized pieces.

Finally, as you continue on your journey, take account of what you are doing as well as your results. Are you following your plan? Are you on schedule? Are you within budget? Are any of these questions really important? If things are not working out as you hoped, go back to the beginning. Look into your own heart. Then reexamine the problem. Refine your solution and keep moving forward.

Don’t beat yourself up. Always remember, this too shall pass.

And you are having a bad day, maybe the song will bring a smile to your face.

The Bad Day Song

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