My 7-year old son, Kai, was having a moment. He drew a birthday card for his grandfather that he was very proud of, and (although I’ve warned all my kids against this a thousand times) he left it on the counter near the sink. And, as expected, it ended up getting wet. Very wet.
He was, and I’m trying not to overstate this, devastated. End of the world, worst possible moment, tears literally streaming down his face.
So I sat down with him and told him, quietly, to “just breathe”. And when he began to gain control of his breathing, I told him my perspective on life.
“Things are going to happen in your life that are a bummer. No matter what you do, things will always happen that aren’t what you were hoping. It’s how you react to those moments that will determine how happy your life is,” I said.
Not sure this was getting through, I told him to go ask his mom two questions. First, ask her who the happiest person she knows is. Then, ask her why that person is so happy.
He left the room, and came back and sat on my lap. “Who did she say was the happiest person she knows?” I asked.
“You,” he said.
“And why did she say I was so happy?” I asked.
“She said you never let anything bother you. You bounce back from a bad thing faster than anyone she knows.”
I have a feeling I’ll have to keep reinforcing that lesson with Kai and the rest of my kids if I want them to have a chance to embody the “Bounce Back Mentality.” But I believe it quite possibly will be the biggest factor on whether they believe they have a happy life or not.
I was literally thinking about this a few days ago when I parked my car at the office. I had limited time so I had driven through a Starbucks on the way in, and as I picked the cup up from the cup holder, I could tell it was filled to the very, very top. Why on earth Starbucks does this, I do not know.
As I was holding the cup and starting to get out of the car, the pressure I was putting on the cup caused the lid to slightly pop open and coffee went everywhere. All over me and the car, and it was sue-your-company hot.
I jumped out of the car, let out of a very loud curse word (Cort, it had an asterick, don’t worry,) and looked down at the mess. I was not happy.
And then, I so quickly said to myself, “You know what, this isn’t a big deal. I drove past several people experiencing homelessness to get here. I’ll clean this up, and five minutes from how it will have made no impact on my life.”
And then I cleaned it up. And never thought about it again. But that would have ruined some people’s day.
I don’t know where I get it, but somehow I can bounce back like nobody’s business. You can’t get me down. Even when something really bad happens, something even worse than (GASP) spilling my coffee, I can very quickly say to myself, “Ok, this happened. It can’t ‘unhappen’. So now let’s deal with it, and here are some things that are actually positive from this experience.”
Maybe it’s because I’m an entrepreneur and there are always things going wrong, but I’m not so sure. I know plenty of entrepreneurs that struggle with this.
Try this. The next time something bad happens, try to very quickly put it in perspective. Think about the positives. Understand that it’s a small blip in your life, and likely isn’t the big deal it feels like. See if you can bounce back.
Let me know how it goes :)