I was recently on a flight to Orlando for a client. My first in-person workshop in more than 2 years. I wasn’t thrilled with my flight selection as I was getting in at 5:55 p.m. and that’s a bit later than I prefer.
When I travel for work, I like to arrive early enough to get a workout in, grab dinner and relax and then get to bed early so that I’m rested and energized in the morning.
I got to the airport and was notified that the flight was delayed by 2 hours and 10 minutes. That meant that I would have to hurry if I was going to be able to eat in the hotel restaurant, which I wanted to as there’s not much around that particular area.
But, I thought, “well, I can get some more work done as I’m waiting.”
Then another text alert: the flight has been delayed another 3+ hours and won’t even depart until nearly 8. Dinner is now off the table.
Then, miraculously, another text alert: the flight is boarding. They quickly get us boarded, the captain flies around the storm and we arrive in Orlando ONLY 20 minutes later than our original arrival time. Everyone is thrilled!
Including me. Remember how I was less than thrilled because I like to get in early so I can do a workout and early dinner? I still didn’t have time for the workout and early dinner but now, I’m no longer bummed about it but I’m excited by my “extra”time I have versus getting in at 11:00 at night.
Nothing really changed.
Except my thoughts.
As we were deplaning, I was chatting with a fellow passenger and he commented that if the flight had just been 20 minutes late, people would have been complaining. BUT because we all thought we were facing roughly a 6-hour delay, a 20 minute delay seems like a win and we are all happy.
Think about it: we were still 20 minutes late. That’s a fact: we arrived 20 minutes later than our scheduled arrival time. But no one complained. Everyone was happy.
The only thing that had changed is how I – and others – were thinking about those 20 minutes.
My thoughts are NOT facts.
My thoughts are opinions about the circumstance.
What a powerful tool that we can use. What we think about something affects how we feel about something, which in turn affects how we act.
I’m not saying that “bad” things never happen. But, often a relatively neutral thing happens, and we make it “bad” by how we think about it.
I don’t know about you, but there are enough truly “bad” things out there that I don’t need to turn neutral things into worse things than they need to be so I do my best to notice – and change – my thoughts.
Bad vs. Neutral – There is a flip side to everything. But the majority of the time, a neutral event takes place, but we color it in a negative light because of the way we think about it.
Think Twice – You don’t need to make things that are already neutral into things that are worse than they need to be because there are already enough things in the world that are actually awful.
You Decide – Make an effort to become aware of and adjust your mental processes. If anything is neutral, then it is, by definition, neutral. You don’t have to make it into something terrible if you don’t want to.