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By Michael Angier

But What About When it's NOT a Great Day?

“Peter” from Oklahoma, wrote to me with a question about last week's article on making every day a great day.

It seems that on a recent flight, his luggage was lost, and it took 36 hours to recover it. The airline was somewhat apologetic but unwilling to provide any compensation—not even a few extra miles on their frequent flyer program.

Peter said, "I'm having trouble finding a way to see a positive side to having the airline lose my luggage. Yeah, I can look at it positively by accepting poor service, but what does it teach me and the company? Put up with whatever corporations will give you and love it? So how do you turn that into a good day?"

It's a good question. And I may not be able to answer it to his—or your—satisfaction.

But most of us have been in Peter's position. We've all been inconvenienced and frustrated when it wasn't remedied to our satisfaction.

There's some advice from the Bible that says, "Give thanks in all things." Notice it doesn't say, "FOR" all things. We don't have to be grateful FOR everything that happens. But our experience is mostly dependent upon our point of view.

There might be some positive aspects to our luggage being lost, but not likely. It's usually a bummer.

But we can be grateful IN all things. If our luggage truly does not arrive at its intended destination at the appropriate time, there's nothing we can do about it. It's done.

What we CAN do something about is how we respond. It's a fact the luggage isn't there. And it's undoubtedly true it will be unhandy to be without it. But from that point on, what meaning we assign to the experience and the actions we take or don’t take is up to us.

If we choose to indulge our anger at the airline (for this and all previous transgressions), we manufacture harmful chemicals in our body that can only make things worse. We reduce our resourcefulness and often become unpleasant to be around.

If there's something we can do about the situation, we should do it. If not, we need to accept what is and make the best of it.

It's not always easy, but that's how we keep this and every day from being a bad day.

If our focus is on what's wrong, that's what will grow. If our focus is on what's right and/or what can be done, then that will increase. There are many things outside of our control, but there are also many things we DO have control over.

A little over a hundred years ago, a trip across the country took many months, and if more than half the travelers made it alive, it was considered a successful trip. Today, people get upset if their flight is delayed a couple of hours or their luggage is lost.

I'm not trying to make light of Peter's situation. Nor am I making excuses for the airline not doing a better job or making things right when they messed up. But in the whole scheme of things, it really is small stuff. It's us that make these things into big things.

Lost luggage is nothing compared to finding out your wife or husband has been diagnosed with cancer. It's nothing compared to finding two uniformed officers at your door with news your son or daughter has been killed in action. We have to put things in perspective.

There are easy days and there are hard days. We all have good days and bad. But when we maintain our perspective, when we do our best with what we have, when we overcome the tendency to blame and when we're able to remain calm when most others are freaking out, I think THAT'S a great day.

. . . . .

NOTE: we encourage you to check out a very unique product called, Make Every Day a Great Day!






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Last Updated 02/14/2005