Worst Monday ever!
What a horrible week!

I used to work for a manager who facetiously responded to these phrases.
“Ok, so what happened? Did you get attacked and stung by a raging horde of flesh-eating wasps?
The newbies often reacted with a nonplussed look.
“Uhm, no! Of course not!”
Which was it? Wasps, or hornets? How badly were you hurt?”

Once he took some time to explain.
Bad stuff requires a name or a context.
Don’t use generalizations.
Speak to the bad stuff, and address it.
Something with a name becomes an entity you can quantify.
That which can be quantified can be nullified!
What an urban poet that guy was!

Are your Mondays always bad?
The latter implies the whole day is a bust!
Or are certain sections or partitions within the day enjoyable— Despite the initial generalization?

A day is twenty-four hours long.
So ask the question again, did you experience twenty-four horrendous hours, or maybe a few intolerable events?
Was it James who waited near the water cooler to give you some bad news about your project?
When “bad” gets broken down— When the bad stuff gets a name, you can face it.

Here’s a little thing I call the “Daylight tool.”
It works like this.
Picture a bad night you recently lived through.
Maybe your stomach was upset.
If you want to say, “Ok, worst night ever,” then do it.
If you insist that the whole night was an utter disaster, go for it.
But now, what happens when the day breaks?
Let’s assume you’re not feeling better.
Will you immediately proceed with, “Ok, worst DAY ever? Starting right now!”
Because it’s daytime, you need to adjust the context of your complaint.
There was a clear indication of a context switch between day and night.

You can start using the same tool for different situations.
Wait for a logical break in your experience of “badness!”
Once the awkward meeting is over, draw a line.
After reading the discouraging report, draw a line.
You might still feel “bad,” but you consciously drew a line between the proverbial day and night.
Those moments after the terrible events aren’t implicitly carried forward into more horribleness.
I never said it would be.
But with some practice, you begin living through “bad things”— Because you will never be able to handle bad things.
Handling them is often an illusion.
You can no more “handle” the waves in the ocean than you can learn how to contain them.
But you can learn to surf!
You already know how to live through most of the bad things in your life— You’re not new to recurring problems.
But you do need to chop them into manageable and recognizable pieces. Your job is drawing lines.

Riding the proverbial wave suddenly becomes a possibility— But only when you recognize that big wave as being different from the others that just bobbed you around.
That awareness kicks in when you draw the line.
If not, everything will appear to be conspiring against you.
But lo and behold, when bad stuff is not one blur, you might notice the waves, the big ones that can get you somewhere.

  1. Kevin 2 months ago

    Hi, save it in to the folder of valuable work expereiences from which we can learn. It doesn’t have to impact on your non-work life. Believe me!

  2. Author
    Matt LR 2 months ago

    That is a great take, thanks.💪

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