When you feel like a dud, get perspective.


Over the past few weeks, my technology department has been dealing with one crisis after another. Almost all of them were out of my control but regardless an overwhelming sense of doom filled the pit of my stomach and self-doubt encroached followed by the inevitable “what ifs” that seemed to have taken permanent residence in my brain. If you watch the news, I’m not alone but I felt like a dud. In technology, there are literally over a million variables that come into play every day with over 10,000 devices including servers, switches, laptops, copiers, phones, Chromecasts, Apple TV and that doesn’t even begin to include the software compounded by infinite user actions. However, I was at Sherwood Elementary and someone asked me how things were going and I responded “Great!” What? How did that slip out? I quickly followed up my response with, “We’ve had a rough couple of weeks but it could be worse; we didn’t have an experience like Sandy Hook or Columbine and everyone is safe, so all in all, things are great.” To be honest, I’m not sure where I found the positive outlook because I’d been living in the gutter but after I said it, I suddenly felt better. Everyone has a bad day, a bad week, and sometimes even a bad year or two but how we view it and respond to it is what matters. We’re but a speck on the earth and are here for only a brief moment; make the best of every day and keep your perspective. Realistically, everything could always be worse.

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”
Og Mandino

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

An Excerpt copied from Marc & Angel Hack Life:

  1. Happiness escapes from those who refuse to see the good in what they have.  When life gives you every reason to be negative, think positive.  Let go of what you think your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciate it for everything that it is.
  2. The richest person isn’t the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.  Wealth is a mindset.  Want less and appreciate more today.  Be thankful for your life.  For your health, your family, your friends, and your home.  Many people don’t have these things.  (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Simplicity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  3. It takes courage to grow and become who you really are.  Don’t fear change.  You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.
  4. Most of your fears are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality. You’ll see this for yourself as soon as you face them.
  5. If you’re lucky enough to have two good options, always go with the one that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.
  6. Don’t stress about the closed doors behind you.  New doors are opening every moment and you will see them if you keep stepping forward.  And as you’re stepping, also keep in mind that we often waste too much of today by worrying about tomorrow.  Just be present.  Tomorrow will reveal itself exactly as it should.
  7. Every difficult situation can be an excuse for poor performance or an opportunity for excellence, depending on the perspective you choose.
  8. Even when it’s tough, wear a smile anyway.  Smiling doesn’t always mean you are happy, sometimes it simply means you are strong.  And YOU ARE.
  9. Growth is painful.  Change is painful.  But in the end, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you do not belong.  It’s always better to be exhausted from meaningful work than to be tired of doing nothing.
  10. Appreciate the gift of being able to work hard for what you want most.  And remember that nothing is really “work” unless you tell yourself that you would rather be doing something else.
  11. Do what you have to do, but leave space too.  Be flexible.  Don’t overbook your life with rigid plans.  Sometimes great moments happen unplanned and big regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned.
  12. Instead of getting angry over the words of others, choose to listen, be mindful, and grow stronger one way or another, because of them.  (Marc and I build mindful communication rituals with our students in the “Love and Relationships” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
  13. Life doesn’t always give you the people you want, it gives you the people you need… to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.
  14. The strongest among us aren’t those who show strength you can see, but those who have won incredible inner battles you know nothing about.  So be kind.  You can’t always see people’s pain, but they can always feel your kindness.  Being kind to people is a peaceful way to live, and a beautiful legacy to leave behind.
  15. Three things ultimately define you: Your patience when you have nothing, your attitude when you have everything, and who you help whenever you are able.
  16. Be humble.  Be teachable.  The world is bigger than your view of the world.  There’s always room for a new idea, a new step, a new perspective… a new beginning.