We spend a lot of time in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a great thing, but can be subjective, based on circumstances. Joy brings a deeper sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Joy is foundational; a sense that all will work out, even when the immediate circumstances aren’t going the way we would like. – Ian McKenzie
Whether you agree with Mr. McKenzie or not, a day that started badly might as well end so. Mishaps may pile up like domino stones leaving you angry and exhausted. And when you are angry and exhausted you are inclined to make mistakes that would only amplify your negative state of mind.
Imagine you are on your way to the airport. You got caught in a traffic jam and almost missed your flight. When you finally arrived at the check-in counter they told you that the first class was full and that you have been downgraded to coach. You’ve got a middle seat and a clumsy stewardess spilled red wine on your white shirt. Short before landing your plane ended up in a holding pattern. You missed your connecting flight and had to spend four hours waiting for another one. When you finally arrived at you destination you realized that the airline lost your luggage. As if this was not enough, the receptionist at your hotel told you that there was no room reservation in your name and that the hotel was already fully booked…
Depending on how bad things really are, we may feel powerless. This happens when we relinquish our power and attribute more importance to the situation that it really deserves. No matter how awful the mishap and its assumed consequences, we should always feel in control and look for alternatives. And no matter how emotional we may feel in the very moment of the “catastrophe,” we should at least try to stay calm and assess the situation. We should take a clear look at what happened and why, so that we can learn how to avoid another such or similar mishap in the future.
We learn from our mistakes. We also learn to understand that any minor or major mishap has the potential to affect our mood or even spoil our day. Once we know and understand it we can learn to control our responses to external factors.
One thing a yesterday’s mishap should not manage to do, however, is to spoil the joy of today’s morning cup of coffee and the pastry that comes with it. Easier said than done, but not impossible. We can learn to begin our day with joy and start a chain reaction of a very different kind. This might be the most difficult thing you do every day but as my husband says, “Do not allow a person you don’t even know to control your emotions.”