Monday, July 18, 2011

Have a Great Day! (The Choice is Yours)

     As educators I think we are all story tellers first and foremost. As a learner I find that I most connect with others who, in telling their story, also reveal some of the struggles they have dealt with. I don't relate very well to those who have an aura that indicates they have never made a mistake. I've also come to realize we are largely responsible for creating the world we live in or at least how we view that world.

     As I reflect on the school year that has concluded I know that I had way more good news than bad and yet I let the bad news consume me for a time. Not getting a job I really wanted knocked me for a loop. The time spent being disappointed detracted from enjoying other aspects of my life and that was a poor choice on my part. Especially when the end result was that I ended up having the opportunity to take on an incredible job that I would not have considered otherwise.

     I know it is easy to see what's wrong or missing but it does little to create forward progress. How we view the setbacks and respond to them is what allows for gains to be made. Research speaks of a 4:1 positive to negative ratio or the need to have four positive actions to outweigh the impact of each negative action. This is where we can exercise choice. Rather than looking at these five math statements  
3 x 5 = 15
10 – 6 = 4
2 + 7 = 9
11 – 8 = 2
12 / 4 = 3
and noticing that one is wrong, perhaps it is more prudent to notice that four are right. This by no means dismisses the notion that one of the solutions is incorrect. Instead it becomes a question of where we spend the bulk of our energy. Do you notice the one student without supplies or the twenty-four with them? Is our attention drawn to disparaging the tardy or honoring those present?

     I know each day I wake up and ponder the issues about to unfold, I have a choice to make. I hope I'll decide to have a great day more often than not. Seems better than the other option. 


  1. I ran through that negative funk a two years after a meeting in which you had to communicate the news to me that my role in the district was going to officially end. It took some time to put the positive thinking about the good things back into my head and I eventually realized that years and years of good news greatly outweighed the bad.

    Here's to you having a great day today, and many more to follow in your upcoming exciting new job.

  2. Thanks Bob. The day is unfolding as it should and I continue to process all that is before me (rather than what has already passed) so I can make positive choices. Looking forward to all the excitement of the new role and to having a chance to influence leadership development.

  3. I love this post. I have stopped labeling bad days as bad, rather I call them challenging days. With bad days, there's nothing you can do with them, and they can weigh you down like an albatross around your neck. By looking at them as challenging, I look to what I've learned instead - gives me something to work with and not be at the mercy of how a bad day can overpower my thoughts, mood, actions, etc.

  4. Thanks Erin. So often it is the frame we use that either prevents us from moving forward or pushes us to better things. Have a great one!

  5. What a breath of fresh air. I live my life focusing on the positive. Thank you to Erin Paynter for tweeting your blog. I had a same experience as you - not getting a job (or two) then getting a job where you need to be. Life is good!

  6. Thanks Kathy. It always strikes me how looking forward leads to the best outcomes.