Mindset vs. Life’s Obstacles

Person over obstacle

What do you do when a wrench is thrown in your plans or your day?  Over the last two weeks, I have had two separate occasions when life decided it was going to re-route my day.  Normally, situations like these would lead me to blow my top.  As I have been actively focused on creating a positive, peaceful environment for myself, I consciously took a new approach and it is paying dividends.  This new approach is all about actively changing my mindset, the way I view these situations, and my response.   The result?  A positive and joyful day instead of a day lamenting how my plans have been completely hijacked.  


The first situation I encountered was a train delay.  I often take the train into the city and despite much effort put forth by the transportation agencies, they have been plagued with many issues of late.  Living in the Northeast, this time of year can be bitterly cold.  As luck would have it, on the coldest day of the year, the trains were operating with severe delays and all passengers were being re-routed utilizing alternate modes of transportation. 

I had heard about the delays as I was driving to the station and immediately I went into planning mode.  I considered my alternative options – I could drive to another train station and potentially avoid the issues or I could drive into the city and fight traffic, or I could do nothing and roll the dice.  I decided on the last option and simultaneously decided that this train ride was going to be an adventure!  I got on the train and was shortly switching to buses and back to trains, and waiting on platforms for much longer than originally promised.  My normal hour ride became a two and a half hour ride.  While other people were loudly grumbling and shouting at the conductor, I happily joked about the day ahead. 

The second event was when I realized that I had accidentally triple booked my children, Jim and I on a Saturday.  My immediate response was, ‘No problem!  The expert planner is here!’  Within minutes, I came up with a way to keep all of our commitments.  Of course it involved a bit of finagling, but we had a plan!  No less than twenty minutes into that plan, 1 of the 3 commitments was cancelled, derailing the entire orchestrated day.  That didn’t derail us though.   We moved some things around and BAM, we were back on track. 

Thirty minutes afterwards, the 2nd commitment was rescheduled and fifteen minutes after that, my daughter got sick in my car.  This was all before 10AM on a Saturday, people.  Instead of freaking out or being convinced that the Universe was out to get me, I calmly messaged my husband and requested that he hurry home because our agenda was now null and void..  Our day had just been re-rerouted.


I come from a place where people’s emotions run high, where everything is loud all of the time, where getting angry and annoyed is the go-to reaction.  Jim likes to torment and tease me about this all of the time.  Ten years ago, I probably would have slugged him for all of the teasing but now, I can laugh too.  This is what it looks like.



In order to choose my mindset and my response, I have had to consciously and deliberately re-train myself.  This is not a set it and forget it kind of thing.  That old wiring is still within my motherboard.  Both of these situations would have sent me over the edge five years ago.  Instead of getting frustrated with the trains or with the fact that EVERY plan I made on that Saturday failed, I just rolled with it.  It sounds simpler than it actually was, at least for someone with my wiring. 

The cool thing is that I’m hyperaware of my tendencies which also means I’m hyperaware of how I respond when I go against all of system alerts.  On both of these occasions, I was able to reflect on how I was managing the situation, how I would have managed (or not) in the past and I was able to reflect on my progress WHILE I WAS EXPERIENCING THE SITUATION.  It was like the Matrix.  Pretty cool if you ask me. 

Just because I was able to respond positively in these instances, doesn’t mean I’ll do so in every situation. Rather, it means that I was successful on these days and in these situations.  Life is a journey.  I have accepted that.  Sometimes lovingly.  Sometimes begrudgingly.


So, what do you do when life throws an unexpected bump in your road?  Do you adjust?  Do you remain flexible?  Or do you fall victim to the situation?  Leave a comment here if you are bold enough to share!

Seize the carp!


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