Fire Cracker, A Lousy Day and Multiply It By 7

firecrackerI’ve had some real “fire cracker explodes in your hand” kind of days. You know those days when you take a chance and it back fires in your face.

The old Karl (before Work Happy Now) usually got all depressed and sulked for days on end when I had a lousy day. I now practice being happy at work. I don’t put up with a lousy day any longer.

I’ve learned how to let the pain go and move on.

Last Week

I was stuck working on some reports. I couldn’t get the data to match up and I was freaking out. My hands were sweating, I was feeling hot flashes from my anger, and I was unable to focus. My day kept getting worse and worse. I got a phone call from a client who was in desperate need of help.

How could I help when I was freaking out myself? I told her that I would call her back in 20 minutes.

I decided to step outside and sprint down the block (well nowadays with my old man legs it’s more like a fast jog) until I ran out of breath. It was a lousy day multiplied by 7. It was some kind of shit storm that came out of nowhere.

When I got back inside I called the client back, gave her two good options and then I felt this calm come over me.

That phone call took the stress off of me and made me focus on someone else.


It was like God handed me a key to my own brain. I’ve actually known this trick for a long time, but it never fully registered. I have a good feeling that I’ll forget again and I’ll need to go for a sprint again, but that’s just who I am.

By shifting my focus on to helping this client, I got out of my own emotional shit storm. It was beautiful.

I know that I teach about happiness and should have 10 tools at my disposal at any given time, but for some reason I couldn’t let go until I called my client back.

Turn the Focus Outward

Next time you are caught in a shit storm, stop whatever you are doing, sprint 100 yards and then help someone else with their problem.

When you get back to your own problem, you’ll have a clear mind and a relaxed heart.

Your Turn

What do you do when you are having a lousy day?

Do you marinate in it or do you find a way to turn it around?

* Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.

* Been wanting to start a blog, but don’t know where to start? Check out my friend Johnny’s offer of helping you set-up a blog for free. He’s not doing it because he is Mother Teresa, he profits from hooking you up with hosting. You have to pay this anyway so may as well get a free blog set-up out of it. The offer ends today – December 19th.

If you found this post insightful, you will probably like these too:

> Are Friendships the Key to Workplace Happiness?

> 6 Tips on How to Have a Productive Day at Work

Image courtesy of Wes & Eli

3 thoughts on “Fire Cracker, A Lousy Day and Multiply It By 7”

  1. I generally get all depressed and sulk for days. 🙂 Been reading your blog for a while and am going to try your no-complaint diet for a week and see how it turns out (since the sulking isn’t working). Hopefully productivity (and happiness) will increase.

  2. Hi Ed, The no complaining diet was a turning point in my life. I stopped focusing on what I didn’t have and focused on the great people in my life. Don’t get me wrong I still complain to release tension, but my complaining has been reduced by at least 80%. I’m much happier and my energy level is a lot higher than when I complained all day long.

  3. It all depends on what the lousy day is coming from. Sometimes I can bump myself out of it, while other times the marination happens despite my best intentions.

    There are a variety of ways I shift my attitude. Meditation is often helpful, even just a few minutes. Exercise is almost always a reliable way to shift things. Listening to positive/motivational/etc. CDs can sometimes help. Focusing on someone else’s problems can be a good way to both shift my attention elsewhere and give me that energy hit that comes from helping people.

    One thing that almost always creates a shift is a session with a client. I can go into a client call feeling grumpy and cranky, and almost always come out of it feeling good and smiling.

    On the flipside, I find that sometimes no amount of trying to shift my perspective works. In those case, I end up doing the opposite and just letting myself sink in and stew for a while. Strangely, that can pave the way for that perspective shift as well.

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