I grew up on a steady diet of self-help, and it has never let me down, so far.
My Mother loved to quote this all the time and firmly believed that being independent is best most of the time.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.
Not saying we don’t have to depend on others occasionally to get stuff done, because we do; still, it feels good to be able to manage by oneself as much as one can.
Okay. Philosophy pause.
Sometimes, life can be a real so-and-so. Last week was crazy and I had to keep telling myself to calm down. After all, am I not that sweet person who is ever ready to look at the bright side?
I am, but even my glasses get muck on them that won’t wash off, no matter what, and I end up feeling like Lady Macbeth with the stains on her hand—although, no crime committed here, mind you.
Truth is, I’ve been so p*ssed off over various things last week that I found it really hard to grin and bear it. It seemed like Life was trying her best to do a Murphy’s Law on me every step of the way. Particularly the “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”—and it did.
Sure, I kept seeing the funny side and laughing my head off, but I won’t deny it was a strain sometimes to plaster that smile on the face and pretend everything was okay.
So let me follow my Mom’s advice—I’ve been dreaming of her so much that there’s no escaping it—she probably knew my internal thermostat was off and is trying to pass me that divine coffee from the other side.
I would share a long list of all the sh*t that happened, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is this, and I have a large poster to prove it:
Instead, I’ll share my all-time favorite strategy of overcoming it, because heh, my space here is all about the happy. What could I possibly achieve by ranting? No, don’t answer that, because I did rant and got it out of my system, and laughed it off.
“Hey, but what happened?”
Okay I heard that. Let me briefly share the funniest thing on my list. I mean, funny now, very annoying then!
Son got new smart phone in July. Loved it. Okay, still loves it.
Enter, snake in paradise.
Son returned to college, end of July, happily put a data plan on phone.
Data plan didn’t work. Frustrated.
Tried everything. Nothing happened.
Called the internet service provider for settings. Didn’t get them.
Enter, Mom, annoying with her tweets to ISP (that’s me).
Son furious because ISP called when he was in class. Big No-No.
Approached local whiz who sells SIM cards, but even he was puzzled.
Son exasperated, but stayed calm. Said he’d wait until October to sort it out. Smart thinking.
Of course, data plan expired, kissed money bye-bye.
Son came home last week for 4 days to tackle list of urgent pending things.
Approached the ISP here. Spent three hours. No solution.
ISP blamed the phone.
Went to a phone vendor who suggested OS reinstall. At a ridiculous cost, of course.
Phone still under warranty, so cleverly, went to the nearest authorized service center, only to find that they only dealt with hardware. Got redirected to another center. Too late that do, so went next morning.
Next morning, 10 a.m. and full of hope, went to service center. Begged them to look at it since son was leaving early next morning.
They said 15 minutes. We waited.
They said 15 minutes every 15 minutes and before we knew it, it was 4.30 p.m.
We were hungry, a little angry and not a little frustrated.
Finally, they handed over the phone – reset. All info wiped out. And requiring a major software update.
By this time, I had almost decided to buy my son a new phone and send him on his way, because—can’t manage without a phone on campus, no?
Returned home, exhausted from sitting on our behinds for a major part of the day.
Had late lunch.
Son, calm, probably resigned, started watching comedy.
His laughter probably calmed me down too, but then, it is not in my nature to give up.
What was so complicated about using a data plan on a phone that those qualified, professional, skilled guys couldn’t figure out?
I decided to take a shot at it. The worst that could happen was, I would have to reset the phone and get it working again.
But first, brainwave. I emailed the ISP. Surprisingly they wrote back in half an hour, informing me they would send settings.
Didn’t get those.
Requested them to show me how to do it manually.
I entered those.
Turned off Wi Fi
Added a minimal mobile data plan.
Didn’t get credited.
Turned on mobile data.
Unconvinced, went out to the road where there’s no chance of free Wi Fi.
Eureka moment continued.
Now big test—will it work on son’s campus?
Had to wait 24 hours to find out.
Eureka moment continues.
Check all features in a phone/any product as soon as it is purchased. Since there was Wi Fi at home, we never thought to do it. We paid the price with our precious time and money.
So, here we go with my strategy. Sometimes I need to remind myself, you know.
The T chart strategy
I make a T-chart when I am really, really freaked out.
If you asked what’s a T-chart? It is a sheet of paper with a T on it. The horizontal line runs across the page at the top, leaving just enough space to put a title on the page and the vertical line splits the page in two.
On the left, I write “Debits” and on the right, “Credits” because a. I love lists and b. it works.
Next, I start listing out all the things I think are not going okay in the debits column on the left.
Now, I’ll bet you think I am going to say that I’ll list all the good things in the credits column on the right, right?
Nope. Here’s the twist.
I start my “Credits” list on the right, from where the debits ends. Which means, next to each debit, there’s blank space on the credits side.
Kind of like this:
Have you guessed why?
Do I see a smile?
You see, I prefer to look at the good side of not-so-good situations. Not-so-good is a temporary phase. When I look for something positive, even if it is a life lesson, I simply switch it over to the credits side.
My goal with my T chart is to turn the debits into credits.
Because I can.
So here’s what last week’s T Chart looked like:
Things I always discover:
- It is very hard to fill my debits column.
- It is very easy to fill the credits column, because gratitude just rocks.
- It is easy to convert the debits into credits
- A fact of life: This too shall pass
- We have the power to make ourselves happy
- DIY is fun
- Life’s a wonderful teacher
- As an absolutely sane person once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
- As another absolutely sane person said, “Go for what you want. Don’t expect life or someone else to do the hard part for you. The harder the tribulation the greater the rewards!”
That’s how it works.
That’s the waltz of life.
I am grateful for the learning that these experiences bring.
I am also grateful for a number of things, beside which the frustration of what didn’t work, just fades.
I am excited about the release of the book “Winding Road to Freedom” where 15 entrepreneurs share their turbulent journey to financial freedom. I am honored to be one of them. Please support me by joining the pre-release. Just click the image below to go to the book page and enter your email to be notified when the book is available for the special launch price 0.99 – book launches on November 5!
What is on your gratitude list, this October?
Join me in the October 2016 Gratitude Circle bloghop. You know what to do. Looking forward to reading your posts!