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Unhappy about a specific situation? Do something about it!

Thursday morning at about 6:50 am, and I’m getting the kids ready for school. I tell the kids to hustle. There’s a road closed nearby, so we need to leave early.

We don’t leave early enough. What’s normally a 16-minute ride took almost an hour. That road—it’s closed for a few weeks due to damage from Hurricane Florence, so everyone needs to cut through our neighborhood now. Our lives just have to adjust. We’re not used to the delays.

My oldest daughter

Now, the whole time we’re sitting in traffic, my oldest daughter is telling me how in English class she has a seat she is not happy with. Nothing major, but an annoyance. I tell her she has two options:

1. Find a way to be happy about it and move on

OR

2. Do something about it!

I give her tips on what she can do if she chooses that second option.

A prospective employee

I gave the same advice to a prospective employee recently. This person was doing very well where they were, but they were unhappy with the company. I gave them the same two options I gave my daughter.

I stand by this principle—like anyone, I can complain, but I try not to ever just complain. For example, I remember when my kids started getting involved in activities like team sports and I had to drive them around a lot. I liked spending that time with my kids (still do!), but for half of each trip, the kid wasn’t in the car. I got bored. So, I did something about it and started listening to podcasts and Audible books—like, a lot of them!

Eventually, my interest in podcasts expanded to the point where I started my own. Our podcast has helped us dramatically grow our business in recent years.

You never know where “doing something about it” will lead!

My youngest daughter

So now as we drive to school, my youngest daughter chimes in with noises that suggest she is getting annoyed. She likes to be early to things and with the traffic she knows that isn’t happening today. I’m getting annoyed, too. I don’t like being late, either.

Why, I ask myself, can’t the neighborhood association figure out this traffic issue? If they had a real solution, instead of routing commuter traffic through a residential neighborhood, my daughter would be at school already, and I would be at the office. Why isn’t there a police officer directing traffic outside the neighborhood? Why is everyone in such a rush that they keep cutting each other off? Why, why, why!

Why am I being such a hypocrite, I asked, after a while. Here I am, advising my daughter to either accept situations or do something about them, and here I am indulging in the exact opposite.  

So:

1. Find a way to be happy about it and move on

OR

2. Do something about it!

A new day

Now, it’s a new day. This morning, we remembered how leaving a little early wasn’t good enough, so we left a lot early—and there was no traffic.

The trip took us 16 minutes, just as it’s supposed to. Maybe it was good luck, or maybe we got on the road before the traffic jam did, but whatever the explanation, we had a relaxing morning, no worrying about being late, and now I’m at work early, with plenty of time to get a little writing done before I jump into the day’s schedule.

Doing something about it turned out pretty good.

So yeah, if you don’t like what’s happening, you have two options. Which of those options you take is entirely up to you.

Interested in telling your stories? Let’s chat.