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Lessons Learned Today

by Joan Marques

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Published on this site: January 2004 - See more articles from this month

Everyday is unique in its own way. Yet, some days feel better than others. Those are the ones where the traffic lights all seem to jump on green when you get near, when people are smiling, and when things seem to go well in every area. But then there are those days where you feel like shooting everything and everybody: nothing seems to fit, no one seems to cooperate, and everything seems to be set against you. We've all been there.

It is unfortunate, though, that we often neglect the fact that the latter described days are as natural a part of life as the first. And yet, many cultures, religions, and wise individuals have tried to teach it to us during many centuries: everything needs to be balanced out. There cannot be good without bad, there cannot be happy without sad; there cannot be dark without light, and there cannot be day without night.

All I'm trying to say here is that the "bad" days, as we perceive them, have as much meaning in our lives as the good ones. We just don’t notice their purpose at the time that they're happening to us. But, like I told a young man the other day: sometimes blessings manifest themselves, disguised as curses. It's only later that we realize why we had to go through the pain of a horrid experience. Oftentimes it turns out to be because there was something much better for us in store.

Now, about those bad days: Although we may not always see their purpose right away, we can still do something constructive with them. We can review them at their end, and mentally list the lessons we learned from what happened within them. We can also modify the retrospective emotions toward those days by formulating our evaluations in a positive way. We can, for instance, develop a standard list of affirmative focus points for every day’s end.

Here's an example of such a list:

  1. Who was the nicest person I met today, and what did he or she do that
    stood out compared to the rest?

  2. What was the most unique action I undertook today, and why did I do it?

  3. What was the most beautiful thing I encountered today, and what was it
    that alerted me on its beauty?

  4. What was the strongest statement I heard today, and what did I find so
    exceptional about it?

  5. What was the most valuable act I executed today, and why do I consider it

  6. What was the most pleasant thing I did today, and why did I enjoy it that

The list can be shorter or longer, and, of course, entirely different in formulation, depending on what you want to focus on. But once you have your positive attention points listed it is easy to subsequently formulate the lessons you learned from those points.

And, believe it or not, nine times out of ten the ugly day won't seem as ugly as it felt while you were going through it. Try it. You might like it!

Joan Marques, holds an MBA, is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Leadership, and a university instructor in Business and Management in Burbank, California. You may visit her web site at www.joanmarques.com Joan's manual "Feel Good About Yourself," a six part series to get you over the bumps in life and onto success, can be purchased and downloaded at:

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