We have a law in Ireland called Murphy’s law which states something along the lines of ‘Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong and will do so at the worst time possible’. Now, although it originates from typical dry Irish humour, one thing is for certain… however well planned or prepared you are, there will always be something unforeseen that happens whenever you’re doing what you do.
Over the years, I’ve spent a massive amount of time training my brain to instantly think in the most productive and useful way possible. There are three questions in particular I believe you’ll find extremely useful in handling anything that crops up out of the blue and messes with you. A delayed flight (my forte), a slide missing in your presentation, a question you had not prepared for, an unexpected no, a cancellation etc.
In the event that something goes wrong there are three questions you can ask yourself which will instantly get you thinking sharper, smarter and sensibly.
1. How could this be a good thing?
Of course, you could have the worst kind of shit happen to you and this question may well annoy you. The truth is, however, that regardless of what has occurred, this question can serve a very effective purpose. You see, when you ask yourself how something could be a good thing, your brain is forced to search for every way in which it is good. It focuses on every way in which this can serve you or help you. Sometimes it is harder than others but it always pays dividends. A missing slide could ensure you finish the presentation on time. An unexpected no can mean you are motivated to improve something. A cancellation could free up unexpected time for you to get something else done. It also might teach you something about the person you arranged to meet that might come in handy at a later stage when the stakes are higher
2. What is the most useful thing I can do in this situation?
This question is really useful as it gets you thinking about what you can do and, indeed, what the very best use of your time is. In a time starved world, the opportunity for some more time than you expected should be welcome. I know a lot of people who spend this time feeling sorry for themselves or complaining about how unfair the situation is. Instead, focus on the very best and most productive use of your time. Life is too short to wallow in how unfair it is. Shit happens. Deal with it and act smart.
3. What can I learn?
Learning the lessons inherent in the problems and events that get in your way is so vital if you want to continue to grow and develop. Successful people fail more than those who are not as successful. They do so because they focus as much as possible on what they can learn from anything that happens or anything that goes wrong. They are unstoppable because every single thing, good or bad, has a lesson for them. So find out what the lessons are in the challenges you face.
These three questions are simple in nature but extremely effective in the impact they can have on your life. They enable you to become an unstoppable and determined success who cannot be knocked off your road to victory by external events.