It didn't. Then the shipper promised Friday. Then Sunday. And so on.
Thought: The car will NEVER arrive.
What happened: car arrived. Duration of problem: Eight days.
2) Painting our house: The painters taped plastic sheets around all the windows to protect them from the next day's spraying.
But then it rained, and the painters didn't return. Then it was sunny, and the painters didn't return. Apparently, they'd decided, "Why paint the house—we'll just shrink-wrap it."
Thought: Soon, we won't be able to breathe.
What happened: painters returned. Duration: One week.
3) Hurricane Earl: My wife and I were at an inn on Martha's Vineyard. Earl, meanwhile, was in N. Carolina, visiting the Outer Banks. Everyone on the Vineyard was talking about the approaching disaster.
"Sometimes," the innkeeper said, "the ferry shuts down for days. No one leaves the island."
Thought: We're trapped!
What happened: Earl came and went. So did we. Duration: 24 hours.
Tip: Timestamp your problems. How long are they, really? If you're fortunate, most have a short duration.
And if you keep reminding yourself of that, you'll (hopefully) have a long duration.
Consultant, author, speaker, and founder of express potential® (www.expresspotential.com), Paul Hellman has worked with CEOs, executives, and managers at leading companies for over 25 years to improve performance and productivity at work. His latest book is “Naked at Work: How to Stay Sane When Your Job Drives You Crazy,” and his columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and other leading papers.
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