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Your Car Won’t Start, And Oh, The Coffee Machine Is Broken

February 22, 2018 Nicole Lyons

Everyone has days where nothing seems to fall into place. Mishaps, unfortunate coincidences, and accidents can ruin the day. But, in situations like this, it’s important to take a step back and really look at what there is to be thankful for. 


Stop feeling sorry for yourself

You know that feeling. When nothing is going right. Your kids, your partner, your boss, the neighbor, the bills, work, home life--so many things can both bring you up and bring you down. It makes it easy to have a pity party for yourself. But, you have to check that attitude, and instead reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, try to shift your thinking and show gratitude instead. Research has shown that grateful people are happier and more optimistic, and have stronger cardiovascular and immune systems. Technologies such as apps for your electronic devices are even available now to help people focus on being gratitude positive (Ghandeharioun, 2016).

“Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”

Helen Keller

Feeling sorry for yourself can especially be a problem if you are a leader in your organisation. You want to project a confident, inspiring attitude, not one of self-pity. While everyone has bad days, it’s important to learn how to channel your feelings from something negative into something positive.

Is your attitude going to lead to innovation, or are you stifling creativity?

Neuroscience is helping us understand how leadership roles affect our minds. Our brains are still stuck in the evolutionary trap of the survivor’s mind. We haven’t had time to evolve from the days where we had to run from predators, and the legitimate daily need to handle death threats.

While your office may be a tough place to work, there likely aren’t any saber tooth tigers lurking in the break room. You may still face difficult tasks, but chances are, no one is going to eat you if you don’t have the report in the morning. Give your brain the opportunity to learn how to properly react to events, without jumping to the worst-case scenario. Unless, of course, you work in a zoo!

The Imagination Age is here. Gone are the managers and attitudes of old. Leadership is not a static thing, it is fluid and you must adapt. Your attitude, facial expression, your tone of voice, and how you carry yourself matter. If you mope around, saying woe-is-me, your staff is not going to respect what you have to say. An attitude that combines positive thinking, proactivity, and embracing change is going to see opportunity everywhere, instead of lurking, imaginary threats.

Yes, sometimes your car won’t start. Your children won’t cooperate. Your dog might eat your favorite shoes. But, you likely still have a million things to be grateful for. Be a leader that shows others how to drive innovation and find opportunities even in dark times. The i4 Neuroleader Model can help you become that leader.

Improve your Attitude  Ever wondered what attitude adjustments you need? New advances from different  scientific fields are helping us better understand how our brains and bodies  function and the incredible impact they have on the way we lead.  Learn how our i4 Neuroleader Program can help develop your personal leadership. Download Program Guide

Ghandeharioun, A., Azaria, A., Taylor, S., & Picard, R. W. (2016). “Kind and Grateful”: A Context-Sensitive Smartphone App Utilizing Inspirational Content to Promote Gratitude. Psychology of Well-Being, 6, 9. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13612-016-0046-2

Nicole Lyons

Nicole Lyons

Nicole is the About my Brain Institute's researcher and blogger. As a writer and science educator she is passionate about sharing scientific knowledge to refute ignorance and misconceptions. Nicole is also a devoted wife and mother to two children, two cats, a dog and frog.