In one of W. Clement Stone's books, he wrote that whenever someone came to him with a problem, he would always say, "That's good!" This puzzled people sometimes. They might be talking about a serious problem, and Stone would answer back with enthusiasm.
Years ago when
I first read this, I thought it was stupid, pie-in-the-sky bullpucky.
But I've thought a lot about it over the years and I've tried it, and
I've decided that maybe there are some things that sound stupid but are
When anything happens, usually some
aspects of it are an advantage and some aspects of it are a
disadvantage. For example, when you buy a new car, you will have to take
it in to get repaired less often than your old car. That's one
advantage. Maybe it gets better gas mileage. There's another advantage.
But it is more likely to get stolen. That's a disadvantage. And your
insurance payments are higher. You get the idea.
you first hear about a problem, your first reaction is probably to see
only the disadvantages. This puts you in a bad mood — a state of mind
that's not only unpleasant as an experience, but also makes you less
effective at dealing with the problem. So this normal, automatic,
negative reaction to problems would be a good thing to change. I suggest
trying Stone's method. It will take some practice, but it can
eventually become a habit.
When a problem lands in your
lap, say, "That's good!" (Note: Don't necessarily say it out loud. It
will make some people mad.) And then immediately start doing two things:
1) look for the advantages that might be wrapped up in this "problem"
(which may be difficult at first), and 2) look to see how you can turn
it to your advantage, and take steps to make it so.
approach will make you more effective. You can plainly see why. There's
no time wasted on bemoaning what already exists, and action is taken
immediately to turn it to your advantage. No energy is wasted getting
into a worse mood. Your attitude toward it is open. There's nothing
fixed or permanent about your viewpoint.
change the way you think about something, it changes the way you feel
about it. And when you change the way you feel about it, your actions
change too — in this case, for the better. Try it.
If you have trouble at first learning to do this, that's good!
you practice this way of reacting to problems enough, you can some day
be as good at it as Richard Bandler, one of the co-founders of NLP.
a student of Bandler's (who was teaching a class on hypnosis)
complained that his house was being bugged (monitored with a recording
device), Bandler's reply was, "What a chance to talk to these people."
had ingrained the reframing attitude so thoroughly in his thoughts that
he reeled off idea after idea. Why not play hypnotic tapes over and
over in your house for the listeners? Why not practice all of your deep
trance inductions and put the people bugging you into trance and give
them hypnotic suggestions?
Bandler didn't look for what was wrong with being bugged. Anybody could do that. Everybody would automatically do that. He looked for a way to take advantage of it.
You can learn to have the same mental habit. Find the advantage and think of the "adversity" in terms of the advantage.
something ever happened to you that you thought at first was a bad
thing, but then later you were really glad it happened? Keep that memory
in your mind whenever something bad happens. You don't know what the
future holds. This might be good. You might as well assume it will be,
and start making it so.
Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.