When something unfortunate happens, you will naturally have it on your mind for some time. You’ll think about it. Often you will merely remember it and feel bad. If you caused it, you might feel guilty. If you didn’t cause it, you might ruminate on how you wish it hadn’t happened, or how upset you are at what the consequences will be.
As long as your mind is on it, you might as well take advantage of it and see if something useful can be gained by pondering it. The most direct way to do that is to ponder the question, “What could I do to prevent that from happening to me again?”
This is a way to direct your mind. You’re already thinking about it, but the way most people naturally think about misfortunes does not help. This question goes along with the impetus of your mind, but aims that impetus in a more productive direction.
After thinking about it you may conclude nothing you can do will prevent it from happening again, in which case, you can ponder what would be the best way to respond to it next time, or what you will do now to minimize the consequences.
Pondering these questions will satisfy your mind’s desire to think about it, will minimize how bad it makes you feel, and will help you learn something useful for the future.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, 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.
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