I had a rather unfortunate pinot meets laptop sitch last week. Suddenly my mouse took on a life of its own, randomly careering round the screen like a drunk rabbit, opening and closing windows at will. I nearly inadvertently ordered brand new togs and joined an online baking community on Facebook - all on drunk rabbit mode. To add to the frustration, the "e" and "n" keys also intermittently stopped working. Do you know how many words contain "e" an "n"? Only just about ALL OF THEM! Litrlly all of thm. Typig ay sntc bcam compltly impossibl. Why couldn't it have been the "z" and the weird brackety symbol no one uses? No such luck.
Much swearing ensued, as well as quite a bit of what I believe is called "magical thinking". After I googled the issue and tried drying the mouse with a hairdryer, among other suggestions, I eventually decided to follow the advice of those who claimed "it had magically mended itself by the next morning!" Yes. Perfect. Magical mending. I firmly decided this would happen to me, so I limped along for a day heroically typing sentences while trying to avoid words containing e and n, and hoping for the magical fix so many had experienced.
I'm sad to report that the power of positive thinking did not magically fix my laptop overnight. In fact it got worse. There was no choice but to dial in the experts, and a mere nine hundred bucks of repairs later, all is well.
Now I have been previously accused of being "too positive", of trying to persuade people to live in "chirpy La La Land" (awesome - who wouldn't want to live there? Better that than MiseryGuts Land, no?) and, my personal favourite insult (which is incidentally the best compliment ever), of being "a feelgooderymonger" (how fantastic is that?) So this minor First World Problem gave me a good opportunity to work out my famed feelgood muscles. For the truth of the matter is this: I can either be an unhappy writer with a broken laptop, or a happy writer with a broken laptop.
I can either go down the path of how massively behind it puts me in my work, that it will be in for repair for 48 loooong hours, how expensive it will be, even with insurance - Macs are always so expensive, how utterly frustrating it is, especially given my line of work, how stupid I am to have let it happen, why the repair guys don't start before 9am - and feel thoroughly frustrated about what a complete nightmare it all is.
Or I can still have a broken laptop and go down the path of focusing on the fact that a friend recommended a great company to repair it. That they have an express service I am happy to pay for. That the insurance will cover all but the excess. That maybe 48 hours away from my screen is just what I need right now and I can make a heap more phonecalls and connect rather than sit behind my email. That I'm not actually a brain surgeon and if anything really is that urgent, people can call me, I'm really not letting anyone down that badly. That I'm going to get an extra workout in at the gym today and knock off early. That I mercifully backed it up to hard drive only the day before yesterday. That it might just prove random inspiration for next week's column.
Whichever track we choose to focus on, our focus expands that track. You look for one reason that it's a nightmare and three more will pop up, and three more after that. If you try hard to find a reason to look for a silver lining, that focus will expand to suggest a couple more and perpetuate from there. What we focus on 1) expands and 2) directly determines our mood.
Every problem, even First World ones, gives us an opportunity to work out our feelgoodry perspective. We can have the unwanted situation and feel bad about it. Or we can have the unwanted situation and feel okay about it. It's always within our choice to look for a bright side. Magical Thinking might not fix your laptop, but it can fix the amount of magic in your day.
Through her online Happiness programme "Wellbeing Warriors", life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing.