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6 Simple Steps To Fix A Really Bad Day

6 Simple Steps To Fix A Really Bad Day

You wake up in a bad mood and the day starts badly. You spill your coffee and then miss the train to work. From then on, everything seems to go against you. You are convinced that there are mysterious gremlins or aliens out to get you and ruin your day. But once these negative thoughts start to take hold, then you are just inviting trouble into your life, rather than trying to fix it.

Peter J. Bentley has written a book about this called ‘Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day’ and explains that there is scientific evidence to explain minor accidents.

There is no conspiracy theory and there is no mystical significance either. So, forget about Friday 13th and why bad things happen in threes. Stop playing the victim and asking yourself and any deities you may believe in, ‘why me?’ Instead, just ask ‘why?’ There is usually a scientific explanation as to why these things are going wrong.

So, let us put our feet formally back on the ground and learn about some practical ways to fix a really bad day.

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Step 1. Try to stop forecasting negative feelings and emotions

This is the first essential step because if you are just waiting for an accident to happen, then it will. It just leaves you more vulnerable and you are also in a negative mindset. You are just waiting to get another confirmation that you are having a bad day! Expect it and it will surely happen.

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”- Anon

Step 2. Analyze these feelings

Try to figure out what is going on. Why are you feeling like this? You may come to the conclusion that you are angry, frustrated or sad. It is important to stand back and recognize what is going on. One great method is to use is the summary technique. Just sum it up in three words. It may be ‘anxiety about exams’ or ‘sad about mom.’ The labelling process is a great way to lessen the feeling. You decide to move on. A research team at UCLA led by Matthew Lieberman, has done an interesting study on this.

Step 3. Change your routine and do a fun activity

If you have the chance, try to change your routine or the scene a bit. It could be just trying a new restaurant for lunch or deciding to have a quick walk when you see that the sun has come out. Carve out five minutes from your busy schedule so that you can watch a funny video on YouTube.

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Most experts recommend that you also have a hot bath and ring a friend. Great, if you have the time. But let’s face it, most of us have to work for a living and taking a day off to fix a bad day is a luxury we cannot afford. The important thing though is to try and get off the negative track and focus on the positive thoughts. Changing your activities and routine is a great way to do that.

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” – Katharine Hepburn

Step 4. Cultivate a positive attitude and take action accordingly

The next step is to focus on positive actions. Try some self- talk. For example:

  • “Right now, I can do X”
  • “The one good thing about this awful incident is ……”
  • “It could have been a lot worse, I only got a minor burn.”
  • “This is the perfect opportunity to bring the issue up at the next meeting.”

“The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

Step 5. List the things you are grateful for

Now that you are on the positive track, try to stay there. The next step is to think of all things that you can be grateful for. You may have a job, partner, house, family and good health. These are just a few. You can think these through or make a list. When you think of how grateful you are, this always creates a mood boost.

Step 6. Stay in the present

This is the most important step of all. Learning to forget the past and refusing to dwell on future uncertainties will force us to stay in the present. What we are experiencing now is what counts. When you cannot sleep, focusing on your breathing will help chase away regrets and worries. Concentrate on the actual breathing process. It can really help you get to sleep.

“When the past calls, let it go to voice mail. It has nothing new to say.” – Anon

So, these are the six steps to help you get over a really bad day. Why are we so obsessed with bad days? Perhaps we give them far too much attention. Just think of all the good days we have had and remember that each new day will bring us new opportunities.

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“Dear Optimist, Pessimist, and Realist, While you guys were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank it! Sincerely, The Opportunist.” – Anon

Let us know in the comments how you fix a really bad day.

Featured photo credit: A f*ckall day /tracey r via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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