Three months ago my boss came to me and told me that I had to work out of town for a month. I would only be about an hour away, so I could commute if I wanted to.

This was a minor annoyance, but no big deal. I could still sleep in my own bed and go on with my normal routine without too much interruption.

That changed two weeks ago. Due to budget cuts, I wouldn’t be working an hour away. Instead, I would have to drive two hours away to Jacksonville and work there for a month. No way was I commuting now.

When I found out I had to spend a month away from home, I was heated. I was the only person from my office who had to travel away from home this year. And this would be my second time doing it.

Last time I also traveled to Jacksonville, and I was miserable. I was upset I had to spend time away from home. And that was only for two weeks. This time it would be for the entire month.

What’s wrong with me?

I had an observation three and a half weeks ago: the smallest things were setting me off.

I was complaining more. I was playing the victim. I believed everything was outside my locus of control.

So you can imagine how I felt when I was told I needed to go away for a month. I was angry. “Why the f*** do I have to keep doing this? It’s not fair.”

A few days after finding out I would be in Jacksonville I was listening to a Tony Robbins recording.

He talked about how we can’t control everything around us. But what we can control is our perception of the world. In order to change your perceptions, you must change the questions you ask yourself.

When you’re upset or angry or annoyed, don’t list the reasons why a situation sucks. Shift the focus. Ask better questions.

Ask yourself: “what’s good about this?”

The light bulb moment

A couple days later, I was taking my mid-morning walk at work still fuming when the light bulb went off. Right then I shifted the focus. I asked myself, “What’s good about this?”

When I got back to my desk I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote in big, bold letters at the top of the paper “What’s good about having to work in Jacksonville for a month?”

And I began to list things out.

  1. I’ll meet new people.
  2. I can go to new restaurants.
  3. I can check out their breweries.
  4. It won’t get dark until late, so I can explore after work.
  5. I’ll be downtown, and everything is within walking distance.
  6. I’ll challenge myself with new tasks at work.
  7. I’ll be able to go home on the weekends.
  8. All of my meals are paid for.
  9. I’ll break my routine.

All of the sudden, I started to feel better. Instead of being annoyed, I started looking forward to it.

In retrospect, I don’t even know why I was annoyed.

The only thing I really had to be angry about was being outside the comfort of my hometown. Other than that, going to Jacksonville looked like more good than bad.

How is it going so far?

Today is my second day in Jacksonville and I’m enjoying it much more this time around.

I’ve been able to explore more. I’ve gone to new places to eat. I’ve tried new beers.

I’m convinced I would not enjoy myself if I continued with the mindset of being annoyed.

But because I searched for reasons why this would be a good trip, it has thus far turned out to be good.

I reframed the situation by asking “what’s good about this?”

I forced myself to come up with answers to a question I didn’t even previously consider.

A reminder

This serves as a reminder for myself: you are only as good as the quality of questions you ask yourself.

You can use this same technique in a number of situations.

For example, if you’re stuck in traffic tomorrow, ask yourself, “what’s good about this?”

Come up with five reasons why being stuck in traffic is actually a good thing. I tried this the other day and there was a huge difference in how I felt by end of my evening commute.

Next time you’re in a situation that makes you angry, annoyed, or upset, ask yourself, “what’s good about this?”

It may be hard to come up with answers initially. You will want to resist answering. Overcome this resistance, answer the question as best as you can, and see how you feel.

Remember, you’re only as good as the quality of questions that you ask yourself.

42 thoughts on “How are your questions?

  1. Reblogged this on Life and Random Thinking and commented:
    This blog is a rebloged. I liked it because it is real. Most of find ourselves in situations where the only thing we control is our attitude. Best tip, when crap happensure, and for most of us it’s not infrequently, CYA. Change Your Attitude. Do it selfishly because you will feel better and others will be happier around you.

    Thank you Justin!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Daily Connection and commented:
    Hi all. So this is a reblogged post from one the blogs that I follow (Free Thoughts of a Scattered Brain). And I like what the author had to say. So often when situations come up, we get annoyed with everything around us and some cases we look for others to blame. And a lot of times, it’s because we are going to moving out from our comfort zone. And what the author said is true – You can’t control what’s going on around you but you can control how you react (attitude and perspective). Hope this is encouragement to some one, certainly was for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Of the top of my head, good reasons to be stuck in traffic 1) I get to listen to more of my music/audiobook 2) I can be creative I prepare a blog post in my head 3) I can work out how to solve a problem 4) I can plan my next gym workout 5) I can admire the scenery around me or notice things that have previously been unseen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. James, I like this. I am a software developer and after a day at work sometimes I go home and still had a problem with debugging a program at work and while in traffic I would think about this. Many times it happened that by the time I get home I know what to do to solve the problem.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Justin,
    I came home from work one day sitting in traffic. After a very stressful day at work I did not need this traffic situation. My car radio was on and this guy was talking about the importance of laughter. He said that if you do not feel like laughing fake it by just ha ha ha ha and if you do this long enough you will actually start laughing. I thought by myself what rubbish but for some reason I decided to try it. It was a very hot day and I did not have air conditioning in my car so my window was wide open. There I sat in my car going ha ha haaaa but it was clearly fake. The next moment a car passed by me and the people in the car started laughing at me. All of a sudden I started to laugh as well. A genuine laugh and my day was brighter. Thanks for your post. Like that laughter it made me to see things in a different light

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love that story! It’s true with laughter or smiling, if you do it long enough eventually it will be genuine. I’ll have to keep in this in mind next time I’m feeling angry or stressed out and let out the goofiest laughter I can muster.

      Thanks for the comment!


  5. I loved this and you’re absolutely right no one wants to leave home because it’s HOME. But I love traveling, meeting new people and being able to experience different atmospheres. I am so grateful when I leave home it is my happiness.


    1. I agree completely. What I love most is being in a new city and just walking around and taking in the surroundings. I love getting lost in the moment. Thanks for the comment Daynia!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I may have to do that! I’ve been a couple of times. Once on a class field trip, and again last year with my girlfriend.

      When we went we saw the Fort, went to the Ripley’s museum, and took a ghost tour. Any other places you recommend we go?


      1. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. I was told by another blogger to check out Caps on the Water. I personally love the San Sebastián winery there. The art galleries around the old town are great and are worth checking out. Harry’s has great food too. Also check out the different churches in Old town, the cathedral is beautiful and there is also a church I believe was built by Flager. It’s beautiful and has a huge dome and you can see it from the winery!


  6. I love this! And you’re so right – I am definitely giving this some practice, absolutely! It’s such a simple thing yet – myself included – many don’t even think to do something like this for our mental health. Thank you for the tip, it really IS helpful!


  7. Great advice! It is so important to have a positive attitude and sometimes you have to force yourself to think that way. I will be applying some of the advice from this article to future frustrating/annoying/challenging things that come my way. Thanks for the pick-me-up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marissa, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Your comment is spot on. I know I need to do a better job of doing this myself at times.

      It almost feels like it takes more effort to find the good in some things than to just be frustrated and annoyed and let it happen. Thanks for the comment!


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