Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hee Haw Logic

When I was a kid there was a comedy-variety show on television called Hee Haw. It was a show that was essentially senseless humor and the kind of program you could watch if you didn’t need much mental stimulation but just wanted to enjoy a laugh. One recurring segment of the show was in a barber shop where the barber would have a person in the chair giving them a shave and would tell them a story about something that happened in the town. The barber would say something that was bad news and the customer would say “That’s bad.” Then the barber would say “No, that’s good” and proceed to explain why that which the customer perceived to be bad, was actually good. And then when the barber was done explaining the good news, the customer would say “That’s good.” Then the barber would say “No, that’s bad” and proceed to explain why hat which the customer perceived to be good was actually bad.

So it goes in life. Everything good that happens to us has some element of bad and everything bad that happens to us has an element of good. It’s all in the matter of your perspective. Some people can, so effortlessly, find the bad news in anything that’s good. Take, for example, the conversation I had with someone yesterday about the weather here in Minnesota. It’s mid-November and our typical temperatures would be somewhere between Brrrr and Oh-My-God cold. While I’m teaching a class we take a break and I walk outside. The weather is amazing! It’s brilliantly sunny and the temperatures are in the 50’s (very unusual for Minnesota in mid-November). I made a comment about how beautiful the day is and someone says “Ya, if it just wasn’t so windy.” This comment made me think about how some people can find fault as if they get a reward for it.

This day was, indeed, a blessing and someone was still able to find a way to complain about it. Was it a “perfect” day. No. But is it reasonable (or necessary) to expect perfection? Isn’t “good enough” sometimes good enough? This day should have exceeded everyone’s expectations for warmth and sunshine. Yet, for this one person… still not good enough.

People who go through life with a disposition like this person’s miss some of the greatest treasures that are laid at their feet because they’re too busy looking for the bad things in life. One thing’s for sure, if you go around looking for bad news and faults in people, you’re going to find them. Likewise, if you go around looking for good news and gifts in people, you’re going to find that as well. And YOU… are one of those people. Look for the bad qualities in yourself, and you will focus on them. Look for the good qualities and you will focus on those.

When something good happens to you and you say you were “just lucky” you are discounting all your good qualities and giving credit to happenstance. Acknowledge that the good things that happen are because of your preparation and hard work. When something bad happens to you, don’t dwell on it. Find the good in it (and there always is something good about everything bad that happens) and focus on how to use that good to your advantage.

In the spirit of Hee Haw, here’s an example of a recent day in my life that demonstrates the banter from Floyd the barber.

- I was driving to a meeting today and amazingly there was hardly any traffic on the road.

- That’s good.

- No, that’s bad because I got a flat tire and there was no one around to help me.

- That’s bad.

- No, that’s good because the first car that came by stopped to help me.

- That’s good.

- No, that’s bad because the guy was taking his kids to school and didn’t have time to stop and help me out.

- That’s bad.

- No, that’s good because he offered to give me a ride to a service station at the next exit.

- That’s good.

- No, that’s bad because I had to sit next to one of his kids who spilled chocolate milk all over my new suit coat.

- That’s bad.

- No, that’s good because I took off my suit coat and tie and when I went to my meeting later that morning the client (who I was trying to impress with my new suit) commented on how at ease he was with my casual attire and that helped me secure a very large client.

Life is ten percent of what happens to you… and ninety percent of how you react to what happens to you. In every good, there is bad. In every bad, there is good. Keep you mind occupied by the good and it will propel you in the direction of success.

Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO, MICP
Gasaway Consuting Group

[Note: This article was also published on the Kitchen Table blog.]

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