Friday, April 15, 2011

What's Good?

I attended a work-related conference several weeks ago, involving all the professions that provide public health and mental health services to children under six and their families in our region.  You better believe it was a touchy-feely, bleeding heart (in the good way), feel-good two days full of learning, professional development, self-improvement, and networking.

A number of presenters' messages stuck with me, but the one I found most memorable and thought-provoking was on the first day of the conference; a keynote address by Carla Rieger on the top three habits of highly resilient people, and how to cope with change.  She had me nodding along in agreement right from the very beginning, but the thing that really stuck with me was about choosing your attitude.  She instructed us to ask ourselves, when faced with a challenging situation, "What's good about this situation?  How could this unexpected change or challenge make me grow as a person?" 

She also talked about that person (we all know one) who is always negative, to the point where you're reluctant to even ask them "What's up?" or "How are you doing?" for fear of opening up a giant can of worms and getting sucked into their vortex of negativity.  So instead she suggested that next time we ask them, "What's good?''  It's hard to respond to that question in a negative way.  To demonstrate her point, she had us get up and move around the room for a few minutes, getting face to face with a new person every few seconds and asking them, "What's good?"  The rule was that you couldn't use the same answer twice.  But she also stressed the fact that it didn't have to be anything deep or profound, just pulling something off the top of your head would do the trick. My answers included the deliciousness of the brownies served for afternoon snack at the conference, the fact that my mum was coming to visit soon, and that I was looking forward to my workout later that day.  And you know what?  My commute home from the conference that day in very heavy traffic?  It didn't seem so awful - I had good tunes on the radio and I knew I was going to see my Lilahbility shortly.
Worth waiting in traffic for.
As someone who is "change-challenged," this is a really useful trick for me.  I have been trying really hard to find the good in every situation, and I really think it's (mostly) helping to keep my frustration at a manageable level.  I also firmly believe that life is what you make it, though I am the type to get caught up in the details and sweat the small stuff.  You can choose your attitude.  Sometimes just taking a step back and thinking about what things will look like when the challenging situation is over changes your whole perspective and makes you feel calmer and more together.  And there's got to be something to the theory that you reap what you sow, because on the second day of the conference (which was held at a conference centre that also boasted a hotel and casino), I headed downstairs to check out the slot machines for ten minutes and came back $70 richer!  How's that for good?

So go on, ask me what's good.

Spring at last!
And this:
Gratuitous, blueberry-stained cuteness.  Just because.
 And this, too:
My mum making Lilah laugh hysterically
And this?  This is all good:

Your turn!  Tell me, what's good?


  1. Oh Amanda I love this post. One of my favourite ever. Of course I always love Lilah's fashion advice. But this is so good:)

    I think this is one of the reasons I started the blog, to see the good, to record the good, to cherish the good. It is so easy to get into complaining mode or to focus on all the things that are bad in a day. But it is so much better to see the glass half full.

    I met a couple of mom's through a program of Sarah's and we used to meet for walk or tea and I had to distance myself from them because they spent the whole time complaining about anything and everything and it was such a downer.

    So what is good right now?
    That I have a little girl who will be 4 in a couple of weeks and I marvel at her stories, her ideas and I love spending time with her.
    I get to snuggle my 2 year old son every night even if it is in a twin bed.

    Thanks for making my night.

  2. I paid the bills tonight and we had enough money in the account to pay them all, plus money left over. That's better than good. That's awesome!

  3. I had a harsh day yesterday, which turned immediately to good when I took Theo to the schoolyard around 6 to run after the dogs. He ran and ran and ran assaulting everyone he met with "HI HI HI!" The woman with the 3 dogs told me Theo would be famous one day and that he was the happiest kid she'd ever met (so funny when people only see your kid when they're on personality-plus but whatever, I'll take it!). We stood in this field as neighbours dropped by with kids and more dogs. The sun slanted and glittered across the grass, and the snow-capped mountains in the distance glistened, and we all just lingered soaking up a glorious spring evening in the hood.

  4. What's good? This post!! :) I love it! I definitely agree with choosing your attitude every day. Everytime I think something negative today I will be asking myself this question! Thanks Amanda!

  5. I love this post. I needed to read this :) Thanks for making my day -- you are good!

  6. I fully agree...great post! I was sporting "The Look" that you alluded to in an earlier post, but now I'm all smiles :)

  7. Hey amanda -- long time no chat. i check in with your blog from time to time and this one was fabulous! i'm gonna try the question out on grumpy-grump at work who I try to avoid because I can't deal with the can of worms. What's Good? Sitting in a sunbeam with my momma today. The kiss on the cheek I got from my momma today. Giggling with my 1 year old sun as we horsed around and having lunch with an old friend. thanks for making me take note!


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