I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’ latest book Tools of Titans,* in which he distills key insights from the nearly two hundred people he has interviewed over the past two years for his podcast (if you haven’t listened, I highly recommend it).

An interview with retired Navy SEAL Commander Jocko Willink has changed the way I look at obstacles or frustrations: “Good.”

How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeat, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations. There is one word to deal with all those situations, and that is “good” . . . when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.

  • Oh, mission got cancelled? Good. We can focus on another one.
  • Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good. We can keep it simple.
  • Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.
  • Didn’t get funded? Good. We own more of the company.
  • Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
  • Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training.
  • Got tapped out? Good. It’s better to tap out in training than to tap out on the street.
  • Got beat? Good. We learned.
  • Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

That’s it. When things are going bad, don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”**

So many things lately have been frustrating to the point of maddening. Another snow storm? Freezing temperatures? More snow? Are you freaking kidding me?*** The proof I ordered for my flash fiction collection should have been delivered a week ago, but due to the icy roads and “winter weather events,” it still hasn’t arrived. Given the weather outlook, I’m guessing it may be sometime in February before I see the proof. Argh.

While my instant reaction is to get angry or depressed or want to hit something, when I can reframe it as “Good,” the situation immediately improves.****

  • More snow? Good. It is beautiful and our mountains could use more snow.
  • More ice? Good. It will help with the bugs for next summer.
  • Didn’t get the proof yet? Good. I can stay focused on creating the digital versions of the flash fiction collection.

Now, if I could just get “Good” to be my automatic reaction to frustrations . . .

What frustrating situations are you facing that could be “good” for you?



*This book is amazing. Seriously. I’ll be writing more about it.

**Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Pages 640-641. The bold text is my emphasis.

***Living in the Pacific Northwest (heavy on the Pacific), winter is generally rain, showers, mist, and more rain. Occasionally there will be a snow fall maybe once a winter, and it may shut things down for a few days, but that’s it. So far we’re looking at four snow storms since December, including the massive ice storm over the weekend that had the Oregon State Police dealing with over 750 traffic accidents.

****Seems rather Stoic to me. Hmmm.