Posted by: Shannon @ A Dash of Sparkle | August 6, 2011

Turn that Frown Upside-down!

Sometimes, things just don’t go your way. Despite all the best intentions, planning and hoping, things are just sometimes beyond your control.

I was thrilled when I set my summer goals, including completing my first ever sprint triathlon. Set for September 17th, I’ve been training for this triathlon and looking forward to testing myself against real athletes in September.

In comes that “sometimes” factor which decided to just mess it all up.

As I perused my morning emails, Starbucks latte warmly in-hand, NPR playing on my laptop, and a quiet office not yet filled with coworkers, I saw an unfamiliar email address with a foreboding subject line “Race Cancellation, Lido Key.” My happy-morning buzz crumbled and I felt my heart drop into my stomach. Dammit.

I immediately texted Nick with a “what do we do now??” message and sad face.

It felt more tragic when it first happened than it seems looking back, but I was so disappointed. I had been training for this, how could it be canceled? Don’t I get a say? Realistically: nope.

So I moped for a few days, blew off my training schedule (because seriously, what was I training for?) and put a put a mental block on this sad demise of a summer goal.

Luckily, I’m not inherently predisposed towards being sad and mopy. Instead I perked up, realized there was nothing I could do (beyond cursing the aspects of life that were beyond my control) and decided to focus on new opportunity this situation has provided. I decided to apply the Three-Happy-Things Rule.

The background on the Three-Things-Happy Rule is this – I read a book by Hester Brown who’s protagonist had this wonderful habit of finding three positives in any situation, even if it was especially bleak looking. If she could find three things, then the situation wasn’t really that bad. Focusing on these three positives, no matter how small, always seemed to turn things around.

I started trying out this little habit in my own life. By golly it works!

So for my Three-Happy-Things to come out of my triathlon being canceled? Surprisingly I didn’t need to think that hard about this:

  1. Gives me the opportunity to research other triathlons, looking for one that would be closer to either my place or Nick’s, which would save us from having to splurge on a hotel stay.
  2. I can use the time I would otherwise be training to study for my personal training certification test.
  3. I have more time to train, specifically more time to work on my swimming skills.

Suddenly this whole cancellation of my first triathlon seems… for the better.

Now, Nick and I are looking at finding another sprint triathlon later this fall and are hoping to signup as soon as we get our last race registration fee refunded.

So yeah, it’s a bummer that not everything is under my control and that there will always be disappointments. Yet I’m glad to have learned a different approach to handling those inevitable disappointments and hopefully it will continue to be effective!

How do you handle disappointments? Do you ever use the Three-Happy-Things Rule or something similar?


  1. I saw the author of The Happiness Project on The View last week…sounds like a really interesting read and I love your mind set in turning something bad into something good. 🙂 If you ever need a guinnea pig to do a before/after that can show how fab of a personal trainer you just let me know!!

    • Thanks girl! You know I’m totally down to train you anytime!

  2. […] when I first announced my goal of completing my first triathlon. You might also remember a few bumps I hit along the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: