Have you noticed how we tend to blame everything around but us when something goes wrong? A group of managers were meeting at an offsite location and we were supposed to reach there at 11 am. As we walked in, there were two charts put up...one that said "I am late because" and the other said "I am on time because". Every one who walked in was to choose the right chart and update the reasons. Invariably, what came out was that the people who reached on time attributed it to themselves, their alarm clock, their sense of punctuality and their skills of maneuvering the traffic. The people who were late attributed it to the weather, the traffic, the tractor that was left unattended in the middle of the road and so on. The trend was clear. I am on time because of me and I am late because of others!! We agreed that we should take more ownership for our actions and stop blaming the environment...take charge.
Easier said than done. My last visit to the capital city was a quick affair. The city is hit by rains. The city is getting ready to host a big games event. And the traffic snakes out like a never-ending anaconda. I had a long journey getting from the airport to office and should have expected that going back too. However, I managed to miss my return flight. The reason - well, the traffic of course :-) . A normal 30 minute ride to the airport took me over 2 hours!! I was fuming at the traffic, but I should have planned for that. I was fuming at the car driver, for not showing a sense of urgency and getting me through the by-lanes. But, that would not have been much help in any case. I was fuming at the airline staff for not making that small concession, I was just five minutes late. But, they do have guidelines to follow. I was fuming at myself for letting this happen!!
Well, now that it had happened, I did the only other thing possible - buy a ticket on the next flight and try and get home for the night. The existing ticket was non-refundable. As the drama died down, I thought about the incident again and realized that while I missed the flight, I had some reasons to celebrate.
1) I missed my flight, but I had a credit card and enough empowerment in my organization to swipe it for a new ticket. I did not have a resource deficit.
2) My boss did not make a hue and cry, he knew without me having to explain that I had made my genuine effort to be on time. I did not have a trust deficit.
3) My new flight would get me home close to midnight. My wife stayed up late for me and opened the door with a smile. I did not have a love deficit.
4) My daughter asked me with a lot of indignation " but, father, how did you, you of all people, miss the flight?". I saw that she understood the value of being on time, saw me as someone who modeled these behaviors for her and her younger sister, she was surprised by my miss. Well on this one, I am pushing it and being optimistic. But, I guess, I did not have a value deficit.
I have so much to be grateful for. I wish that I had reacted better when I was stuck in the traffic, when I missed the flight. I wish I could have seen the positives and not lost my head, even if it was for that short span of time. And, finally, I don't say it enough, but, thanks to everyone who makes me see the positives every day!!!