Your Car Won’t Start, And Oh, The Coffee Machine Is Broken

Silvia Damiano
2 min read

Everyone has days where nothing seems to fall into place. Mishaps, unfortunate coincidences, and accidents can ruin the day. But, in situations like this, it’s important to take a step back and really look at what there is to be thankful for. 

Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself

You know that feeling. When nothing is going right. Your kids, your partner, your boss, the neighbor, the bills, work, home life--so many things can both bring you up and bring you down. It makes it easy to have a pity party for yourself. But, you have to check that attitude, and instead reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, try to shift your thinking and show gratitude instead. Research has shown that grateful people are happier and more optimistic, and have stronger cardiovascular and immune systems. Technologies such as apps for your electronic devices are even available now to help people focus on being gratitude positive (Ghandeharioun, 2016).

Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.

Helen Keller

Feeling sorry for yourself can especially be a problem if you are a leader in your organisation. You want to project a confident, inspiring attitude, not one of self-pity. While everyone has bad days, it’s important to learn how to channel your feelings from something negative into something positive.

Is Your Attitude Going To Lead To Innovation, Or Are You Stifling Creativity?

Neuroscience is helping us understand how leadership roles affect our minds. Our brains are still stuck in the evolutionary trap of the survivor’s mind. We haven’t had time to evolve from the days where we had to run from predators, and the legitimate daily need to handle death threats.

While your office may be a tough place to work, there likely aren’t any saber tooth tigers lurking in the break room. You may still face difficult tasks, but chances are, no one is going to eat you if you don’t have the report in the morning. Give your brain the opportunity to learn how to properly react to events, without jumping to the worst-case scenario. Unless, of course, you work in a zoo!

The Imagination Age is here. Gone are the managers and attitudes of old. Leadership is not a static thing, it is fluid and you must adapt. Your attitude, facial expression, your tone of voice, and how you carry yourself matter. If you mope around, saying woe-is-me, your staff is not going to respect what you have to say. An attitude that combines positive thinking, proactivity, and embracing change is going to see opportunity everywhere, instead of lurking, imaginary threats.

Yes, sometimes your car won’t start. Your children won’t cooperate. Your dog might eat your favorite shoes. But, you likely still have a million things to be grateful for. Be a leader that shows others how to drive innovation and find opportunities even in dark times. The i4 Neuroleader Model can help you become that leader.

Ghandeharioun, A., Azaria, A., Taylor, S., & Picard, R. W. (2016). “Kind and Grateful”: A Context-Sensitive Smartphone App Utilizing Inspirational Content to Promote Gratitude. Psychology of Well-Being, 6, 9.

Originally posted on: 22 February 2018
Last updated on: 18 February 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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