The three things you always have

You always have three things. The three things are your answers to these questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. How you feel about it?
  3. What are you’re going to do next?

It’s common to confuse #2 with #3. Some people get stuck on the feelings for the past and never move on.

Feelings are important as that’s how we know who we are. Venting, dwelling or celebrating serve the purpose of being present with how we feel. But after a day, a week, or a month, you have to recognize feelings aren’t actions. Only if a feeling is converted into a decision, even if it’s just the decision to share the feeling with someone, can it impact the future. Even if your situation is ‘life is awesome’, the answer to #3 might be ‘figure out how to keep this going’ or ‘tell my friend who wants me to be happy how happy I am’.

For example, lets pretend I was attacked by a gang of wild terrorist bears:

  1. What happened: I was attacked by wild terrorist bears.
  2. How you feel about it: sad, scared and angry. And somewhat dead.
  3. What you’re going to do next: stop running naked in a suit made of beef hot dogs, which terrorist bears are known to love to eat, at the terrorist bear exhibit at the zoo.

There you go. #3 leads to an action that leads to a new set of three things. That is of course if you’re not dead. If you’re dead you have precisely zero things. Be glad you have at least three more things than dead people do.

And to conclude, here’s my three things:

  1. What happened: I wrote this post.
  2. How do you feel: Glad someone is still reading this.
  3. What are you going to do next: Wait to see if you leave a comment. I’ll give you a suit of hot-dogs if you do.

21 Responses to “The three things you always have”

  1. Evonne Benedict

    Can I leave a comment even if I’m a vegetarian and therefore don’t need a suit of hot-dogs?

    Reply
    • Scott

      For you I can offer a suit of free range soy-sausages. I tried it with the terrorist bears but they didn’t go for it.

      Reply
  2. Ola

    Thank you for inspiration! It’s far too easy to stuck in emotions and forget the actin thing.
    Good night (it’s midnight here in Poland)

    Reply
  3. Jennie

    I would love to leave a brilliant comment, but you’ve really said it best. Regardless of what we’ve been through – a success, a mediocre day, or a tragedy – we always have the proper tools at hand to figure out what to do next. Well done! Now about that bear exhibit; where is that exactly? After going through your 3-step process, it turns out my #3 is sending someone to check that out…wearing the suit of hotdogs you are graciously donating. ;-)

    Reply
    • Scott

      Oh, you see that’s the brilliance (and I use that term with infinite looseness) of this: ANY bear exhibit will do. In fact it works well with lions and tigers too. I suspect the hot dog suit is optional but there’s only one way to find out!

      Reply
  4. Abby

    If the hot dog suit was improper attire at the terrorist bear exhibit, it would make sense to wear something different. How about a suit made of raw hamburgers (which terrorist bears love) on the next occasion, if there is a next occasion for you, because you might be dead and not attend.

    Reply
    • Scott

      I could try hamburgers, but I suspect the casings on the hotdogs help them hold together in ways hamburgers will not. Only one way to find out!

      Reply
  5. Lucy

    I suppose the most difficult problems in life are when people have trouble with thing #1. Identifying what happened can sometimes be very subjective (not so much with the example of being chased by terrorist bears, of course). Also, I’d like to add that identifying why something happened can be equally important in determining what to do next.

    Reply
  6. Christie

    I can see so many applications for this with the children I work with as well as in my personal life. Something to think about for sure!

    Reply
  7. sdimeglio

    You really made it simple to analyze a situation by distilling the process down to the basics. Thanks. The hardest part is questioning whether your feelings are a direct result of the situation or a product of your own perception of it, which may or may be accurate or in your best interests. A faulty perception could result in an action that would not be the most beneficial one to you or best achieve your purpose.

    Reply
  8. Kathi

    This is great – we may not prevent happened, or how we feel about it, but we may certainly decide the action we will take from there.
    I am hoping to avoid the terrorist bears, and know my dog will be really glad to see me with my suit of hot dogs.

    Reply
  9. James Braund

    Thanks Scott.

    Concise & effective

    Reply
  10. Joerg

    1. How is your foot doing?
    2. How do you feel about this now?
    3. What are you looking forward to do as soon as you are fully rehabilitated?

    Keep up the good work!
    Jörg

    Reply
  11. Sean Crawford

    As a non-victim once said to me, “Once you start accepting responsibility (for action) there’s no turning back.”

    When I was chairing meetings at work among peers I could count on one person in particular having negative feelings: “They should etc…” (for ex. not paint the doors) As chairman, I would ask “How can you make turn that (what you said) around to a positive?” ANS: “I could etc….” (for ex. put up a ‘wet paint’ sign)
    Then I would get a commitment and then (chuckle) put it into the meeting minutes.

    What I hear you implying, Scott, is we could make it a habit to look to take action.

    Reply
  12. Kenneth Vogt

    It strikes me how much of a sticky wicket #1 is. What happened is in the eye of the beholder. Lots of stuff goes off the rails when someone thinks their version of what happened is The Truth.

    Reply
    • Scott

      #1 could be multitudes – there are many different points of view on what happened, even if there’s only one person there (as years later we may think something very different happened than we did at the time)

      Reply
      • Kenneth Vogt

        Yeah, there is nothing more hilarious than when even I don’t agree with me about what happened.

        Reply
  13. Dakota

    What did you do? Read this post.
    How do you feel about it? Fairly indifferent.
    What are you going to do next? Wait for my suit of hotdogs.

    Reply
  14. Nadia

    I use this when I babysit and am giving a time out. It really works. Effective. Consice. Brilliant. I really don’t like hot dogs but I’ll be waiting for my suit anyway ;D

    Reply

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