By Byron Jones
We don’t know why that we do it, but it seems safe to assume we all know that we do. Technically it shouldn’t ever happen, you know? It’s simply illogical. What, you might ask, is so illogical? Making an association between mutually exclusive events. Funny how a stats term can be seemingly irrelevant to daily life…it’s not! It just seems that way.
You wake up and drag yourself out of your warm bed, make your way to some food source, and anxiously walk to class. You are getting your test back today…you sit down. The only seat available was in the back and you have to watch the whole class get their tests first. Those bastards. BAM! You get your grade back. Didn’t expect the grad to be THAT good, but it is! A mass text to your friends immediately follows this awesome news. It’s a great day to be you. Don’t be embarrassed that you literally gave yourself a pat on the back. You deserved it. The rest of the day you are untouchable. That workout later doesn’t seem that hard, that meeting with the co-chairs will be a breeze, and every joke seems a bit funnier. Weather is great regardless of whether you see the sun out.
Your hand slips, moves off, and almost slams on the desk. Class is so boring. The test won’t be handed back until the end of class. Man…this professor only read off the slides and it’s warm in here. You were bound to fall asleep. Wait…the tests are being passed out. WHAM! Well this is why the average was so low and maybe watching so much Walking Dead wasn’t the best idea. Man this sucks. Look at it again just to double check. Yup. Still sucks. Friends call out to you as you walk across campus, but until they’re a few feet away, you don’t hear them. Man that workout was hard, that meeting took forever, and why the hell has the weather been so miserable lately?
Something close to both of these scenarios has happened to all of us. If you think about it no event that isn’t directly related to that meeting later or that workout should effect our outlook on how they are going to go. The psychology behind it is not important and frankly I don’t really know it. What I do know is that we should obviously be aware of the pros and cons of both of these situations.
It’s obvious why you shouldn’t beat yourself up over a bad grade, or if that really cute person doesn’t pick up on your hints. You asked them to grab a bite to eat, but they are getting dinner with their friends after work. It’s ok (tears rolls down the cheek). Rejection happens. Sometimes things just don’t work out and that is ok. The one thing not to do is let it hang over you all day like a dark cloud. If that one thing went wrong…make DAMN sure that something else today goes right! You’re the maker of your own destiny. Enough so that you can make something go well. Don’t let it slide too easily because maybe there is something to be learned, but again, don’t dwell.
How can there be a downside to letting a good grade or getting that dream date carry you through the day? Being optimistic and feeling good is great. You should always recognize when something great has happened and let yourself enjoy it. When you work hard you are right to want to see the rewards. And you should! Don’t get carried though. Maybe you should be a little bit worried about that workout or meeting. Going in there with blind optimism may keep you from being properly preparing. Be happy and realistic.
Take the good with the bad. Ride the good waves for as long as you can without being carried away to a fantasy land. Ride that bad wave – however painful it may be – for just long enough to learn from it. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s all about learning how long to ride each one and what to do while you are.