During the summer of my junior year in college, I decided to give the always challenging door to door sales a try; selling educational resources in the lovely town of Bristol, CT.
I'm not sure why I voluntarily signed up to work 70-80 hours knocking on doors under the hot east coast sun, but there I was trying to sling some books.
Unlike 95% of my door to door colleagues who had a car to navigate their selling territory, I was armed with a bike and some sunscreen.
One morning, fresh off a sale, I set my bike down and went to knock on yet another door.
While the mother of 3 who answered wasn't interested, she invited me in for a cold glass of lemonade.
It was the best glass of lemonade I ever had.
When I was done, I walked out the door eager to head to my next house, only to realize that my bike was no longer there.
I looked left.
I looked right.
My bike had been stolen.
Not exactly a great way to start the day.
Fortunately, the program I was with for the summer taught us that no matter how bad things may seem, there's virtually always something GOOD that can come out of a given situation.
Throughout our training they always challenged us to come up with three positive things if we found ourselves in a bad situation.
So given my bike had just been stolen, I decided to put the exercise to the test.
One: I no longer had a bike, but at least walking door to door would be good exercise and I could enjoy the incredibly bumpy bike paths on foot.
Two: The bike I had been using was in pretty bad shape with a bent tire which rubbed against the brakes when I rode. Now I could invest in a new bike guilt free and not have to pedal 3x as hard.
Struggling to find a 3rd 'positive' out of the situation, I kicked my creativity muscle into gear.
Settling on the perfect #3.
Three: Whoever stole my bike, likely didn't know the brakes didn't work and we were on top of a steep hill.
Karma works in funny ways.
I lasted only a few weeks selling door to door before I decided my time was better spent elsewhere.
But at least I came away with an exercise I've used hundreds of times ever since.
If you find yourself in a bad situation, try listing out 3 positives, it really can change the entire course of your day. :)