A Matter of Attitude

Posted by Jacinta Hin on September 13, 2007

Once a month I travel by train to a small provincial town about two hours away from Tokyo. I always take the same route, but the other day, for some reason, I decided to take a different one. Bad idea! The express train I had counted on had no empty seats left and I was forced to take local trains, changing lines three times. I missed my first connection and from then on I was caught in a labyrinth of stations and trains.

In other words, what was supposed to have been a relaxed and comfortable train ride with my book, a sandwich and a cup of coffee, became a frantic morning of checking timetables and running around unknown stations on an empty stomach.

When I finally made my destination (in time!) and had a few minutes to catch my breath, I wondered what had happened.

Was there a lesson to be learned? Was this about new experiences? Or was the world against me that day? Was I perhaps being punished for my lack or preparation or changing a proven routine?

To each of these questions there was an answer but none brought me any closer to understanding it. In the end I simply accepted it had happened and applauded myself for making my appointment in time and surviving the ordeal.

In conclusion it occurred to me that it really all comes down to attitude. Whenever something goes wrong or different from what we expect, how we deal with the new situation depends entirely on the attitude and perspective we take.

By simply being okay with the first part of my day having gone astray I could fully enjoy the second half. No stress, no difficult questions. Merely a pleasant afternoon.


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2 Comments so far
  1. Mark McClure September 27, 2007 1:30 am


    How would this post ever have been written if you had never wandered off the path? ;-)

    We can’t always control what happens to us but we can have a big say in our response… except when it is 3am and a mosquito is a buzzin round my ear grrr.

  2. Rob June 24, 2008 3:44 am

    When in a bind, I asked a pro what he would do in such a situation. His shocking answer was that he wouldn’t have gotten in that situation in the first place. At first this was a very unsatisfactory answer but after a while I accepted that he had learned from former experiences. Still, he might run into trouble, only at a more advanced level. So by solving one problem, you don’t solve all future problems. However, the willingness to learn from problems (even if you can’t always find a solution) is a good attitude to adopt. I am now trying to be a serial problem solver. Often this means you have to be willing to find a problem. If you don’t, nothing is going to change…

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