Hoping To Have a Good Day? A Good Week? Year? Career?

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 06-17-22

How you start does matter, because it sets up momentum and other psychological factors to carry that momentum forward, as is also true in the reverse where a bad start can sabotage your remaining efforts.

Years ago, The Onion showed a light on this fact with this hilarious story that feels all too true. 

Admitting that he was unlikely to accomplish anything despite giving his best effort, local claims adjuster David Furman told reporters Thursday that he had effectively chalked up the day as a loss by 10:15 this morning. “I took a decent crack at it, but ultimately I’m gonna have to write today off,” said Furman, who reportedly started losing hope for the day approximately 45 minutes after arriving at work. “I did all I could to get some momentum going, but after 15 minutes of answering emails at my desk I just knew this day was beyond salvaging. Oh, well, there’s always tomorrow. I’ve done all I can.” Furman confirmed that he wasn’t overly discouraged, however, as he had already chalked up the entire week as a loss by Tuesday afternoon.

It’s important to recognize that this is dramatically more true the shorter the time horizon. Get a bad start in the 100-yard dash and you are done. Get a bad start in a marathon and there is plenty of time to make it up. Drag race versus 24-hour endurance race, game versus season, date versus relationship, single meeting versus new team, day versus career…bad starts matter in short durations. 

Pay extra attention to how you start, such as the start of the meeting or the start of your day. I’ve focused more on taking waste out of my start to the day, which I recorded this video about. That is more about taking waste out of my day’s start, which certainly helps, but is not the same thing as structuring your day to start on the right foundation. To be honest, I need to do better on that front. I’ve been thinking about that lately, and when I saw the above satirical piece from The Onion from my memories, I decided I would move from the “pondering” phase to the true problem-solving phase. I won’t get into my own analysis or solutions, as this is more about each of us working on the problem for ourselves and our own situation than about copying solutions. However, I will emphasize that this is the type of problem that we often admire without the resolve to do something, waiting for the magical solution to appear. It doesn’t work that way. Work on the problem, and experiment with the solution.