Good day or bad day? Your choice.

I recently spoke with an old colleague who I hadn’t heard from for over a year..

I asked them how things were, and amongst the response was “I’m now doing ‘X’, it’s not my dream job but it will do.”


This saddened me – the person I knew was always positive and getting the best out of their situation and team. I then reminded them of the story below (which I’d shared many years ago), and how good they are and the choice about ‘ok’ situation and making it great is in their hands.


I’m looking forward to speaking with them again soon to see if the old spark has been reignited, for the benefit of him, his team, and his customers. This is something I always speak about with the people I work with as a Business Mentor – or to be more precise:


E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome). You can’t control the event, but you can control your response, which will help determine the outcome.


It’s a great story, and whether it is true or not is not the point – it demonstrates:


“Attitude is everything. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”


I hope you enjoy this story (it’s meant a lot to me over the years), then go out and make this (and every) day a great day. And if you’d like to discuss how to make this a reality for you please reach out to me.




Choosing Your Own Vision & Attitude and Having Fun at Work


Late one morning as I headed for lunch in San Francisco, I drove toward a toll booth. I heard loud music. It sounded like a party or a Michael Jackson concert. I looked around. No other cars had their windows open. No sound trucks. I looked at the tollbooth. Inside it, the man was dancing.


‘What are you doing?’ I asked.


‘I’m having a party,’ he said.


‘What about the rest of these people?’ I looked at the other tollbooths; nothing moving there. His response was ‘they’re not invited’.


I had a dozen questions for him, but somebody in a big hurry was punching the horn behind mw and so I drove off. But I made a mental note to myself: ‘find this guy again. There’s something in his eyes that say there’s magic in his tollbooth.


Months later I found him again, still with the loud music, still having a party.


Again, I asked, ‘what are you doing?’


He said ‘I remember you from the last time. I’m still dancing. I’m still having the same party.’


I said ‘look, what about the other people…’


He said, ‘Stop. What do those look like to you?’ He pointed down the row of tollbooths.


‘They look like … tollbooths.’


‘Noooooo imagination!’


I said ‘okay, I give up. What do they look like to you?


He said, ‘Vertical coffins.’


‘What are you talking about?’


‘I can prove it. At 8:30 every morning, live people get in. Then they die for eight hours. At 4:30, like Lazarus from the dead, they re-emerge and go home. For eight hours, brain is on hold, dead on the job, going through the motions.’


I was amazed. This guy had developed a philosophy and a personal vision about his job. Sixteen people dead on the job, and the seventeenth – in precisely the same situation – figures out a way to live. I could not help asking the next question: ‘Why is it different for you? You’re having a good time.’


He looked at me. ‘I knew you were going to ask that. I don’t understand why anybody would think my job is boring. I have a corner office, glass on all sides. I can see the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, and the Berkeley Hills – half the Western world vacations here – and I just stroll in every day and practice dancing.’

This tollbooth operator has realized that our life is what we make it. That what we want in life is just a decision away – a decision to see life with new eyes – to get a new view of life.


(Dr. Charles Garfield, from Condensed Chicken Soup for the Soul)


Jim Gorrie

Director & Business Mentor

Kent & Surrounding Areas


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