morning sitting at the breakfast table with his family my dad accidently knocked over a cup of orange juice onto my grandpa just before he was going to work. My grandpa had no control over what happened. What happened next was determined by how he acted. He was extremely upset and he harshly scolded my dad and made him cry. He then turned to my grandma and criticized her for placing the cup near the edge of the table. A short verbal battle followed, and then my grandpa stormed upstairs to change his shirt. As he came back downstairs he found my dad had been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school, and therefore missed the bus. He rushed to the car and drove my dad to school. Because he was late, he drove 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit zone.
After a 15 minute delay and throwing $60 (traffic fine) away, he arrived at school. My dad ran to the building without saying good-bye. Arriving at the office 20 minutes late, my grandpa found he forgot his briefcase. Thinking about that, my grandpa’s day started out terrible. As it continued, it seemed to get worse and worse because of how he reacted. What caused this bad day? Was it the orange juice, my dad, the policeman? Or was it my grandpa?
It was my grandpa. He had no control over what happened with the orange juice. How he reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused his bad day.
Here is what could have and should have happened. Orange juice splashes over my grandpa. My dad is about to cry. My grandpa gently says “It’s OK son, you just need to be more careful next time”. Grabbing a towel he rushes upstairs and grabs a new shirt and his briefcase. He comes back in time to look through the window and see my dad getting on the bus. He turns and waves. He arrives 5 minutes early and cheerfully greets the staff. His boss comments on how good of day he is having.
Notice the difference? Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different. Why? Because of how he reacted. Millions of people are suffering undeserved stress, trials, problems, and heartache. Bad days follow bad days. Terrible things seem to be constantly happening. Life can often seems cruel.
I believe that 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane may be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90% by your reaction. You cannot control a red light, but you can control your reaction.