I remember standing in a room with my brothers and sister.
My mom and a few other adults had gathered us together to tell us something important.
We all had an idea of what the news was going to be. But me and all my siblings were hoping it would be something else.
Then, my mom spoke.
She said “Kids, I’m sorry to tell you that your Father has died”.
“Dammit” I thought to myself… “I knew it”.
The adults took turns asking us questions about how we felt. They said we could say anything we wanted to.
I don’t think I said anything.
I stood in silence and decided, right then and there that I was going to destroy myself and take the entire world down with me.
I continued on this crash course for about 20 years.
Twenty Years Later
Today I’m sitting in a 15th floor corner unit, in a luxury high-rise apartment building in Hollywood, California.
Looking back, I can see now that my immediate reaction to my Dad’s death was incredibly dangerous (to myself and anyone who was near me).
And even though it felt like the world was ending at the time… things actually turned out to be…
I think things turned out pretty good, especially when you consider that I spent most of my life trying to pull life’s piano down on top of my head.
Even with all that – over time things just kind of – worked themselves out.
The Power of Hmmmm…
More than two decades after hearing that awful news, I’ve learned not to react so quickly when bad (or good) things happen.
These days, when I go through things, instead of reacting, I observe.
I literally say inside my head: “Hmmmm…”
I must have said“Hmmmm…” 15 times yesterday.
And I’ve said“Hmmmm…” around 10 times already today.
“Hmmmm…” is simply me saying: “Okay, this situation is not going the way I wanted it to go… but before I judge it, I wonder what will happen?”
Here are a few examples
- Affiliate Marketing. You launch 20 new ads and one starts getting a huge amount of clicks at a loss. You’ve spent $600 and it’s only made back $280. Instead of panicking and pausing the ad or dropping my bids, you just say “Hmmmm…” and wait to see what happens. 9/10 the ad makes a comeback, and because the traffic source has “selected” it, it runs huge volume at a profit for several days.
- Relationships. After spending years with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, they decide to leave you. Instead of going on a drinking binge, slitting your wrists and slashing their tires, you just say “Hmmmm…” and wait to see what happens. 9/10 you’ll end up feeling better, have time to work on yourself and meet someone better in the future.
- Jobs. You’ve invested a lot of time, energy and passion into your job. Then, one day your boss informs you that they’re cutting costs and your being let go. Instead of turning your desk over, screaming “F#CK ALL OF YOU!” and storming out of the office, you just say “Hmmmm…” and wait to see what happens. 9/10 you’ll look back later and realize that job really wasn’t really the place for you and helped force you into the direction you needed to go.
See how it works? By not immediately reacting to the situation you give the Universe a chance to work itself out.
And 9/10 it does.
- Ad network: “Hey Malan we just retro-banned all your ads for no reason”
- Me: “Hmmmm…”
- Campaign: Does better than ever
Disclaimer: Of course, if you catch on fire or something, you should definitely react immediately.
The “Hmmmm…” concept is pretty amazing.
I’ve been doing for a long time with success.
So I’m passing the ball to you. Experiment with it and see what happens.
The next time something “bad” happens.
Don’t react. Just sit back, take a minute and think…