Career got you stressed? Try yelling “Plot Twist!”


“When something goes wrong in your life, just yell “Plot Twist!” – and move on.”

plot twistSaw this quote recently and it made me laugh. But there is such a lesson in it, too. Things happen in life that can really throw us off balance – things like getting laid off because of a bad economy, or missing a special family get together because you suddenly get really sick (as happened in my family last week on Christmas Day), or having a flight cancel at the last moment, ruining your carefully laid out schedule. And on and on.

But it’s our attitude toward those happenings that spell the difference between anger or discouragement and being hopeful. It’s our attitude that will make the difference between being able to laugh at the situation and adjust or becoming someone everyone else wants to avoid until we’ve managed to cool off. Learning to stay positive and roll with the punches is a skill that doesn’t come easily to most people, especially not to planners like most of us engineers tend to be. However, it is a skill worth developing because of the positive benefits it will have for us and for those around us – benefits that include reduced stress, better sleep, better relationships, and improved problem-solving abilities. Let’s face it, when you’re feeling angry and frustrated and depressed, you probably aren’t in the best frame of mind to come up with creative workarounds. You also won’t be able to present yourself in the best possible light (eg., in interviews and networking situations).

So next time something unexpected happens, go ahead, be silly and actually yell, “Plot Twist!!” If nothing else, you’ll probably get someone around you to laugh! And since laughter is contagious, you just might start feeling better yourself.


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