This was a note I posted on my Facebook page some time ago. Thought it made sense to share here. -
Some people think that things happen for a reason. Others think that things happen to them. Sometimes, they will say, others are just lucky and they are cursed. There is something true about all those examples, things do happen, everyday, all the time, anywhere you are. Things continue to happen regardless any effort on our part. As a matter of fact, if things stopped happening ‘to us’, then we would really be in trouble.
After breakfast with my wife this morning, she noticed that the dishwasher was not draining. We both had the same ‘oh great what now’ reaction. Seems my morning, scheduled with a long list of to-do’s, was about to take a detour. I was very frustrated. Standing dishwasher water is kinda gross, but I manually bailed out the unit anyway. I found nothing. Enter the negative thoughts: “I don’t know what I am doing. I have to much to do to worry about this. Why is this happening, now, to me, etc.”. I did the only other thing I could think of and pulled the washer out from under the counter and removed the drain hose to see if it was blocked. It was not blocked, and I knew this because now there was a large pool of washed water covering the kitchen floor.
It seemed that what I should have done from the out set was call a appliance repair company. The appliance in question is fairly new, but of course just out of warranty, something else I thought ‘would of course happen to me’. It seemed that the major piece of self talk stopping me from seeing a solution here was “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know anything about Dishwashers.” These thoughts left me feeling worthless and frustrated.
After I gave up, I called a service tech. I stood there staring at the machine, wanting to kick it, to puish this inanimate object for destroying my day. With the day completely ruined, I began to sulk and called my dad.
When I explained to him the problem and how frustrated I was, we began to discuss the unit and how it worked. “So the water flows in, then once the basin is full, a pump circulates the water through the machine. Once the rinse is done, a second pump flows the water out. That must be the problem.” So, of course, I responded, “Well thats great, I am glad I called the tech, because I know nothing about pumps.” Seemingly without emotion, he asked me a simple question, “You know something about screws, don’t you?”
He proceeded to tel me that I didn’t need to know about how a pump worked to take a pump off. But, since he thought I might want to know, he told me how the pump worked and how it might just be jammed, not damaged or broken. With a good luck, he said good bye and left me, alone again, with my mess.
“You know something about screws, don’t you?” This echoed in my head. I guess I had nothing to lose, right? So, I took a look. Two screws and two clips. Simple. I removed them and the pump. More water on the floor, but I was less agitated this time for some reason. I looked inside and there is was, a toothpick, two actually, stuck in the impellor. I took the pump to the work table, removed the cover, and the toothpick just fell out. Just like that, fell out. I was thrilled! Reassembling the pump, then reattaching it, then putting the unit back in, I pressed the wash button. Everything worked! And drained!
I called my wife. I called and canceled the service tech. I called my dad, and then I just stared for a while smiling, realizing I had just learned and applied some valuable lessons.
1: Nothing happens to you, things just happen, then you DECIDE how you are going to react to them.
2: Use what you do know to anticipate what you don’t. A simple, patient thought would have told me, without knowing anything about dishwashers, that water would have spilled on the floor.
3: I did know something about screws. I was so focus on what I couldn’t do that I never considered what I could do.
4: I assumed. I assumed when I saw the standing water that I have a huge problem. I assumed my day was ruined. I assumed I could do nothing about it. When I stopped assuming all those negatives, I realized I didn’t have a 200 pound day-ender in my kitchen, I just had an out of place toothpick.
Do you have big problems at work or at home that you feel you can’t do anything about? Don’t focus on the overwhelming problem, focus on the screws, and maybe you will find a toothpick or two.