We’ve All Got Bad Days (Sometimes One After the Other)


We've All Got Bad Days (Sometimes One After the Other)

11 months and 13 days. That’s how long it took for me to leave the Philippines.

My experiences there have been incredible and I couldn’t possibly ask for more.

But my last week… Was miserable. And no, it wasn’t because I was suffering from “I’ll Miss This Place-itis” (though I’ve had a horrible cough for over two weeks now).

I woke up this Monday to some horrible news. My grandpa, the man who practically raised me from birth until high school graduation, had a minor stroke and was in the hospital.

Several hours later, we get some bad news at work. I won’t bore you with the details but it wasn’t pretty for some of our clients.

And of course, I end the night with another personal issue (details confidential).

Okay, so not my best Monday, but at least I was heading to Thailand soon.

Wait. I wasn’t allowed on my flight…

It turns out, if you stay in the Philippines for longer than six months, you need to get what’s called an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC). I think it’s to make sure you didn’t do anything naughty during your stay.

Anyway, I pass through security with my boarding pass and passport in hand, but was denied entry because I didn’t get the ECC. The woman working the counter brought me to the immigration officers who explained that I’d have to miss my flight.

My plane took off without me. I had to stay the night in Manila, head to immigration in the morning, and buy a new plane ticket for the exact same time the following night.

Twitter Screenshot

So, yeah. I had a pretty terrible week.

It sucks and I only have two options here:

Hang onto how awful I’ve felt all week and taint my memory of a wonderful time


Reflect on all the positive experiences, enjoy the present, and look forward to what’s next

Guess which one I’m going for?

I have a tendency to overthink things. I feel like I have to worry for an adequate amount of time before I’m allowed to let it go. Literally, I ask myself, “Have I worried about this enough yet?” I’m still in that phase now, by the way.

But you can’t change the fact that you’ve had a shitty day.

We all get handed bad days and you better get used to it.

So if you’re having one now, just know that I know exactly how you feel. And remember that we’ll both be alright.

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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28 responses to We’ve All Got Bad Days (Sometimes One After the Other)

  1. Hey man, sorry to hear the trip back started off on the wrong foot. My Grandma has been having issues as well needing her to be in the hospital, it sucks.

    The two guys I live with are very pragmatic and less emotionally charged than I am. They always say:

    If you can change a situation, do something about it.
    Otherwise you need to accept it, and plan what you can do about it.

    We don’t control life, we control our reactions to it, as they say.

    So I guess for your Grandpa it’s getting your ass to the hospital as soon as you get to the US (if possible) to see him. The ECC getting it cleared so you can get back home, and so on…

    I know I’m not really telling you stuff you don’t know, but hang in there man. Rough times always pass and it seems like most things are going well otherwise :).

    • No worries dude. Life has its ups and downs and it was about time I got hit by the bottom a bit. Keeps you humble and reminds you to be grateful for when it’s good.

      What your buddies say sounds like Stoicism’s dichotomy of control (or trichotomy if you go by William B. Irvine’s modification.) Wonderful way to keep yourself sane and maximize enjoyment out of life.

  2. You are absolutely right that somedays we feel bad and that is okay and normal. It is great to learn to accept it and embrace those feelings like all other feelings. It will help them pass faster. I was feeling shitty and down for part of Sunday and then eventually it passed after I exercised and worked on facing a fear I had.

    • Ah, exercise. That right there is the most effective (and healthiest) way to get things out of your system. I’m being lazier than I should be when it comes to exercise. Though I did manage to replace regular gyming with daily table tennis, so that’s not too bad!

      If anyone knows a table tennis club in Chiang Mai, hit me up!

  3. Oh yeah, bad days. We’ve all had one of these where it seems that everything in the world doesn’t agree with us and trying to piss us off. Once mishap after another. I’ve had one of these myself and it really is frustrating. The only thing I do to cheer myself up is to tell myself that it’s just one of those days and that tomorrow won’t be the same.

    By the way, where in PH were you staying?

    You have a great blog Vincent, keep posting valuable content!

  4. I’m sorry to hear you missed your flight. I wanted to take this time to let you know I really enjoy your e-book and even reading your having a shitty week has been inspirational thank you


  5. We can’t control life…only our reaction to it…Very wise, but not so easy. You guys may have seen me here before: I lost my husband, home and business within a year. I haven’t recovered from any of it, and my son is showing signs of oppositional defiance disorder (he opposes/defies me on everything – kind of an anger management issue of a higher order). My lows have been extremely low these days, but I am trying to find and hang on to the good things. And exercise DOES help, at least to improve the mood. Sadly, it doesn’t address the causes. I know that it only takes one lucky break to get things going in the right direction. Exercise for the body, and reading, for the mind. Books and blogs like this are pushing me forward. Thanks, guys!

  6. When having bad days I remind myself that even the Dalai lama has bad and its part of life that reminds us we are all human and makes us prepare and appreciate the good days 🙂

    Be well

    • You got it! Not a single person on this earth has it completely perfect. We’ve all got our moments of greatness and of course, periods of defeat. Keep getting out of bed every morning and doing what you do.

  7. Hi Vincent,
    What a week! I was glad to wake up to this email, the reason being I’ve had a pretty ad 6 months. What happens when things go past the few bad days or weeks? What happens when you’re brushing your teeth and dont recognise the person staring back at you in the mirror anymore?
    Whether a few days, weeks or even months. You need to believe and know that you wont always feel this bad. I found the longer this rut has lasted the harder it is to maintain perspective.
    This is really my biggest challenge at the moment, its almost become my mission to persuade myself that things were different once.
    Thank you for sharing your week and helping me to believe I’m not the only person feeling this way!
    Peerspective for day achieved. And all I did was open my inbox. Thank you

    • Hey Kirsten,

      Like you said, “you won’t always feel this bad.”

      Sometimes that’s difficult to believe when months and months go by without change. But lose that faith and what do you have left? Going through your struggles with a pessimistic and disillusioned view doesn’t get you through the storm any faster. Arguably, it slows you down.

      So why not believe that it gets better? You have nothing to lose by choosing to go at it with a smile and your chin up. If anything, you may make it through faster as you see opportunities present themselves (because you’re looking out for them.)

  8. We have to accept our up-down days equally, and for me I try my best to enjoy my downs days, which made me know what is the meaning of life

    • Yeah, there really is value in taking our bad days with as much stride as we can. Might as well minimize the blowback and maximize for comfort when possible.

    • Insightful comment. I’ve been slowly accepting that I cannot reduce the number of bad days, but learning how to acknowledge and accept them as they come. You’re right — really helps alter (in a good way) how you can understand life.

      Also — thanks for the post, Vincent! I’m sorry that you had some bad luck, but it’s very thoughtful of you to share it. And so happy that you did your best to move on in a positive way.

  9. Russell Johnson October 22, 2014 at 9:03 am

    man that was an interesting story. what I got from is it that you kept your composure and though you did have to purchase a new ticket you reflected on the good of the day. I hope your grandad is well.

    • Heh, definitely wasn’t cool and composed when I first learned I couldn’t board my plane. I was having a mini-meltdown in my head and was obviously stressed on the outside. Glad it all worked out in the end though.

      My grandpa is doing better and is recovering, thankfully.

  10. Thanks for sending me an email directing me to your article I have shared a little of my struggles this year and it is good to know you are not alone in your struggles. Years later you tend to remember the stuff going wrong on your travels as funny, although not at the time it is usually “All hell broke loss when the shit hit the fan” . I love that you are real which means you share your highs,lows and everything in between that make you relatable. What have you got lined up for your next adventure? Cheer Sandy xxx

    • Thanks, Sandy! Good to hear I’m relatable in my writing because sometimes I do wonder “Does anyone get value and connect with what I’m putting down in words?” It makes writing that much better to know it’s connecting with someone.

  11. Hello from the USA! I am sorry you had a rough week, and if it isn’t better now, it will get better soon. I had just stumbled across your website this evening, and it has already been an incredible experience for me! I downloaded your eBook and I can’t wait to read it! Safe travels. 🙂

    • Hey Liz and welcome to my site!

      Definitely is better now that I’m in Chiang Mai (lovely city, by the way.)

      Please do let me know what you think of the book once you’re finished. 🙂

  12. Hey Vincent,

    I have been meaning to comment on several of your articles lately. It seems that many of your articles directly relate to an upcoming event in my life. A friend and I are planning to bicycle coast to coast (Georgia to California) in March and April of 2015.

    So your articles (Kick Fear in Its Face, Do it for the Challenge, Don’t rely on one Experience, Leave Comfort Behind) all relate to our plans. My friend has made a major decision in his life. He is retiring at age 44 to explore the world. Our two-month trip will be his first major adventure. And I, at age 67, will be really putting your advice to the test.

    So… when you are having a bad day (or several in a row), remember that you are building a legacy and that your “from the soul” articles are making a positive difference in the lives of others. You are living a significant life and I admire you greatly for that.

    And I hope your grandfather is recovering. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help him. I live close.

    Bob Reynolds (from your Adopted State of Arizona).

    • That sounds awesome, Bob! MAJOR adventure and I don’t think I’d be able to keep up.

      Thanks for the support and I hope we get to catch up over lunch when I’m back in Arizona. We’ve got a lot to cover!

  13. Thanks, I feel inspired. I’ve fallen so behind in classes that I believe I’m going to fail my first semester of college and it’s only because I did it to myself. Bad habits, Distractions, and no Discipline all led to me digging myself into this deep abyss of late work and new assignments each day. I truly think it’s time to stop dragging this dead horse (the fear of how hard it’s gonna be to climb out) around before things just get worst and I never make anything out of my self but a huge totally avoidable dept. Thank you.

    • Not sure if this would apply to you but I find changing up my physical environment on a frequent basis to be very stimulating for my productivity. Since getting to Chiang Mai, I’ve literally been working from a different coffee shop or co-working space every day.

      Right now, I’m in a coffee shop that has a hammock, ping pong table, and billiards table outside. Indoors, I’m sitting on a long wooden table surrounded by four others working away at their laptop. To my right, more people working away.

      Working from the same place every time makes for bad habits and distractions. Break the habits up by thrusting yourself into a new location.

      Hope that helps!

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