Staying Cool


Staying Cool

This past week has been anything but easy.

After well over 20 hours and four connecting flights, I arrive after my second to final flight to learn that they’ve lost my bag and would have to track it down the next day. They promised to mail it to my location once they have it, but I was skeptical.

To further provoke me, the airport tried to sell me on a taxi ride to my hotel for a fixed rate of 1,450 PhP ($32). I took an Uber ride instead for about 150 PhP ($3).

After landing in my final destination, I realized that my phone’s internet connection wasn’t working. It was crawling and dropped out every few minutes. I basically depended on it because I’d connect my laptop to the hotspot to get online.

No internet meant no working. Speaking to a customer service agent in-person wasn’t helpful either.

So I went to Starbucks, hoping I could catch up on my several days worth of missed items on my to-do list. Guess what? No luck with steady internet there.

It was getting late. I went home and decided to deal with everything the next day.

The most surprising part of this all, though, is that I reacted to all of the above far better than expected.

If these events had happened to past-Vincent, from a year ago, he absolutely would’ve lost his cool. He would’ve been red in the face and ready to angrily vent to anyone who would listen.

But I somehow stayed calm as each inconvenience and annoyance built on top of the previous one. I went with the flow and accepted things were outside of my control.

Yeah, I definitely wasn’t in the best mood, but there was a mental stillness, a dramatic improvement over my past self.

Why spend time energy worrying about all the bad crap that happened? I’m in another freaking country! I’m back in Southeast Asia and got to catch up with many awesome friends.

None of the issues faced this week were permanent. I eventually got my bag back. I have a working internet connection that lets me do what I need to do.

Maybe I’m simply used to things breaking and not going 100% right on this side of the world, but I like to think it’s not just that. Perhaps I’ve realized how futile it is to complain and get angry.

There’s a long-standing impact your reactions have on your happiness and mood.

There’s no enjoying the moment when you’re angry. There’s no thinking clearly.

Negatively reacting to anything is a mental drain that rarely helps to improve the situation. A cool head means better decisions.

I wasn’t the only one that had a lost bag. There were plenty of others at the counter and one of them verbally lashed out at the employee who was trying to sort everything out. That improved things by exactly 0%.

When I calmly talked to the employee and empathized with his position, he took the time to walk me through everything and even personally followed up via phone calls over the course of the next couple of days until I got my bag back.

Next time you’re upset, step back a bit and ask yourself, “Is this completely outside of my control?”

If the answer is yes, shrug and see how things play out.

If it’s no, then remember problems are much easier to solve when you’re level-headed.

Stay cool.

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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.)

Latest posts by Vincent Nguyen (see all)

16 responses to Staying Cool

  1. I know how that feels, Vincent–the delayed bag and overpriced cab fare, at least 🙂

    It’s nice to stay cool at any “new” moment; I can almost always keep my cool as long as I’m in a new situation.

    What could be difficult is to be trapped in a “not cool” grind. Just imagine having to try everything but they simply don’t want to stay cool, while you’ll be with them for the next few years.

    Congratulations for allowing the shift from past Vincent to the present one. That’s great. You just showed us that we could actually kill any negative triggers that play in our head at any given moment; we are bigger than them.

    I needed to read this, thanks for sharing it. Stay cool, keep at it!

  2. Hey, totally agree with you.
    You have changed and improved. it is proof that you are learning and growing.

    I look at you and I think, ” if you can do it, so can I”

    That said, I took a look at your website. Growth Ninja.

    Nice, sleek, design and interface.
    Asides from the fact that your copyright footer still reads 2014 not 2015, everything else was wonderful.

  3. Well said – there’s (usually) nothing to gain from losing your cool!

    Although I have a long way to go to reach your level of coolness, I like to think I’m much less affected by the minor annoyances of life than I used to be!

  4. Your awesome

  5. Vincent, I admire you.
    You are a great person who I learn a lot. Thank you for you sharing.

  6. Exactly Vincent. Here you make a really good point, staying cool makes things easier for us.
    Few days back 7-8 guys wanted to kick my a** because they were angry at me even they knew it wasn’t my fault, I dealt them like I was the coolest man on earth and they finally became friends :p hats off to coolness 🙂

  7. Thank u for sharing, it is inspiring.. As I m facing lot of issues these days.

  8. Wow Vincent, you are a cool dude 😉
    I’m inspired by your growth and the ability to find rich life lessons in everyday situations. That’s why your posts are so awesome.

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