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The Up Beat
By Amy Wong

Four Days, No Internet, and a Surprisingly Positive Outcome

I couldn’t quite summon up the power of positive thinking Monday. I would be tied up in meetings the next two days and I was having serious doubts that I’d be able to get everything done for the June issue deadline Thursday. At home Monday night, I sat down on my sofa with my laptop after dinner and went back to work, virtually. I finished editing the last story for June, read it over and hit save. Now I can breathe a little easier, I thought, feeling some of my positivity return.

I clicked over to my email to send the story to Keren, our copy chief, so she’d have it first thing in the morning. Only I couldn’t. I’d lost my internet connection. My digital cable modem, which usually has four blinking green lights, was ominously dark. I reset it once, twice, three times. No lights. I called the cable company’s 24-hour helpline. The tech tried several different ways to resuscitate my modem remotely. Still nothing. “I’ll have to transfer you to a higher level of technical assistance,” he said.

My reaction was relief mixed with dread, like when your primary care doctor says she has to refer you to a specialist. The higher-level specialist couldn’t resurrect the modem either. “A technician will have to make a service call at your home,” she said. “I’ll give you the earliest appointment available.” Great. Except the earliest was Friday afternoon. There went my positive attitude. No internet for four days?! What would I do?

More than I thought, as it turned out. Sure, I had to put in longer hours at the office since I couldn’t wrap things up from home. But when I left work, I really left work for the day. I could just sit back and relax at home. I watched TV without feeling compelled to catch up on emails or my coworkers’ blogs during commercials. Instead of wandering the web and losing track of hours and hours, over those four days I made dinner from scratch twice, talked to a friend on the phone (not email for once!), finished reading a novel, even wrote some long overdue thank-you notes. Who knew I had all that free time, and during one of my busiest workweeks, no less? I wouldn’t have if my modem hadn’t died. Being disconnected from the internet surprisingly made me feel more connected with what I was doing in the moment.

Just goes to show even a negative occurrence can have a positive outcome. Has that ever happened to you?

Amy Wong is the executive editor of Guideposts and was a founding editor of Positive Thinking. She lives in New York City with her adopted dog, Winky, a natural-born positive thinker who believes that everyone has a treat for her and every day is the best day of her life. Amy hopes to be that optimistic someday (she’s working on it!).