It's 2 am Monday, and our power just went out.
The outside temp is 15° in Austin, Texas.
"1 in a 100-year storm," they say.
We burned all our firewood and even resorted to breaking down a few wooden IKEA shelves to use as fuel.
We wisely book a hotel for that night after running out of firewood and realizing how ridiculous it is to resort to burning furniture for warmth.
The next morning we try to stay at the hotel again since our power had not been restored, but they already sold our room to someone else and the entire hotel is full.
Hotels sold out all over the city.
That night, a friend graciously opens her house to our whole family—Rowen, Darrow, Allison, Mom, Bailey, the dog, and myself.
That night, we take a trip back to the house to get some food.
As I walk to the front door, I hear smoke alarms going off.
I open the door and hear that unmistakable sound of rushing water.
I look down and see 6 inches of water all over the floor and more pouring down out of the ceiling.
Nooooo, I say out loud, and my emotions start to well up as I freeze...
Then my brain goes to ACT NOW, YOU FOOL!
I think about the main water line to the house the landlord showed me a few days ago.
I rush outside.
A few adrenaline-filled minutes later, I get the water turned off, but the water is still leaking everywhere.
Maybe it's pooled in the ceiling...
We manage to get the main water line turned off and setup bins and trashcans around to catch the constant drips.
Then for the next three hours, in 25° weather, I'm barefoot sweeping water out the front door with a broom. Luckily the adrenaline kept me warm.
We find out from the landlord that it will take four days to get a cleanup company out there to assess the situation since this is happening all over the city.
Now we need to find a new place to live, pay movers again, and go through the entire moving process after a week of just settling in here.
I wouldn't share this with you if there wasn't a lesson in here.
After physically exhausting myself in the cold and wet house, I felt calm and content—I had done all I could do.
Now that I had done everything I could physically, it was time to do what I could mentally.
And that's where our Better Mind Principles, The Framework of Control, came in like a pro.
By identifying what I could control vs. what I couldn't, my only choice became how I would respond to the situation.
Would getting upset or blaming or feeling bad for myself do anything to improve my situation?
And it may have made things worse.
So what is my best course of action?
To think logically about what the next steps were, like start looking for a place immediately, contact our real estate agent, make a list of any valuables we needed to protect inside and move out quickly, and so on.
But that's not all.
There's also gratitude.
Gratitude for a million things, like the family being safe and healthy, or the fact that this wasn't our house.
I'm also grateful for the struggle because I know it is the flip side of not struggling and is thus necessary to apprecaite the good times. Plus, I'm sure I'll look back and see how this turned into an opportunity for something better since it seems like anytime life gives you a shit sandwich, it's just setting you up for something better.
Every obstacle is an opportunity.
On the drive home, I thought about the many ways it could have BEEN WORSE.
This practice was called negative visualization by the Stoics, and it has a nifty way of reminding you to be grateful.
So now, as I write this a few days later, I have peace of mind, and I'm focused on the many things to be grateful for.
I'm still astonished that there is so little emphasis on HOW TO THINK inside our education system and culture.
It is a bizarre thing.
You'd think we'd spend more time helping people deal with the many life stressors that happen to us all.
But we don't.
And that's why the Better Mind program exists—to help you think in a way that prepares you for life's challenges while also giving you the tools you need to flourish in all aspects of your life, from finances to relationships to health.
To enroll today in our 8-week group training program or the self-paced option, head over to BetterHuman.School or reply to this email.