Above is the results for a 5K race that I ran last Wednesday. I run this race every year. It is held at the Wisconsin State Fair park. This is one of my favorite places to go. This year, I had open-heart surgery in January. My goal was to come back and finish the race in 30 minutes or less. As you can see, I fell short by 7 minutes. I was disappointed to learn this. My cardiovascular and breathing were just not up to the task. I vented to those that did the race with me. I figured 6 months after surgery would have been enough to get back in shape. I was reminded for the first 4 months after surgery, you are advised to do little, if anything at all. This means that I really only had 2 months to train for this race.

Although this made me feel slightly better, I am still a little disappointed I did not make me goal. Normally, I am the fellow who advises you to find and focus on the positives in a situation. This is true here too. After having my chest sawed in half and a chunk of my heart cut out and replaced (and dying for a brief period of time) I still finished with the same time I did the year prior. It was only 6 months after surgery, and I was told it will take a full year to be back at 100%. Still, I want to keep this feeling of disappointment with me. Why on earth would I want to do that? I want to do what I advise everyone to do in my book Living the Dream. Find a way to use your emotions instead of letting them use you.

In this case, on the days I do not feel like going to the gym, I am going to remember that feeling of disappointment. When I do not feel like eating better, I am going to remember how it felt to struggle as I ran. These feelings will not only serve to keep me on track, but will push me to better myself. That is how to put negative feelings to work for you. Is there something you are disappointed in yourself for? Did you yell at your spouse when they didn’t deserve it? Use that to push you to get a better control of your temper and to find ways to make it up to yourself. Disappointed you didn’t get what you wanted done at home? Use that feeling to get you up and out of bed the next day to tackle the activity you want to accomplish.

So called negative emotions will always be a part of our lives. As we work to limit them, we should also find ways to put them to use for us as well. In that way we turn what used to be a negative into a positive. What are some ways in which you have done this in your own life?

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