It’s human nature to focus on things that go poorly. If there are two lines at the grocery store, of course you picked the slow one, as always. It’s not always like that, it’s just that you don’t really remember the times when your line moved quickly.
On Thanksgiving day, I had to drive roughly 360 miles and it was a smooth, quick, uneventful drive. It’s the kind of drive that’s easy to forget, but one that I really should be thankful for (and here’s my effort to remember and appreciate it).
We see a similar thing in sports, where the referees are always favoring the other team. Of course, the fans of the other team see things as being completely unfair as well, but in the other direction. This isn’t just a hunch, but I shared before about a social psychology study that confirmed it.
In the case of referees, it can have rough side effects. The “Offside” page on Facebook chronicles bad sporting behavior directed and refs, and it’s leading to shortages of officials. Fans want to feel wronged when things don’t go their way, so they take it out of the referees, and we’re heading for a tough future in youth sports.
Similar to my Thanksgiving drive, I try to take note of when a “bad call” goes in favor of my team. It all balances out.
In the coming year I’m certainly going to get stuck in bad traffic, wait in long lines, and be disappointed about an unfavorable call against my team. Remembering the “positive accidents” to offset those is a great way to stay calm and focused and ready for whatever comes next.