I am even thankful for the negative things that have made me a stronger and better person.
That may seem like a strange quote about thankfulness, but there is a genuine truth to it that can be a game changer if you can see it. I'm not a big fan of negative things, but some of the more painful and negative events in my life have truly made me a better person.
In 1984, I was an electrician wiring a large facility in Chantilly, VA for Entre Computers. It was a big job, but like all jobs, it eventually ended. When the project was complete, all of us who were involved in the project filed for unemployment compensation for the period between the end of that project and the start of the next project.
When I went to the local Virginia Employment Commission office, I was given all of the paperwork to fill out and then I waited for my turn to return it to the counter. When I arrived at the counter, the woman who was on the other side of it looked at me and then looked at my paperwork. I was about 30 years old at the time.
She instantly began insulting and berating me in front of a lobby full of filers. I was shocked. I guess she figured I was a healthy young man who should be working, and I had been. I was filing to fill the brief period between the end of one project and the beginning of the next one. It may be days, weeks or God forbid, months.
During her embarrassing tirade, she called me names, accused me of being lazy and she said I didn't deserve the benefit. Finally, I had enough and I pushed the paperwork across the counter and said, "Lady, I don't need your money, and remember, it's not your money. My employer paid in to this fund so all of his employees could received the benefits when our project was over."
I turned around, left the building and started my own company. Within a year, we were fully booked and had multiple employees. I resented the woman and her unbelievable attitude toward me, but that moment of anger that rose up in me ignited an entrepreneurial spirit that has continued to this day. The electrical company that I started in 1984 is still in business and is still employing people.
It was a very negative moment in my young life, but I'm thankful for the impact it had on me. It actually birthed a new person in me that has gone on to do some pretty fun and exciting things. So, today, "I am even thankful for the negative things that have made me a stronger and better person."
This blog is entry 2 of the Thankfulness challenge.