Here’s how SUCCESS taught me to overcome negative thoughts

Lessons learned from a hospital room

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The author writing from a hospital room couch

When it rains, it pours. Isn’t that how the saying goes? And that’s the sort of negative thoughts I’ve had lately as I come to grips with my former employer SUCCESS magazine shutting down, spending days at the hospital with my grandmother and looking out for my mother who’s home sick after picking up the flu this week.

I’ve been spouting ‘It comes in threes’ beatitudes, while sidestepping black cats and throwing salt over my shoulder. I swear surely somebody, somewhere opened an umbrella indoors and cast some bad luck upon us.

As I walk down the hospital hallways, it’s easy to feel sorry for myself, and I think most people here do, considering the gravity of what brings you here. You can see it in their faces with the half-effort smile they try to pass off in the hallway and their body language with imaginary weight on their shoulders.

But here in the hospital, I imagine us all with gothic gargoyles perched on our shoulders, if you will, with the meanest ugliest ones sitting heaviest on the gravest cases. 

However, I’m taking a different approach to things nowadays. I read in this old magazine called SUCCESS that when I’m facing a difficult time, I should be mindful of my negative thoughts and instead focus on what I’m grateful for. 

So I decided instead of toting my gargoyle around with me as I walk through the hospital halls after a 12 hour day, I realize this life change is a blessing in disguise. I’m grateful that my unemployment gives me time to spend time with my grandmother, being her best advocate with nurses and doctors. It gives me time to write this blog while she sleeps. (And search for work, if you’re reading this Texas Workforce Commission.)

I’m not focusing on negative thoughts, or letting those thoughts run away from me like they normally would. Usually those suckers can run pretty fast.

Instead I’m grateful for the wonderfully kind nurses at Medical City of Plano. Nurses are overworked and underappreciated, so I could understand if we had a few impatient ones. But not here, everyone has been especially hug-worthy.

I’m grateful for the impressive amenities and spacious corner room we’re in. We could be sharing a room with another patient, I know. The hospital is brimming with flu patients, so I understand the need.

And finally I’m grateful for the little creature comforts I’m afforded, like this deep couch bed I’m working on right now, the ice machine that has the good little crunchy ice, and clearly the best part, the Jello.

About me

I’m former director of digital content for, available for contract/consulting work and discussions about hospital Jello. Contact me at [email protected], now sugar-free.

Originally published at

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