HW 011: When getting your iPhone stolen leads to gratitude

gratitude and happiness podcastGetting your smartphone stolen must surely rank among the biggest fears of mankind (though I have no numbers to back up this intuitive claim). Not only does a lost phone, especially if we’re talking the outrageously pricy iPhone 6+S, incur financial damage. It’s also a big hassle as you have to navigate a now large and dangerous world all on your own.

Just imagine: No connection to the world at large, not way of contacting friends and coworkers, no way to change an appointment at the last minute, no way to look up essential survival tips like when the next train is departing. No way to check in to your flight, or read email while running to a meeting. No Tinder-flirting with strangers while pretending to be in a meeting.

This Worst Fear came true for me recently: I lost my smartphone. Actually, it was stolen at a cafe, by some prentend-to-be kind, homeless person. This incident put me smack in the middle of a psychological experiment: I now faced the choice of letting the event ruin my day. For there is choice, though most people don’t seem to realize.

It happens to us all daily: Big and small events seem to force our hand, making us victims of emotion and circumstance. But it need not be so. Once you realize that between event and response there is choice, your range of options grows. And so, having your phone stolen need not lead to frustration and angry shouts. You need not take it out on everyone.

The event gave me a chance to practice the tools of gratitude I have picked up over the years, and it also inspired me to record a podcast episode on the psychology of gratitude. Listen in the player above, or download the file here or listen via iTunes or Stitcher (see cool buttons below). For a full list of episode go here. Did I mention that I’m grateful to have you as a reader and listener?

To the bum in Hamburg that day in April: Thank you for stealing my phone.