Mind & Body

Having ‘a bad day’? How to flip the lid and turn it around


When you enjoy your bad days without judgment, you can actually take the pressure off. Jaemin Frazer shares how to embrace bad days as a sign that there’s good to come. 

Did you realise that one of the key ingredients to living a successful life is having more bad days? It sounds crazy, but when I learnt this one idea, it changed my whole life.

As a life coach, people often imagine that I am always in a great state of mind. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have times where I am completely unproductive, unmotivated, and in a bad mood. The thing is, I don’t judge myself in these moments. They are never personal, nor do they define who I am.

It turns out that success is not about being on track 100 percent of the time. In fact, the real aim of peak performance is to only be at your best when it matters most. This means far more bad days than good ones. Here are the three keys to integrating more bad days into your life while avoiding the traps.

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Enjoy your bad days

When you enjoy your bad days without judgment, you take the pressure off having to get it right all the time. The moment you don’t have to be right means you can finally discover where you are wrong! The great thing about being wrong is that it opens your eyes to alternative paths. Almost all of our meaningful change and improvement comes from being wrong.

Sure, it feels bad when it’s happening, but if you welcome more bad days then you also open up a massive opportunity for growth. The feedback you get when things are not working is often more important than what you see when it is working. In fact, the bad days are often the ones that teach us the most!

Carry a pair of scissors

I’ve run eight marathons competitively and the best advice I was ever given was to carry a pair of scissors while running (figurative ones, that is). If you attach your performance to someone else, you get caught up in their race and end up going out too fast or slow.

Therefore, it is super useful to visualise cutting the imaginary cord between the runners in front or behind you so that you run your own race.

The same is true in life. There are so many cords to cut so that you don’t get caught up running someone else’s race. Specifically, the key cord to cut here is the one that links identity to performance. If you are your performance, you can’t afford to ever have a bad day.

Doing the personal development work to overcome all insecurity allows you to be solid in who you are separate from what you do with nothing to prove or defend.

Manage your energy, not your time

We’ve all seen those horrible ‘motivational’ graphics of how much of our lives we waste spending time eating, sleeping, watching TV and going to the toilet.

Time management junkies would assert that it’s in focussing acutely on how many seconds we have been given in every day and using each second to full effect that we really succeed in life.

I completely disagree. Focusing on how little time you’ve got or how you’ve wasted it in the past only produces fear and shame and weakens us for the future. You can have all the time in the world, but if you’re in a poor state and feel unmotivated that time is useless. Your energy is far more useful than your time could ever be.

Having bad days, feeling low, frustrated, disappointed and unmotivated is a vital part of the performance cycle. Without downs, there are no ups either. The key is to know how to show up at your best only when it matters most.

Jaemin Frazer is a life coach, TEDx speaker and author of Unhindered: The 7 essential practices for overcoming insecurity. He is the founder of the Insecurity Project and specialises in helping entrepreneurs, leaders and business owners eradicate insecurity.