Daily Inspiration: “It’s when you start to think to yourself that it couldn’t get any worse that you need to remind yourself that actually, right now, it couldn’t be any better!”

Category under: Blog, Daily Inspiration

“It’s when you start to think to yourself that it couldn’t get any worse that you need to remind yourself that actually, right now, it couldn’t be any better!” – Futurist Jim Carroll

This morning, full of great intent to start my day on a positive note, I quickly discovered that my laptop battery wasn’t charging. Something wasn’t quite right – and this comes right after Apple fixed the screen just last week! My immediate thought was, it couldn’t get any worse, could it? My day seemed to start out in frustration, and I needed to remind myself that it was just a laptop, just a battery, just a minor convenience.

Even before I dared to go into a negative mindset, I reminded myself to turn things around. And so while I was thinking of one inspiration pathway for my quote this morning, I turned in a different direction. When things couldn’t seem to be any worse, we need to remind ourselves that actually, things couldn’t be any better!

Think about that phrase – “it couldn’t get any worse” – it’s one that all of us use all the time.

But context matters!

Could it get any worse? Much more so – and we would do well to remind ourselves as to how blessed we often are with the fortune of good times. As that famous 80’s pop song goes, ‘there’s always something there to remind me” of the context of just how good things are in the context of how challenging things are for so many other people.

A few weeks ago my wife and I were returning from a trip and coming through Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Just after the International Arrivals section is a sectioned-off area for the welcoming of new arrivals – refugees – from Ukraine. Essentially, it’s there to welcome to Canada those who are fleeing an unnecessary and horrid war. Through no fault of their own, they’ve lost everything – their jobs, homes, careers, and connections to family. Could it get any worse? Nations like Canada are working to try to make it better by welcoming them.

What do you and I have to complain about in the context of such a tragedy? Nothing. Nothing at all.

You are again reminded of our complex world immediately upon leaving the airport; right next to the highway is a Russian AN-124, one of those large air freighters. Its last mission into Toronto involved the delivery of Covid vaccine – and then Putin invaded Ukraine. The crew, through no fault of their own, had to flee Canada via Dubai once the plane was seized.  These aircrews were often featured in the Canadian news media; before the invasion, they were lauded as modern-day supply-chain heroes, individuals who took on grueling long-distance air flights around the world, delivering much-needed supplies. They would often give the news media tours of the massive freighter – it seemed all they liked to do was to fly these jets and revel in the life of a nomadic air vagabond. Today, through no fault of their own, they’ve seen their lives curtailed and their opportunities canceled.

What do you and I have to complain about in the context of such sudden new circumstances? Nothing. Nothing at all.

All of us now live in a world in which these issues can always hit so close to home. Last summer, we had a significant home renovation underway, and one of the projects involved a fairly major project to replace many windows. One day the crew featured someone with very limited English – and it was quickly explained that he was a new Ukranian refugee in Canada. Having arrived just three days prior, a local business organization was giving him immediate employment so that he might begin building a better life for his wife and three young children. Just a week prior, he was in the early stages of finally leaving his homeland, losing his home, his job, and his life – and then he was working in my home. I struggled to hold back tears as I gave to him my smile and welcome, offered up through Google Translate.

What do you and I have to complain about in the context of such complex circumstances? Nothing. Nothing at all.

I am reminded every day that many are living a life in which it constantly seems that for many, maybe it actually couldn’t get any worse – we all have friends in very difficult circumstances. Personally, I have a dear friend in Moscow who has assisted me with various projects through the years. A freelancer, she has a wonderful personality, a bubbling smile, and absolutely amazing skills that have provided me invaluable support throughout the years. Today, although our communications are sporadic and often filled with nuance, I know that her life is not what it was before the war. I know that from a lifestyle, career, personal and professional basis, she has seen the sudden reversal of every opportunity that had been in front of her – through no fault of her own. Like many in Moscow, she is not supportive of this war begun by a madman – at one point, it was even necessary for someone she loved to go into hiding in order to avoid a draft of young men into a hopeless battle in Ukraine.

What do you and I have to complain about in the context of such complex circumstances? Nothing. Nothing at all.

All around us, we see reminders of how fortunate we are. I have a wonderful neighbor – a most delightful soul of radiant positivity – who struggles with constant back and leg pain. Somehow she manages to smile and let shine her aura of optimism – and yet she will talk softly at times to let us know how difficult it is. Me? I’m able to get out for a beautiful walk every morning; I ski, I cycle, I golf, and have the gift so far of the magic of good health.

What do I possibly have to complain about in the context of her circumstances? Nothing. Nothing at all.

I don’t mind saying that over the last three years, as with so many, I have struggled with my business; it’s not been a great time for someone who essentially makes a living appearing on stage. We continue to see massive volatility and uncertainty in the meetings and events industry; budgets are often constrained; topics vary on a week-by-week basis it seems and so one day you are in, and the next,  you are out. Every day for me is a wild ride of uncertainty!

And yet, what do I have to complain about in the context of such volatility? Nothing. Nothing at all.

With all this in mind, what should we do in the face of our personal focus on our personal circumstances? Remind ourselves of our good fortune. The stories above are some of the things I use to remind myself that if I ever dare to think that things couldn’t get any worse, I’m actually blessed to be in a time in which things actually couldn’t get any better.

Also, give back! In my community, the CEO of a major appliance company, Danby Appliances, is known for his altruistic efforts to support these new arrivals to our country. Jim Estill became aggressively involved in these efforts with the Syrian refugee community, going so far as to get personally involved in assisting a group of 300 refugees – read the story over at the BBC. Since then, he has gained national and international acclaim for his efforts. Jim is a role model for those who might think that things couldn’t get any worse – because you can always make the effort to make things so much better. Google his name – take in the breadth of what he is giving back to the world simply because he cares.

In my own case, I try to give back when and where I can through my own small efforts. Sometimes I write these posts with a view of trying to inspire others, in a very small way, to find some brightness in the dark. Often I will share my thoughts on moving forward with those who seem to be stuck or who might be moving back. I try to engineer some energy into my soul of relentless optimism and share that when I can.

And in that context, what do I have to complain about today?


Absolutely nothing at all.




THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.