Every once in a while someone makes a comment that helps. Normally it’s nothing special, just a little comment that I filed away. The person probably wouldn’t even remember having said it.
This is one of those things.
A few weeks ago I met with a leader in the local movement to incorporate neighborhood associations into the city administration here. I sat down with him to discuss his project and mine.
While talking, he told a few stories about some of the people I was working with. One line that particularly stood out was about a friend of mine; he said my friend was always seeing the downside.
Fast forward a month later. I’m buried in (boring) work. Objectively, I can see that there is progress over the month. But on a day-to-day level, the work is just brutally slow. I meet for lunch with my friend, and he proceeds to tell me: “You’ve probably gotten all the easy ones by now. I assume it will get much harder from here on out.”
It’s the type of comment that is meant completely harmlessly, but was spoken at the complete wrong moment. At a moment when I felt like I was bottoming out, I was hearing that I might be at the summer’s peak. Not good.
But my first thought was back to a different conversation months ago. A conversation which let me know this colleague wasn’t just “glass half-empty” but more “the glass is leaking and we need to throw it away.”
A day later the friend writes me to say he was wrong about bottoming out. But in the meantime, it was nice to know that he had a tendency to exaggerate the negative.