How to make the best out of a negative situation

A couple weeks ago we had our Vitamin Circus day. If you are wondering what this means; it’s a day away from the studio where you get to do whatever you want as long as you can justify that it’s beneficial for the company in some remote way. You are encouraged to stretch this as much as you can.

Everyone does it on the same day, then we spend every following Friday hosting the Circus presentations where you can tell the team how you spent your day, finally they judge whether your day was “Circus-worthy” or not. This is a story on how my Circus went and my learnings from it.

One of my colleagues lives in an area of London called Peckham; let’s say that Peckham has mixed reviews, but they’re a great supporter and are always talking about how great it is. For my day I decided to film a documentary about Peckham and get some funny reactions from people describing how life in Peckham is. The night before I prepared my questions, planned the landmarks I wanted to visit (yes, Peckham landmarks), charged the batteries and got ready to go!

I woke up to a lovely and sunny day in London. I packed my bag, got on the bus, and in just over 45 minutes I was in Peckham. The streets were busy and people were nice. So far so good. I went to a park to take some shots of the area before starting any interviews, which is when my day got interesting. There was a man in the park who wasn’t very happy about me being there filming. He initially made a few comments from the distance although it soon turned into a confrontation. I tried to help the situation by explaining what I was doing, but the moment he realised I wasn’t British things got even worse. He started commenting on my nationality — the fact that I was foreign — and how I should go back home…

Funnily enough, I am here legally and the taxes I pay may contribute to this man’s wellbeing.

I tried moving a bit further away, however he kept going. I moved even further, but he started following me; It was at that point I decided that Peckham wasn’t for me. I packed my stuff and decided to find a Plan B for my Circus.

Plan B is nowhere near as exciting as Plan A, non the less it still involved doing something I’d never done before. I went over to a friend’s house and we baked a cake together; for added difficulty we turned it into a timed challenge. The result? A questionable cake and brilliant afternoon.

You may think that my Circus was a total failure — I would have to disagree with you. I visited Peckham for the first time, spent my morning walking around London on a sunny day and I interacted with the locals. Then, I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, caught up with him, baked a cake and had an excellent time together. It’s all too easy to overlook the positives after a setback, but it’s important to look at the bigger picture and get an accurate representation of how the day went. If you get stuck on a negative event you are more likely to oversee all the good things happening around you!

What are my learnings?

1) Two people may visit the same place and get completely different experiences by doing so; it’s all about perspective so don’t let this stop you from trying new things.

2) Plans don’t always go as expected, but it’s important to keep moving. If you encounter an obstacle, find a way around it, switch to Plan B, do something about it; Don’t go home until you are satisfied with the outcome.

3) Not everyone is ready for globalisation, especially in Peckham.

4) You can bake a cake with a friend in under two hours and have a lot of fun doing so.


This article was written by Manuel Alarcon, Project Manager at Little Vitamin; a team of Shopify experts who create sleek, simple, effective websites to help you and your brand get online with a truly personal experience.

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