Have You Tried Changing Your Mindset?

Alan Kesselmann
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself
4 min readAug 1, 2021


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

I think it was about a year ago when I was trying to put my kids to bed and got very, very angry at them. The reason was that they were still very excited from the day, and it was just so hard for them to calm down and fall asleep. I tried not to expose them to my feelings, as it would not have helped them calm down.

The reason I got angry was that I had plans. I had things I was excited to do. I do not remember what those things were. Perhaps I wanted to go out for my daily walk and listen to some audiobook. Maybe I wanted to go and finish some unfinished work. It does not matter. Whatever it was, at the moment, I was angry that my son wanted me to lay next to him in bed and hug him while he wiggled, trying to fall asleep. Instead of enjoying the moment, I became angry.

I’m sure that some of the parents reading this story can already spot some parenting errors in my behaviour. We had allowed things to go too far. Instead of teaching our kids how to fall asleep themselves, we extended their bedtime rituals to the point where they just came up with new reasons for why to stay with them. This story is not about those mistakes.

Instead, this story is about how I had complained about how fast our lives have become and how I do not have time for myself and how unnecessary bedtime rituals take up my time. It’s about how I longed to have some more time for myself, to think about what I want to do with my life. I felt I needed time to think about if my job is what I want to be doing. I sought time to think about what are the things that I find more satisfying than my current job or hobbies.

One evening, when it was my wife’s turn to put the kids to bed, I returned from my evening walk to find her sitting very angrily on the couch. The bedroom door was open, and I deducted that the kids were not asleep yet, which is why she is angry. After getting confirmation from her that my evaluation of the situation was correct, I went to the bedroom, laid next to my son, and hugged him.

And just like that, I was suddenly able to reevaluate the situation. Instead of being angry at the kid, I found myself thinking that I do have time. Right now and there was the perfect time to think about my day, my life, my future. Why not offer him the security he needed to fall asleep and do my thinking simultaneously? After all, the period where he needs us to fall asleep will be over soon. Why get angry over it instead of enjoying it? Why not take all I could out of this time?

And that is how I spend that time from thereon. I figured out that I would try writing as it is something I had always wanted to try. Several of the ideas for my essays were conceived when I was lying next to my son. The idea of keeping a diary also came from those evenings. At one point, I found myself thinking that it could be very often so that something you consider a curse is a hidden blessing instead. I had always had the time I needed. I had just misused it.

How often does something like this happen to all of us? The solution to our problems might be so close, but so far away, because we cannot change the way we think and see it. Often, I’m guessing, because changing the way we think is difficult.

One of my bosses used to say: “If you can’t change the wind, then adjust the sails”. But it’s not that easy, though, is it? If you are in a difficult situation and someone reminds you that perhaps there is another way to look at things. Perhaps there is a way to see that while you cannot change the situation you are in, you can always change how you behave. Probably if you are reminded of this, then you can figure out a solution. But otherwise, changing your mind is difficult.

I’m not proud of the way I used to get angry. I’m not proud of many things I’ve done in my past. It is one of the worst feelings to feel as a parent — that you know you have acted poorly, but you also cannot figure out a better way to behave. And this is the reason why I am writing this story down.

Perhaps, if we take some more time to ponder over our behaviour, if we take time to see if we could have adjusted our sails in a bad situation, we can improve ourselves. But there always has to be this trigger, this moment where we can stop and think.

So please, give yourself the time. Slow down your life. Don’t hurry. Think. Adjust your sales and try to be a better person.