The Power of Negative thinking


My English teacher in High School had presented me with a copy of the book The Power of Positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peal. I still have a copy of it. This book has been popular for decades. It has several pointers on how during a day one must keep thinking positively about your ability to accomplish a difficult task, believe in yourself and control the situation, have faith in God, etc., etc. But sometimes I think circumstances overtake one’s thinking and the mind goes bonkers. No matter how much you try you don’t get any positive vibes.

More recently we went through a tense situation. Our new house has a bedroom on the main floor that has an attached bathroom and a closet. This closet is much smaller than the one in our old house. It has wall-mounted wire shelves but we wanted cabinets just like we had in our previous house. We called Closet America, the company we had used twice before, and were happy with their product and service. The sales lady came and provided a three-dimensional drawing of the proposed design. All was well except the left wall of the closet. There was a large (3 ft by 5 ft) mirror in the center of the wall with a black frame that matched the mirrors in the adjoining bathroom. We wanted cabinets installed to the left of the mirror.

“If the mirror is moved to the right we will place the cabinets in the left corner,” said the saleslady.

Because of the COVID 19 situation, everything was backed up. It was May when we got the estimate and we were given an installation date of the end of July. We did not think much of it. We had plenty of time.

I thought of calling the contractor used by the builder who had installed the mirror. He can easily do it I thought.

Bharati thought otherwise.

“We should call the handyman recommended by Anjali,” she said.

She reasoned that it will be more cost effective.

We realized our problem when the handyman showed up and told us that it was not going to be an easy job.

“The mirror is glued to the wall,” he said. “It is going to break.”

The mirror in our previous house was attached to the wall with plastic clips. So, this was a novelty to us.

Bharati hadn’t like the mirror anyway. Maybe it was an opportunity to replace it. Back in my mind, I thought it would be better if we could save it.

My mind started filling with negative thoughts about the consequences of attempting to remove the mirror. What if the wall is damaged? who will repair the wall? how much will it cost?

I didn’t know who had installed the mirror for the builder. I googled the names of glass installers near to me. Some didn’t do replacements. One vendor quoted over $250 for the first hour and then over $150 for each extra hour if needed with no guarantee and no repair of the wall. I surfed Amazon for bathroom mirrors and saw listings of mirrors with LED lights costing hundreds of dollars. If we were going to lose the mirror this was an opportunity to upgrade we thought, but at what cost?.

I was getting frustrated. I asked Bharati if we needed the cabinets. Can we keep the mirror? Meanwhile, in mid-July, we received an email from Closet America about the approaching installation date. They wanted me to confirm that everything was proceeding as per the plan and that the work surface will be ready.

We called the handyman again. He came and easily removed the frame around the mirror. He poked the corners of the mirror with a spatula.

“The mirror is going to break. It is glued at three places. Do you want me to proceed?”

I was hesitant.

“I’ll contact the installer and see what he can do,” I said.

Bharati thought I made a tactical error by hesitating to give a firm answer.

When I informed Closet America about the problem I was having with removing the mirror they gave me two days to finally let them know what I had decided. They manufacture the cabinets just before the work starts.

As a last resort, I contacted Mike the builder’s construction manager to ask who had installed the mirror. He provided the name but with a warning.

“They will just rip it off the wall and it will break,” he said and added “you will have to hire a drywall technician to repair and paint the wall at an additional cost. You will be better off doing it yourself.”

This made me more nervous. I was certain I will make a mess of the situation and where am I going to find a drywall repair person in a new town? When I was younger I had done minor work around the house but now had no confidence. Our son-in-law, Ryan, is adept at such things. He said he would stop by that weekend and see if how he could help. 

I thought Mike will be the best person to talk to again since he had several vendors working for him. Mike recommended Juan, a painter.

Juan promised to come the next day at 11 a.m. to see what he could do. Instead of 11 a.m., he showed up at 2 p.m. after we made a few frantic calls to see if he was coming. Naturally, my blood pressure was rising.

Juan was friendly.

“I’ll do it. It may break.”

“We know that. If it breaks it breaks,” Bharati said.

Juan quoted only $100 for the job. We thought at least he would fix any damage to the wall. He came the next day, two hours later than the time he said he would come. I heard sounds of hammering and scraping. Twenty minutes later he came out and said he was done. I was anxious to hear the result. I was prepared for the worst.

“I took out the mirror,” he said smiling. “It did not break.”

I couldn’t believe it. Was it a miracle? Could it have happened if I had thought not to worry from the beginning and had not done the research? Would I have been relaxed thinking everything is going to work out? I think not. In the process of worrying, I learned a few things about the latest mirror technology.

Juan did a great job without substantial damage to the wall. He spackled and painted the wall and promised to come back after the cabinets were installed to put the mirror back up. As I write this there are four more days for the cabinets to be installed. Now there is no reason for me to have any thoughts, negative or positive. I know we will like the result.

9 thoughts on “The Power of Negative thinking

    1. Thank you Subhash. The mirror will be installed next week. The cabinets are being installed. You have to come and see for yourself. We love the new house and the community.


  1. Wonderful narration of the entire episode. You rightly created an interesting story out of this simple matter “A Mirror”. I am sure by this time closet and mirror must have been fixed at their right places.


  2. We are going thru a major remodeling ourselves. I know what it is like to worry about the details. I am the worrying type. That is why I have very few hair left on my head. Swati “accepts” whatever the result and is much happier.


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