’United Breaks Guitars’

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16th Jan 2024

None of us can control external events. What happens can be good or bad. What you can control are your feelings and your response. You can choose to feel good—or you can choose to feel bad.

When you moan and say this is bad, the mind gets conditioned to look for difficulty in opportunity.

And when you say this is good, the mind looks for opportunity in difficulty. And therein lies the difference between winners and losers.

Consider the story of Dave Carroll—a much sought-after speaker, bestselling author, and customer service guru. The story of how Dave became a customer service expert is an interesting one.

Dave, a musician from Halifax, Canada, was traveling with his band on

a United Airlines flight via Chicago to Nebraska.

On reaching his destination, Dave was horrified to find that the baggage handlers at United had damaged his 3500-dollar Taylor guitar.

We would all have forgiven him for saying, ‘This is bad.’ But Dave didn’t say it!

Instead, he wrote to the customer service folks at United, told them about the loss of his beloved guitar, and sought compensation for it. While United acknowledged that the guitar had been broken, no compensation was forthcoming.

He was referred from one department to another with each person blaming someone else for the unfortunate event.

After nine months of persistent follow-up, the compensation was still nowhere in sight. Now we would have understood if Dave had said, ‘This is bad!’ He did not, Instead, with a little help from his friends in the band, he filmed a music video describing his experience.

The song was titled ‘United Breaks Guitars’ and on 6th July 2009, he posted it on YouTube.

By the end of the day, the video attracted over 150,000 hits. And by the end of the following month, viewer numbers had swelled to over 5 million.

Twitter, Facebook, and the blog world were all singing paeans to ‘United Breaks Guitars.’

Dave was the new hero on the block. The head of customer services at United called Dave and offered to compensate him for the loss and requested him to pull out the video.

He declined the offer and asked United to pay the money to a charity instead (which they did).

Dave now goes around the world speaking to corporates about his experience in customer service and the lessons he picked up along the way.

Ever since he sang United breaks guitars, the cash registers haven’t stopped ringing.

For Dave, United breaking the guitar wasn’t just good, It was great!

So the next time misfortune befalls, say, ‘This is good!’ And you will discover how empowering that can be.

Instead of playing the victim and wallowing in self-pity, the ‘This is good!’ attitude compels you to take ownership and do things that can be life-changing.

Whatever happens, just say, ‘This is good!’ You will suddenly find the world a better place.

Stay blessed forever.