After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. ~Nelson Mandela
Important Things You Need to Know When it Feels Like Everything is going wrong
1. Although you may be facing multiple challenges, deal with only one problem at a time.
a. Multi-tasking creates static in your brain. Clarity cannot exist in noise.
b. Stay focused on the pressing problem of the moment and do what you can.
c. Focusing on one problem at a time frees you from the burden of carrying the world on your shoulders.
2. Problems are the squeaky wheels demanding all of your attention. Don’t forget about the things that are going right.
a. When you are in crisis, for survival purposes your brain plays 2 tricks on you.
i. Given a choice, it will naturally select for the negative.
ii. The concept of time and space are non-existent, meaning you believe the crisis at hand will never end.
b. There are always good things happening. Put your brain on overdrive and find the good. Keep a gratitude journal in which you record 5 good things a day.
c. Look for the miracles, the tender mercies, and the serendipitous, and keep a record. It will amaze you what you discover and become a treasure.
3. There is no there.
a. The present moment is all we have.
b. Waiting for the supposed time when life is easier is a bad idea.
c. There will always be challenges; it’s part of life.
d. Waiting until you get “there,” robs you of any possible joy in the moment, and renders you ineffective in the here and now where you are needed most.
4. Even though it feels like some unseen force is shining a spotlight on you and directing every bad thing that could happen your way, you are not the only one in the world who is suffering.
a. It is understandably very easy to get self-absorbed when you are dealing with problems. It’s a survival instinct.
b. The world continues to turn even though it seems to have stopped for you. Think of the millions who go hungry every day and those in war torn countries. There is dire suffering everywhere.
c. Everyone suffers; it is part of life.
d. It truly does help to turn your mind from your own problems to easing the burdens of others.
5. You are not a problem magnet … unless you are deliberately looking for things that don’t match your idea of how life should be.
a. If you believe you should have a life free of challenge, you will feel like a problem magnet, because there WILL BE challenges.
b. Sometimes there is a better path than the one you are on, or the one you think you should be on.
c. If you give up your volition and let life happen to you instead of actively problem solving, you will become a problem magnet. Life requires attention and action.
d. It’s good to have a plan and direction for your life, but you must allow for modification as needed.
6. Resist predicting the future. Some of the most challenging times are doorways to opportunities you never would have dreamed of.
a. Predicting the future adds more problems to your list that may never even happened.
b. Challenges if handled properly, are catalysts to growth. Worrying about future catastrophes doesn’t account for the wisdom to be gained as we work through life’s trials.
c. Predicting the future robs you of precious energy needed in the present.
d. You can’t possibly know for a fact what the future will bring.
e. There are countless silver lining stories of unexpected opportunity.
7. It’s okay to grieve your disappointments, just don’t make your disappointments your identity.
a. Give yourself permission to grieve your disappointments.
b. You don’t have to be a pillar of strength.
c. There is a point however, when prolonged grieving becomes avoidance for dealing with life.
d. Identifying yourself as a victim of life takes away your power. Don’t let that happen.
8. Patience is a verb, not a noun or an adjective.
a. Patience is not an inanimate object that sits supreme and unobtainable.
b. Patience is the act of enduring combined with faith (which is also a verb).
c. By hanging in there you are cultivating patience even though you don’t know it. Good job! Keep it up!
9. Although it’s a shock to your system each time something goes wrong; you are stronger than you think.
a. Things that seem so foreign to what we want, take us off guard.
b. Loss is the opposite of survival, but only if we die.
c. People underestimate their capacity for resilience.
d. In the middle of challenge it’s a horrible struggle, but when it passes you will reflect back on how you DID make it through.
10. When your wings have been clipped, it’s time to figure out how to walk.
a. After focusing on what you can’t do (why fight it?) shift your focus to what you can do.
b. Do the things you can do.
11. Resist asking, “Why me?”
a. It makes you feel like someone or something has a contract out on you.
b. It doesn’t help in problem solving or moving forward unless you can identify a fact for why something has happened.
c. It is a victim question; not a survivor question.
d. Ask why not me?
12. Looking down provides a very narrow view. Lift your head and get some perspective.
a. It’s very easy to hang your head when everything is going wrong, but the view from that angle is extremely limiting.
b. Negative thinking creates a world of it’s own, which only makes things worse.
c. When you are able, look at the big picture and you will see things in their proper order.
d. Chaos theory proposes that there is order in chaos. We can’t see it because we are only looking at a small piece of it.
13. Sometimes you have to sit still in the forest
a. Scouts are taught when they get lost in a forest to sit still and stay in one place so they can be found.
b. Accept the reality of what’s happening. You don’t have to like it or approve of it, but if you don’t accept it you can’t deal with it effectively.
c. Ask yourself: Is it time to fight or is it time to rest?
d. Accept help if it’s offered.
14. This too shall pass, and when it does; let it.
a. In the movie Out of Africa, the main character Karen Blixen makes this statement; “Sometimes I think God made the world round so we couldn’t see around the corners.”
b. Life DOES go on and on and on.
c. Problems come and problems go.
d. Be careful not to let the memory of past problems stack up in your mind. They will take up so much space in your brain you won’t have any room to be in the here and now.