Just as you reach the top of one dune, you realise that to go forward you have to go low again. In reality, life is all about highs and lows.
If you could ask me any question over coffee what would you ask? One of the “coffee questions” from the community was –
How do you overcome low points when the usual “tricks” don’t work? What strategies do you use when thinking positively just isn’t enough?
A serious illness can feel a bit like walking through the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert. Just as you reach the top of one dune, you realise that to go forward you have to go low again. In reality, life is all about highs and lows.
The high and lows of life do a few of things for you. Firstly, you realise that the lows help you to appreciate the good times even more. Secondly, the lows are not a permanent reality, they will pass just as the highs do. Thirdly, the lows are there to make you uncomfortable, so that you keep moving forward.
One of the things that has helped me overcome my challenges, is my career as a strategist. Every day I was asked to solve business problems, which didn’t appear to have a solution, and I was pretty good at it.
Two Ways To Resolve A Problem
There are two main ways you can arrive at a solution to a problem. Firstly, using tactics or tricks to solve the immediate problem. Tactics can be really useful to “put out a fire,” when you need to address an issue immediately or it will get out of control. Generally, they don’t work to solve the problem long-term, and the problem will keep coming back. When it comes back, you throw more water on it hoping you can put the fire out, but it seldom works.
Secondly, strategies that look to solve the problem long-term. A strategy is a carefully thought out plan which looks at the problems from a number of different angles. With a strategy, you then look at what solutions might work to solve the problems from all of these different angles. It takes more time, but the solution you arrive at is more sustainable and has a better chance of resolving the problem rather than just the immediate issue.
It is inevitable that changes will need to be made. As Albert Einstein put it,
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The main differences are having a short-term view rather than a long-term view and looking at one problem in isolation, rather than solving the broader set of contributing the problem as whole.
Here is how it might look.
You have a doctor’s appointment, and for days before it you are swallowed in a sea of fear. Your palms are sweating and you have this gripping pain throughout your body. Your stress is at an all time high. So, you tell yourself to “think positively, think positively.”
You arrive at the appointment stressed and your heart is pumping out of your chest, but trying not to show it and repeating to yourself, “I will get good news, I will get good news,” but it just isn’t working.
Thinking positively is a great strategy, but too often you can use it as a tactic and used only when you in the midst of the problem.
How to you turn a trick into a solution
You can turn this around though by doing positive thinking or positive affirmation exercises every day. If you want to improve your singing, you have to practice; if you want to improve your dancing, you have to take practice; if you want to improve your tactics you have to practice.
Four Easy Steps – Practice Your Strategies
1. Set aside time – you will need to set aside time every day while you are beginning.
2. Make a date with it – this must be the most important part of your day and time you actively defend. Put it in your diary, and if you have to move it, move it, but do not cancel it. Remove all distractions like phones, email, TV, and people.
3. Practice it – your date is about you practicing, so practice. Repeat your affirmations over and over and believe it. One helpful thing you could do is print them out, laminate them, and hang them in your shower and read them while washing your hair every day. Or, print them small to fit in your purse and read them on the bus or in a queue for coffee. Really simple!
4. Don’t give up -you might find it really hard to focus when you first start. You may even have fear or discomfort come up. This is completely normal. Breathe deeply and keep going.
I would love to hear how this works for you or what other creative ways you have to make this a priority for you to move forward out of the lows.
Like this article? Please share it and help your community stay positive and keep moving forward.
PS You might also like to read “The Science Of Fear” to learn more about fear and how we are wired for it.
Photo Credit: Debbie Clark/ Shutterstock