Posted by Tommy Runfola | March 18, 2016
For me, this last week has been a little rough…
I’m struggling to find the time to work on my book and this blog, fulfill my work responsibilities, my relationship responsibilities, continue a regular program of exercise, get adequate sleep, and relax. In short, in the last week my life has felt a bit out of control and a little overwhelming.
When you feel overwhelmed by your own life, rather than focusing on finding a different set of more manageable problems (as if that were even possible), you should look for ways to raise your life-condition so you can gain access to the wisdom, courage, and energy you need to solve the problems you have. If you don’t have a process or a practice that does this for you, find one. The reality is, will power and intellect alone are often insufficient.
This is the real answer about what to do when everything seems to be going wrong: find a way to transform your perspective so that obstacles feel like opportunities.
But if that seems too abstract, or you’re having trouble finding a practice that works for you, or you’re not interested in finding a practice at all, I’d offer the following techniques for making yourself feel better when you feel bad. These are just clever tricks—some comforting thoughts really—but ones that you might find useful.
TRICKS AND COMFORTING THOUGHTS THAT MAY WORK
Visualize yourself succeeding. Like a professional skier envisioning every twist and turn of a ski run before making it, imagining yourself on the other side of a problem even in the abstract can activate a powerful belief in your ability to succeed. Even if today you have no idea how to win, a belief that you can—even a “blind” belief—can be empowering if it’s a belief in yourself.
Avoid making important life decisions when your life-condition is low. The kinds of thoughts you’ll have in general are always more reflective of your life-condition at the moment rather than the circumstances in which you find yourself. You’ll best avoid future misery if you can consciously recognize when circumstances have gotten you down and thereby produced gloomy feelings and defeatist thoughts—which, when your life-condition is higher, are nowhere to be found.
Imagine you’ve already achieved a desired goal (one you’re completely confident you can) and bathe now in the joy you anticipate you’ll feel later. I’ve often found that daydreaming about future successes lifts my spirits by bouncing my mind out of my present difficulties into future imagined glories.
Force yourself to focus on one problem at a time. Focus on what’s easiest, most important, or that which you can solve soonest. Reducing the total number of challenges confronting you will be an enormous relief and help combat the tendency to feel defeated when facing what seems to be an overwhelming number of problems.
Wait. My four favorite words for weathering all storms: this too shall pass. Think of entering into a waiting mode as an active process, not a passive acceptance of whatever fate has in store for you. Other good things often happen that raise your life-condition and enable you to handle the mess you’re facing more easily. You may think you know all the bad things that are going to happen, but outcomes we anticipate—good and bad—most often don’t turn out the way we envisioned.
Access your creativity to solve problems. Reduce the chatter in your head by listening to moving music, by meditating, or whatever you’ve found works for you. Solutions often bubble up from the subconscious when the conscious mind floats.
Ask for help. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. I struggle with this one a lot, not because I have any aversion to asking for help, but because I just rarely seem to think to do it.
REMEMBER: Whatever you’re going through actually does represent an opportunity for growth. The thing about cliches is that they’re mostly true.
There will come a time when you’ll struggle even to remember what’s causing you so much angst today. It’s hard to project yourself into that future, but if you stop think about it, you’ve almost certainly already forgotten about most of the trying experiences you’ve faced in the past.
WHEN YOU FEEL COMPLETELY DEFEATED…
When this is how you feel, you must summon up the stand-alone spirit. Even if everyone and everything—the entire world—is pointing left, if you believe the correct direction to point is right, then point to the right you must. If you feel within whatever context your problems are occurring that you have the gift of sight in a country of the blind, you must fight to help others to see until either they do or you learn you were wrong, not they.
Society, discovery, and culture are advanced by people who have every reason to remain seated but who stand up anyway; by people who resolutely and consistently point out what they believe is true. If you do this despite whatever fears the prospect of doing so brings, eventually others will be emboldened by your example and stand up with you. And then you’ll have made a worthy contribution to the world.
Tommy is a self-made millionaire entrepreneur with over 35 years experience. He is the Author of the forthcoming book The Way Of The Rich, and Host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show Makin’ It! [www.makinitnow.com]
In addition, he has two websites dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build their small businesses and be on their way to becoming future millionaires.