When it rains it pours, they say.
Just when you think you’re getting ahead, the world decides to make things more complicated, more difficult, more frustrating. Does this sound like your inner monologue? If it does, rest assured that you’re not the only one who sometimes falls victim to the toxic thoughts of doubt.
When those fears and nagging voices rise up, they threaten your confidence, your willpower, your choices. What once seemed like a nice, smooth, paved road that was well lit and well patrolled with policemen, suddenly turns into a dark, isolated, alley full of nails and pot holes.
To share a little bit (more) about myself, I’ll share a short story to illustrate my point.
I drove home from Greenville this afternoon, parked my car in the driveway to unload my things. I had just enough time to unload and change clothes before I needed to scoot back out and head to a budgeting class (yeah, I’m a nerd – I go to budgeting classes). So I went about my business, changed clothes, grabbed my keys, set the alarm on the house, locked the front door, sat in my car and put the keys in the ignition. “Glug glug glug glug” was the only response Fabio (my car) gave me. Long story short? My car never started. I didn’t make it to my budgeting class. Panic attack ensued. Worst case scenario over and over and over in my head.
It wasn’t until I called one of my mentors, Miss Donna, that I was able to calm down and see the upside. I was lucky that I was able to complete the 45min drive home without trouble; that the car didn’t break down on one of the many country roads between here and there (where I don’t have cell phone service); that the car had battery power enough to close my sunroof and windows in case of rain; that it didn’t stop in the middle of Saturday’s severe thunderstorm when we were using it to ferry us from the football game; that I have roommates who are generous enough to help shuttle me to/from work; that I have friends who have connections and are willing to make some calls for me…see where I’m going with this?
As soon as Miss Donna shone the light on the positive aspects of the situation, it suddenly became less fearful or stressful. There were less nails, more streetlights, less potholes.
I learned a valuable lesson that evening. In any “disaster,” there is positivity. And I think we could all do a little better with focusing on that.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”- Marcus Aurelius
Marcus has it right. When you find yourself trying to dig yourself out of the proverbial pothole, sometimes the best things you can do are to list all the positive things about the situation (no matter how small) and to then change your way of thinking – from freak-out mode to it’s-going-to-be-okay-so-let’s-figure-this-out mode.
Of course, this lesson far transcends a broken car. It is applicable to all stressful situations in life. Especially to the stressful situations that come from trying to make a healthy lifestyle change. Old habits are hard to change, and there will be times when you will feel down, defeated, and like the climb is never ending.
And when you get to that point, it is time to stop the hemorrhaging and change your thoughts. Because:
“Whatever you focus upon, increases…When you focus on the things you need, you’ll find those needs increasing…A grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.” – Andy Andrews
Half of success is thinking and believing that you can succeed! The other half? Is following through with what you think and believe.
Give it a try!
What do you think about this approach? What do you struggle with most?