Difficult situations, interesting challenges and annoying problems can make or break us – and that ultimate outcome depends on how you approach the problem in the first place.
A close friend tells me that ‘If you try and see the positive side to every challenge, there is every chance that you will be the victor and stronger for the battle, no matter how long you need to maintain the rage.’ And I agree with her whole-heartedly.
It might sound like an old and overused cliché, but you definitely can’t lose sight of the fact that there is always light at the end of every tunnel. You just need to keep moving along that tunnel to reach the light!
Life will always be full of challenges. There’s no avoiding it. Whether we confront them at work, at home or amongst friends, we will always find ourselves marching through a tunnel of minor or major proportions. But a life without them would be pretty boring. Seriously, if our lives were safe and controlled, then life itself would be predictable, full of routine and quite dull.
A challenging situation is the salt and pepper that people who dare to be different reach for– they provide you with an opportunity to spice things up with true unpredictability attached to the outcome. It is an unpredictability that money just can’t buy. You definitely don’t want to shy away from it. I think Hayden Sterling captures the need for challenges nicely in his reference to men wanting to sail the south seas, but not being able to afford it. He says:
“What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of ‘security”. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.”
In essence, not to challenge yourself, not to endure problems and difficult situations can be just as dangerous as the challenge itself. So the obvious question is “what to do when confronted by your next challenge?”
Here are some pointers:
Get down and dirty with them
You should immediately get down and dirty with your problems. Don’t let them fester. Don’t bottle them up – they will eat you alive from the inside out if left unattended.
Embrace the challenge
Embrace and engage the challenge by speaking to your close network of friends and mentors about them. Don’t let the problem be a stranger to them. People in your network are capable of providing an extraordinary level of help. We all know that “two minds are better than one”, especially when one mind has been fried by an unbearable challenge.
Don’t let them sit idle
How many times have people told you something when it is almost too late to do anything about? Let’s face it; a challenge can be like a weed. If it is left unattended, then in a short period it will out grow your capacity to deal with it. So get on top of it early and speak to those who can help you with the task of resolving it.
I am quite fond of referring to our inner monologue as our inner sound track – the music in our mind that we hum along to all day! That sound track puts a spring in our step and a smile on our face. Some people have positive tunes playing on their “mind pod”. Others have more sombre sounds buzzing about. The aim is to have tracks playing that inspire your every day life!
To change the track could be as simple as doing something nice and out of the ordinary. It might be as simple as taking a nice leisurely stroll, or you might choose salvation in an endorphin charged body attack aerobic class. Whatever your choice, get busy pursuing it and allow your mind to experience some ‘white space’ that will allow it to be free of life’s obstacles and stressors for at least a few short hours.
So go on. Get down and dirty with your next challenge. You will take it by complete surprise. And remember, a positive approach to life will kill off any problematic outbreak!