Surfing the Lows to Hit the Heights
It’s easy to be confident and enthusiastic when everything’s going well, isn’t it? But how do you cope in the face of adversity? How do you rise above the fears and frustrations when life places unexpected obstacles across your pathway? How do you overcome the doubts and anxieties that dampen your spirits and cast a shadow on your future? How do you keep on track when your pathway takes a dip and you find yourself in a trough?
Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.- John Wooden
Have you ever heard the expression that into every life some rain must fall? It’s a simple way to describe the fact that setbacks are normal. They happen to everyone. Understanding that setbacks are an inevitable part of life’s great adventure can help us to master our fears and develop the resilience we need to fight on and pursue our goals and dreams. The real question is to determine whether we are willing to allow ourselves to be defined by our limitations – or by the clarity of our goals. Can we harness the courage to maintain our course in the face of difficulties? Can we find the determination to get back up after experiencing failure? Perhaps, when it comes to dealing with adversity, it’s those critical elements of courage and determination that make the greatest difference. It’s also helpful to remind ourselves that we’re not the only ones who are facing challenges.
You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on them. You don’t let them have any of your energy, or any of your time or any of your space. – Johnny Cash
Let’s face it – setbacks are never fun. There is very little enjoyment in adversity but it can often provide an opportunity to take a step back and assess what you’re doing and how your activities are matching up with your results. This unplanned breathing space can give you the freedom to gain a fresh perspective. It’s an invitation to take stock of what’s working for you and identify what’s getting in the way of your progress.
Sometimes, the problems are unexpected and beyond our control. You can’t expect to wake up in the morning and demand to have the kind of weather that your mood requires, can you? Of course not. Well, some issues arise because of events that are beyond the scope of your control or influence. Sometimes it feels as if we’re the steamroller. And sometimes it feels as if we’re the pavement! Where you can exercise influence and control is within the domain of your thoughts and feelings and reactions.
A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. – B. F. Skinner
Learning to cruise through the troughs and maintain a firm commitment to riding out the storm is an extremely useful trait to develop. It’s worth remembering that many people quit during these challenging phases, even as the trough is turning into the wave that can lift them up to new heights. Where you place your focus is one of the qualifying features of success or failure.
Focus? What exactly does that mean?
Simply put, if you dwell on the problem and pour all your emotional energy into feelings of frustration and disappointment, you inflate the issues until they completely dominate your perspective.
The more you obsess about the setbacks, the more serious and challenging they appear to be.
Perhaps it’s worth emphasising here that problems possess absolutely no emotional content whatsoever. None. We’re the ones who add every ounce of emotional energy to any situation. By taking a step back and giving yourself some breathing space, you can turn down the stress response, engage your rational faculties and assess the situation calmly and objectively.
Sticking to good habits can be hard work, and mistakes are part of the process. Don’t declare failure simply because you messed up or because you’re having trouble reaching your goals. Instead, use your mistakes as opportunities to grow stronger and become better. – Amy Morin
You can also set the problem into a wider, clearer context. You can shift your focus to your longer-term objectives, channel your emotional energy into fulfilling your dreams, remind yourself that you really are capable of achieving your goals and renew your enthusiasm for the adventure.
Yes, it takes practice and a measure of awareness. It takes a certain amount of courage to break free from the negative whispers that drift around your mind when the wolves are howling at the door. But this is equally a magnificent opportunity for you to experience personal growth and add a powerful reinforcement to your belief in your power to overcome any obstacles that show up on your pathway. Never let the setbacks define your life or your ambition.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison
Are you ready for a completely fresh approach to life’s great adventure? Get in touch with us today for a free session to discover how the growing global movement for personal growth, success, change and empowerment can enhance your life!
Greg Parry created The Wellness Foundation and the Cognitive Empowerment Programs specifically to help people master their stress, overcome their limitations and explore the power of their true potential.