Are you feeling stuck in life? Many people do. Sometimes it feels as if we simply cannot move on with life. As if there was something that keeping us from pursuing our dreams and hopes. AND THERE WE ARE, Stuck! We feel limited and simply do not know what to do. We have no idea how to break free from the limitations that are imposed upon us. What is worse, we do not even know what it is that is imposed on us and who imposes these limitations on us. It’s quite scary to be confronted with an invisible obstacle you cannot seem to tackle. Even though the situation may seem hopeless, there’s much you can do about it. In fact, there are a variety of highly efficient tactics and powerful tricks you can use to free yourself from being stuck in a rut.
To illustrate how painful being stuck can be, I want to draw from the analogy of the movie, the Groundhog Day. If you have not seen the film Groundhog Day, please do so immediately—it is hilariously entertaining, touching, and has thousands of implicit lessons for improving one’s life, community, and the world. Some of you may know I wrote my dissertation on the 1993 romantic fantasy starring Bill Murray, directed by the late Harold Ramis.
Groundhog Day is about an arrogant TV weather man (Bill Murray) who finds himself stuck in a time loop where he keeps repeating the same day over and over. The worse part? He’s the only one who remembers the past day’s events — no one else seems to remember anything! At first he uses this time loop for personal gain. After a while though, he starts to evaluate his life and priorities.
In the movie, the main character, Phil Connors is trapped in a recurring day — a freezing February day in Punxsutawney. The town never changes; the events and the people never change. Only Phil can change.
It is impossible for Phil to have any control over the external world. Every morning he wakes up and it’s the same day again. He is compelled to find how best to survive and prosper, and decide if this is a curse or maybe a blessing. This is a nightmare everyone fears: to be trapped in a repeat mode forever. Boredom crushes creativity and saps motivation at work and at home. The good news, there is an antidote to boredom. It is about tapping into the power of purpose. The fun part is that there are 5 lessons to be learned from the movie.
So what you can you and I do to get unstuck? As we have already established, you won’t be able to break free by digging deeper. What is necessary is to find another approach that helps us to address the underlying issue.
Here a some lessons for us
Don’t give up.
Again, Groundhog Day as life metaphor: Most of us have at some point been trapped in a situation where no matter what we did, we couldn’t extricate ourselves from some endless cycle of lameness. In the film, Phil’s attempts to bypass the situation altogether by offing himself don’t pan out; they don’t solve anything. The lesson is clear: Giving up doesn’t solve the problem.
Look at the big picture
This is about meeting yourself where you are. What are the current issues? Where do you want to be? And what is the in between? Remember, “The way out, is through.”
Take the wheel.
Stop being a passenger in your own life. Take responsibility for your well-being and break the cycle of blame. Where you are today is solely the result of your choices and actions. Where you will be tomorrow is a result of things you do or don’t do today. Your circumstances and your results are your responsibility. Yes, many external factors are beyond your control, but you can change how you feel about them.
Do your best, live in the moment.
Your best may be different at different times, and at different tasks and in different situations, but it begins with being in the presence, being in the moment you will always know when you are doing it. “Presence” is not about attracting attention to oneself, as some seem to think, but about being present and PAYING attention.
Express, Don’t Repress
As you work your way through your rut, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, experience them fully. Going back to our example of a job loss, perhaps you’re very sad that you lost your job. Maybe you loved that job and wanted to stay with the company for the rest of your working career. Rather than be depressed for weeks or even months, express the emotion you’re feeling. If you feel you need to cry or yell out in rage, then do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, let it be. Don’t dwell on it forever. Experience the emotion and then move on. Remember, each event we experience in our life is a learning opportunity. Find the lesson that’s hidden in your current situation so you can move on.
We are All in a Prison of Our Own Making
Everyone is living out their own Groundhog Day as we speak. You’re bumping into the same problems, the same issues, the same challenges in most of the situations you’re in, because, duh, you’re you, and this is your heavy, heavy synthetic bag. You could even argue that this is The Point of why you’re here.
Help Others In Need
The first time that Phil passes the old homeless man on the street in Punxsutawney, he pats his pockets pretending not to have any money. But over the course of the movie, Phil becomes more and more empathetic to the old man’s tragic situation. Phil buys him meals on numerous occasions, and tries to save the guy’s life when he’s stuck out in the cold. Phil also repeatedly catches a kid who falls out of a tree, helps some women with a flat tire, and performs the Heimlich maneuver on a restaurant goer. As his actions show, helping others doesn’t just only make them feel good — it can make you feel great, too.
Do one thing at a time
Anxiety and overwhelm kick in when there’s a lot going on.
But even when you have a lot to do, it’s impossible to do everything at once. The most effective way to make progress towards any goal is by doing one thing at a time.
Make a list of what’s most important for you to do. Do one thing first. Then, move on to the next. Keep repeating until your day is through. When you get distracted, come back to the one thing you’re focusing on.
Give thanks to whatever or whoever you give thanks to, but acknowledge your own role in your success.
Live in Beauty
The French believe each day should be lived in beauty. No, that doesn’t give free rein to having a closet, cleaning the garage or basement. I do love a nice pair of shoes. It expresses that life is beautiful…hardships and all. Notice the single flower reaching for the sunshine through the snow, or the dog out for a walk, wagging his tail and carrying a favorite ball. That is beauty. It’s also a moment of perfect clarity.
Master Joyful Skills
If you are bored at work or home, put yourself on the path to master joyful skills. This can happen regardless of your time, financial resources or the level of teaching talent available in your community.You will see that even if you are working in a rough neighborhood, with a terrible work schedule and a low wage job, you can cultivate a sense of purpose.
In the movie, Bill Murray brushes up on his piano lessons with a local teacher and eventually rocks out to a full house. He worked with what was available and poured passion and purpose into it. He mastered a joyful skill.
Being stuck in a rut is no fun, but as I always say ‘nothing last forever’! Everything has its season, and I strongly believe that when one door closes another opens. Just as the universe appears to work against us sometimes, it also works for us a lot of the time. Remember that the universe seeks balance, so things will eventually level out, no matter how bad the outlook may be. The more positivism you can foster during this time, the better your chances of getting out of that rut feeling better than ever. You’ll be able to pour that new motivation and energy into your goals, and work that much harder (and focused) on your success. The idea is not to avoid these issues, because sometimes it is not possible, but to be aware of what they mean and know how to turn them into opportunities for new opportunities and personal reinvention .
Cheetah – the fastest land animal on the planet clocks speeds of 109 to 120 km/h (68 to 75 mph), covers up to 500 m (1,640 ft) in short bursts, and can accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in three seconds. When cheetahs run at full speed, their stride is 6-7 meters (21 feet) and their feet touch the ground only twice during each stride. And, cheetahs are the only members of the big cat family which can turn in mid-air while running.
what most fascinates me about this protected species that lives primarily in Africa are its unique physical characteristics:
¨ Flexible spine;
¨ Oversized liver;
¨ Enlarged heart;
¨ Wide nostrils;
¨ Increased lung capacity;
¨ Black “tear” marks under its eyes.
For just a moment, reflect on these characteristics of the cheetah, and how they relate to humans:
Cheetahs are built for speed,pursuit. Leaders and anyone with a goal for that case, anyone who want to move ahead very fast, and are willing to put in the effort to get the speed, belong to the cheetah mindset team. Such entrepreneurs do not work very well with teams. If the necessity arises, they will do a major chunk of the work on their own. Cheetahs are sprinters, not long distance runners. They run in short bursts of tremendous speed. Leaders like them work feverishly for short spans of time. And after every burst, they need to rest. But, such entrepreneurs are very shy and submissive. It is easy to snatch away their winnings, just the way larger animals take a cheetah’s prey away. They cannot exert authority, and therefore, work best alone.
Smart leaders understand it’s not just enough to pursue, but pursuit must be intentional, focused, consistent, aggressive, and unyielding. You must pursue the right things, for the right reasons, and at the right times. Perhaps most of all, the best forms of pursuit enlist others in the chase. Pursuit in its purest form is highly collaborative, very inclusive and easily transferable. Pursuit operates at greatest strength when it leverages velocity and scale.
A cheetah wakes up everyday and goes on the hunt for that what it sees in it’s mind. The cheetah always has a plan. They have “high value targets” they are going to get in front of its prey. They have an angle they are trying to work. The cheetahs are the persons who create plans in their mind and set goals to meet the targets. They have meetings they are going to, places to be at, and people to meet. They don’t spend or waste their time in low value activities. They work hard to get proximity to key players every single day of the week, they work with others so that they can help with their services and advance together. Cheetahs work a system. Cheetahs expand with and through their associations. Cheetahs have a high bounce back rate and don’t spend much time retreating or contracting.
In African safari, if you ever spot a cheetah you will see that cheetahs typically sit special locations or positions. If you will notice, this location will be a position of perspective which can be a treetop, a mound or hilltop overlooking the watering hole or valley.This may look like laziness, but actually, its far from it. The cheetah is actually very busy mentally. And what it is really doing is analyzing a herd of potential food.It is surveying the territory, so we if you want to advance, to do well you should be looking for emerging patterns, the cheetah is looking for particular movements in the herd.
Competition isn’t the first thing most association leaders think of when they are analyzing strategic threats. Every year, new organizations and services pop up that provide services that can now be offered faster at less cost. This can be discouraging for teams or business that are enjoying status quo. But I think it is an opportunity for any team or business that want to stay ahead to see this as an opportunity of growth.
Walt Disney had a favorite quote: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
It’s great advice for us all. Moving forward and delivering value in new ways will help ensure that members view your association as the best partner to help grow their careers and their businesses. Your team need to stay innovative to beat their competition.
Their light musculoskeletal structure means other predators, such as the hyena, can push cheetahs off the kill and enjoy the feast themselves. Even so, the cheetah will make its kill and eat what it can before the hyenas get there, knowing that it can move on and make another kill.
In business terms, that’s the mindset of a leader — accept that others will come into the market, and you’ve got to move faster than they do. If you want to get a new idea to market quickly, you cannot do it with the cumbersome infrastructure that many large organisations have. Each layer of hierarchical decision-making adds a layer of delay. Just as a cheetah might be happy to make the kill and move on, don’t be afraid to abandon ideas that don’t work.
Those of us who have Cheetah-like inspiration will go for new opportunities, we will not be deterred by frustrations but will walk or run towards our targets. Make a note of any processes that really annoy you, and resolve to do something about them.
What makes cheetahs such remarkable hunters is not their speed, but their ability to slow down quickly. They not only reach 60 miles per hour running down their prey, but they can cut their speed by nine miles per hour in a single stride. This gives them an incredible advantage, enabling them to turn sharply, jump sideways, and change directions in an instant — their skill at leaping sideways, changing directions abruptly and slowing down quickly — that gives those antelope such bad odds. And that is exactly what makes a good leader great—the ability to bob and weave and move towards the target as new information is learned, bending the law of physics in ways that enable one to leap over competitors without slowing down to look back and mourn change.
And with a return to fundamental basics, we might find ourselves, as leaders or even as followers, navigating through our lives differently. If we move like cheetah….but our feet might touch the ground more often but will never lose of our targets.
l am a Registered Nurse by profession. To maintain my Nursing license I have to renew it every year before December 01 of each year. As part of renewal includes completion of jurisprudence test. With my hectic I didn’t complete this test on time. By the time I completed the test submission deadline was done. This meant my registration was terminated on December 31,2018.
When I lost the license I visited the licensing office, they explained to me that I had to complete criminal check and child registry check plus multiple other checks before I could apply for a reinstatement. I was horrified. As the realization set in that I couldn’t “legally” give the medication and not consider it late, a sinking panicky feeling arose in my gut. I began to rationalize in my head all the reasons why this happened. So the reasoning went in my head as I tried to justify why I hadn’t renewed my RN license on time. I was angry at myself because it meant paying a few more hundred dollars that could have gone to good cause, it meant a few weeks without work as a Registered Nurse. It meant that signing R.N. after my name when I am not licensed is was fraud and material misrepresentation It a day and weeks of regret and shame, it was very painful and I said lots of “should have done”. I felt shame because I had explain to my employer about my situation. I felt shame because I had failed to comply with nursing standards that I had strongly upheld for others.
I am very sure that you and I behaved in a way that has negatively impacted you, a situation, or the people you love. You can’t let go of the guilt, shame, regrets and self loathing for what you did. You believe you must be a bad person. You’re feeling stuck, undeserving of love and happiness, and downright fraudulent, those are the feelings I felt that day. .
In this situation and many other situations where I have felt similar feelings I have learnt that the key element to stress with regret is that you are looking back upon a past event and reflecting upon it. The feeling of regret is not positive, and it comes from strongly wanting to change your actions, your behaviors, your reactions, etc. In the present you are thinking back to a past event, and expressing your regret which may make you feel apologetic, sad, or shameful. Regrets can be a good thing to a certain extent–when it evokes productive guilt and teaches us something we can carry forward. But, when it keeps us up at night, causes shame and anxiety, it’s no longer productive.
Overcoming regrets is very important if you are going to love a meaningful life. There is no way you can avoid occasional mistakes which sometimes leads to regrets.
As a matter of fact, regrets are not altogether bad things. It is the regrets that motivate you to strive for better and make your life worthwhile to live provided you have a positive attitude towards it. It all depends on your presumptions of regrets that determine how they affect you, positively or negatively. To overcome regrets, you need to learn the lessons from regrets to enable yourself to make better choices in the future and move forward in life. Here are some of the ways that may help you to overcome regrets in order to lead a happy life:
Acceptance is the ability to unconditionally value all parts of who you are. That means you acknowledge all of yourself–the good and the things that need improvement. For most of us, self-acceptance can be hard. We tend to be critical of ourselves, but there are a number of ways to learn to accept yourself and your life. It all begins with your state of mind.
2.RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT THE REGRET
Regrets can change you as a person over time, for better and this is what makes life valuable provided you recognize and accept the regrets in order to learn the lessons it has to offer and apply in your life. Always keep in mind that everyone does what they think is the right thing to do in any given situation, but if something goes wrong, only then people realize their action as a mistake. Mistakes in life often occur inadvertently and so there is no need to punish your-self by being sad, depressed, frustrated, and gets indulged in self-pity. That is why you should recognize the real cause of regrets, accept it, forgive yourself, and pick up the lesson in order to move forward confidently.
3.Own your outcomes.
Work toward owning every part of your realities–not just the things that need work but also your strengths and successes. Owning all your outcomes can help teach you to do better next time, to see failure as a learning moment.
4. Recognize that everyone has some regrets in life – and see how they handle them.
You are not alone. Look at how the people you know handle their regrets. Of those, who would you like to emulate? Uncle Biff who’s never ever gotten over that missed baseball in Little League – or Aunt Buffy who made and lost a million bucks and laughed her way through the process of making her subsequent million? Look for inspiration in celebrities, too. Growing up, Mel Brooks studied drums with the drumming legend Buddy Rich. Rich thought young Mel was a prodigy and was grooming him to follow in his footsteps. When Mel heard the siren song of comedy writing, Rich warned him he was making the mistake of his life giving up a promising career in music to mess around telling a bunch of stupid jokes. Brooks says that although Rich never forgave him, he never regretted the path he took.
5. Practice Self Forgiveness.
If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you are not a horrific human being. You obviously care about your own healing and about the people you love that you probably have caused pain due to your action, which you now regret about. Whatever has happened you, it is time to show kindness and compassion to yourself, to those that have been hurt, to forgive yourself and let go.
In the Movie “Frozen,” Elsa, the older sister, sings these words: “Let it go, let it go … And I’ll rise like the break of dawn … ”
Let it go.
Those are words I sensed God speaking to me as I walked to Winnipeg Police Headquarters to get a criminal check and Manitoba Child Registry that cold day, I could hear God’s soft voice telling me that it was ok, to let go the regrets of losing my RN license.
“Let go of the past that you cannot undo.”
“Let go of the warped view you have of yourself. It doesn’t match the one I have as your Heavenly Father.”
“Let go of the hurts that hold you too tightly.”
Today, I am very grateful to say I have been reinstated my RN license, this I am very thankful!
Maybe you’ve sensed God asking you to let something — or someone — go.
So next time you find yourself regretting something you did, try to face up to instead of pretending it didn’t happen and be compassionate with yourself. You might just be able to get over it.
Recently I had an opportunity to visit Lake Louise Alberta, where I saw the magnificent work of God. The lake is curved between two, beautiful ice capped mountains. As my family and other tourists posed on the snow covered lake for photos, I thought a lot about what God sees when He looks down at His creation. He must be saying something like, “it is all beautiful.” I imagine this because as one stand there is no excuse of not seeing these immeasurable beauty. The mountains on both sides of the lake look warm and welcoming, the castle at the lake look steady and inviting, the ice on the lake is playful, inviting everyone to skate on it. Everything on Lake Louise is worthy the drive. These beauty is not found only on Lake Louise. I see it every where I go, in downtown parks in Winnipeg, where I live. I see it on the streets, I see it on people’s faces, I see it on my social media tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, I see it in myself. The issue is that I get bored and stop to observe and appreciate the beauty around me.
Sometimes nature can echo how we feel. The beauty of a single rose with dew drops can echo the differing feelings that love can evoke. Robert Frost, in his poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” illustrates the plight of modern life. The poem’s narrator rides on horseback through a forest in the night, on his way to conduct some errand. Upon seeing the snow slowly moving through the branches, he stops for a moment.
But to his sadness, he has much to do, and cannot stay for long. His subsequent thoughts create some of the most famous closing lines in all of poetry.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
Around you and me is beauty everywhere, in that beauty is God’s goodness on display. The question is, do you and myself see it? The Scripture talks about how God was in the midst of people, but they knew Him not. Too many times, God is working in our lives, showing us favor, protecting us, sending us healing, but we don’t recognize His goodness. For example, if you weren’t the most qualified or the most talented but you got the promotion, that’s the goodness of God. If you’re going through a difficult time and a friend stops by out of the blue and cheers you up, that’s the goodness of God. It’s easy to see the negative, what we don’t have, what we didn’t get, but that won’t build our faith. Instead, make a decision to search for the good things God has given you. His mercy is new each morning. Look for His goodness.
Like the narrator, who finds the snowy wood lovely, but cannot stay long enough to enjoy it, we often become so busy that we no longer have the time to appreciate and benefit from the natural world. And without it, there can be no true peace for us—no “sleep.”
I want to also note that not everyone among us see beauty in their own lives. Some of us have gone through journeys where we have been made to hate ourselves, some have gone through some marital issues where their partners or spouses have made them feel that are ugly and stupid. I remember working with a lady who revealed to us that she never looks herself in the mirror because she has come to believe her husband that she looks ugly. Millions of us go through this painful journey daily and quietly. As we walk alongside these people it is our call for many to always try to help these people find their own beauty.
Growth comes from inside and time never matters when you live your life from the heart. So cheers to good friends,great conversations,to people that are no longer with us but left an impact on our lives,cheers to books,movies and art that feed our souls, cheers to music and love.
We all feel fear … don’t let anyone tell you they don’t. The truly successful have simply found a way to break through their fear.
Nelson Mandela had it right when he said …
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
So how do you conquer fear?
How do you grow your business without letting fear hold you back?
Some of us are staying within our comfort zones and this is our best way of ‘conquering fear’.
Your Inner Critic, the voice in the mind that speaks to you all day, runs on fear. This is the voice that tells you that you shouldn’t take risks, because you might fail; that you need to keep yourself safe and protected from the possibility of rejection, inadequacy, vulnerability; that you should not put yourself out there to the world, because what if the the world says “no?”. This Inner Critic develops in childhood as an attempt to avoid painful feelings, protecting you from feeling hurt in any way. It might sound like, “you should…”, “why didn’t you…?”, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why can’t you get it together?” It is the Inner Critic that is responsible for keeping you stuck! That voice that tells us we can not don’t, we don’t have what it takes to do the project. It creates fear and sometimes paralysis. We feel we cannot move further than where we are, we are doomed and cursed.
Does this sound familiar?
We all have fears that can sometimes cause anxiety and stress but what does it do for us in the long run?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been the type of person that has his mind five steps ahead of the pace my feet are moving. I am constantly coming up with amazing ideas on how to make myself a better person or how to make my business more successful etc. What I have noticed is that there have been times that I have had such exciting ideas that I love and I just know that I need to do something with them but they end up just sitting in my creative journal, why you ask? Because fear kicks in and I start to doubt myself, which then leads to immense anxiety and I just pop the idea aside to do the ‘not so scary things’.
How can we overcome fear?
- EMBRACE IT
Put the fear right in front of you. Look at it, step into it, feel it as much as you can…let it get as big as you can. Stay with it as long as you can and when the fear is at it biggest, then look at it, observe it, can you see yourself as separate from the fear? Can you see what is underneath the fear, behind the fear? Notice as you are doing this that through your awareness the fear starts loosing its hold on you.
- TRANSFORM IT
Whenever the feeling of fear arises and slows you down, stops you, freezes you, pick up a towel and scream into the towel, right through the fear. This is a powerful way to transform the fear energy into an energy of excitement. I believe this to be the most powerful tool on how to overcome fear.
- CHANGE IT
Learning to shift our focus away from what we stand to lose, and toward what we stand to gain, will completely change our perception of the situation. This simple shift can quickly leave us feeling more courageous and eager to take action! Many people are in the habit of seeing the negative side of any challenging situation. If we focus more on how big the challenge seems, instead of the potential benefits, we will resist taking action because all we can see is the potential, negative risks involved. The more we focus on the possibility of loss the more fear we create. With this kind of mindset, wanting to move forward toward our dreams probably won’t provide enough incentive to overcome these fears. As a result, we will continuously hold ourselves back and end up accomplishing far less than we are capable of.
- LIST IT
You may find it helpful to make a list of any specific fears you have and get them out in the open. In each situation that leaves you feeling hesitant or fearful, try to evaluate exactly what is holding you back. What is it that you are afraid will happen and why? Are those things really likely to occur, or is there only a slight chance?
Then use a separate sheet of paper and create a list of the benefits you stand to gain by moving forward. Be as specific and optimistic as you can. Remember that dread and fear will amplify your perception of the negative possibilities, which can make the positive benefits seem significantly smaller or less important. So, you may need to work a little harder at emphasizing the positive.
- ACT UPON IT
If you do decide that the time to take action is now, you may still need to work at building up your courage a bit before you act. Creating a well thought out plan of action will go a long way in this area. Remember, the only person with the power to hold you back, or move you forward, is YOU. At its core, courage is largely the determination to conquer any fear, hesitation or excuse that attempts to separate you from your dreams.
Whatever you do, don’t try to convince yourself into believing that you have to be completely fearless before moving toward your goals! The most successful people in the world would openly confess that they eventually had to be resolved to move forward despite their fears and feelings of uncertainty!
Courage is absolutely a choice, and fear does not have the power to rob you of your dreams, motivation, and strength unless you decide to let it.
All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
– Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet In Heaven
I remember the morning I went to Kirimara High School (Kenya) to check for the results of my Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE). I was excited as I took a public bus to the school, I was very sure that I had passed the exam. I had worked very hard and was very hopeful that I was joining University of Nairobi to undertake a Bachelor of Economics. As the first born of 9 siblings and 6 half sisters and brothers there was always lots at stake, and my mother was always clear – work hard and succeed. Those two elements were always interrelated. You work hard, give it your 100%, and you will succeed. All my life, that formula worked. I studied, got good grades, did well on the Kenya Certificate of Education, got into a Provincial High School. I did everything “right” anytime I wanted something and I assumed that I will always get what I wanted with ease.
I still remember the months of hysteria leading up to the Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE). Like all of my classmates, I did all the homework assignments, made flash cards, and studied. The thought that I can spend two years of my life and fall short by failing the Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE) never occurred to me. My stomach sank as I read the result. The message sank in – you failed. You are a failure. How would I explain to my mother that her oldest son is a failure? I would be rendering meaningless everything she fought for, everything she sacrificed in a single stroke – by failing the Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE).
So, that was my life. I went from being a bright star student to a failure. It took away my da bragging right to be able to announce to her friends that her son was going to university. I hid from people for a month and when I showed up people from my village gossiped about me, those who came to visit our home were sarcastic. I went into a deep depression.I thought that my was done, I thought of running away to Nairobi because I had so much shame. Many of my friends who never attended school were very happy that I was finally joining them, to be a farmer. I felt that I had failed and I had no future. Then I got a job interview with a Swahili Christian Magazine as an Associate Editor. They gave the job on the spot. This was the miracle I had been waiting for, I felt blessed and my vison was renewed. I could dream again. I accepted the job, and the job paved my paths to go to Daystar University, and later I found a way to Canada for Graduate studies.
While it looked like failure had a grip in me, God had better plans for me. I am very thankful that faluire had final say in my life. I want to tell others that it’s never an option to give up especially when it’s about reaching your dreams. If you want to become an engineer, go for it. There’s a saying, “Some people succeed because they are destined, but most because they are determined.”
Our failures can become some of our best teachers if we pay attention to and learn from them. They can give us the courage to confront our own and others’ imperfections and to accept failure as inevitable in today’s complex work organizations. Most successful people acknowledge they’ve learned more from their failures than their successes. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, said in a Harvard commencement address, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.” Ms. Rowling knows about failure: She was a single, unemployed mother who received 12 rejections before a publisher accepted her first Harry Potter book.
Some people fear failure so much that they never put themselves in situations in which they could fail. But this sets a low ceiling on their prospects for professional success. Fear of failure is one of the strongest forces keeping people below their potential. In the bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, author Timothy Ferriss advises readers to ask themselves what would happen if they chased their dreams and fell flat on their faces. He suggests the recovery time would be far shorter than we think.Wise professionals recognize that if you don’t take risks, you lose out on opportunities.
Steve Jobs is a particularly strong example of using grit to thrive despite professional failure. He and his business partner started Apple in a garage when Jobs was only 20 years old. By the time Jobs was 30 years old, Apple had grown into a multi-billion-dollar company–and Jobs found himself kicked to the curb when his creative vision diverged from the rest of the board.
In his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, he recalled how adrift he felt:
“What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating…I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me–I still loved what I did.”
How can we rethink failure?
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact failure has on my life. I have to believe that failure in itself does not define me, but it has molded me into the person I am today. Failure to me is the greatest lesson of all and is formed from every mistake, loss, and defeat. Hardships and struggles are when growth happens the most. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we come back from these mistakes that truly matters. Each time we are faced with a problem, we have a decision; we can stay stuck on it, be negative, and not allow ourselves to heal, or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and rebuild from the ground up with a positive attitude.
Here below are some lessons that I find helpful to share with others regarding how to approach failure, these lessons are just guidelines on how to appreciate failure and make the best of it.
# 1.Failure deprives away the inessentials
Failure, as much as it hurts, is an important part of life. In fact, failure is necessary.In her commencement speech, Rowling said, “[When I failed] I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Failure for me has been my greatest teacher; it’s nature’s chisel that chips away at all the excess, stripping down egos as it molds and shapes us through divine intentions. Without failure, we’d be less capable of compassion, empathy, kindness, and great achievement; we would be less likely to reach for the moon and the stars.
# 2. Resilience in the face of failure
Resilience is our ability to cope with unexpected circumstances, and can be thought of as emotional awareness. If we are resilient, we are then able to cope better with life’s ups and downs. Building resilience is something that we can all aim to be better at and the benefits for us will be profound and long-lasting.
Unfortunately, we can’t build resilience on success alone. It takes failure for us to build our inner strength and work out how to deal with failure. A life of unbroken success doesn’t test us; if we are untested, then we are unprepared for what might come. Failing in life helps to build resilience. The more we fail, the more resilient we become. In order to achieve great success, we must know resilience. Because, if we think that we’re going to succeed on the first try, or even the first few tries, then we’re sure to set ourselves up for a far more painful failure.
Failure makes success possible, but not because of the eventual possibility for lucrative exits. Rather, failure opens the dialogue to show that we don’t have to be perfect; in fact, we can’t be. We need to speak honestly and openly — to let ourselves be known, so that failure and mistakes are put in their proper context.
# 3. Failure builds you up.
Failure can tear you down. It can make you feel horrible about yourself and about life. It can also build you up in ways you never thought possible if you let it.
Failure allows you the opportunity to acknowledge and take responsibility for your mistakes. Take responsibility for the part you played in your failure. Stare your monetary losses in the face without cringing. Acknowledge what happened and why you failed.
Failure makes us more emphathetic. Those who try and fail understand something about human nature that others who do not share that experience seem to lack. It can teach us to be empathetic toward other people who have not been successful.
#4. Failure drives us to change
Without failure, where would we be today? The exceptions are those failures that become steppingstones to later success. Such is the case with Thomas Edison, whose most memorable invention was the light bulb, which purportedly took him 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype. “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked. “I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Unlike Edison, many of us avoid the prospect of failure. In fact, we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t aim for success, settling instead for a life of mediocrity. When we do make missteps, we gloss over them, selectively editing out the miscalculations or mistakes in our life’s résumé. “Failure is not an option,” NASA flight controller Jerry C. Bostick reportedly stated during the mission to bring the damaged Apollo 13 back to Earth, and that phrase has been etched into the collective memory ever since. To many in our success-driven society, failure isn’t just considered a non-option—it’s deemed a deficiency, says Kathryn Schulz, author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. “Of all the things we are wrong about, this idea of error might well top the list,” Schulz says. “It is our meta-mistake: We are wrong about what it means to be wrong. Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition.”
Winston Churchill once stated, “Success is based on going from failure to failure without losing eagerness.” Failure is the most wonderful teacher if we are willing to learn from it. Success does not come easy. Everyone must face one hurdle after another. It’s the only way to reach success. The reason being is that success must be maintained. If you think that once you have the success you crave and it’s time to relax, you are sadly mistaken.
“You are diabetic,” my doctor told me, reaching over to show me the lab results for the blood work done a few weeks before. I looked at him.
“We have tried exercise and dieting but it didn’t work,” he looked at me again, then sat to his chair. I waited and waited for the longest three minutes, “what does this mean?” I could not wait any longer.
“It means we will put you on meds,” the verdict was strong and the reality sounded very harsh. I looked at him, “can we try exercise again?”
“My friend, your blood sugar levels are 17 , that means if we don’t anything right now it is just of time before you start to lose use of essential organs,” he said without hesitation. I was worried and I knew if I didn’t follow his advise I would have worse medical needs. I had seen my mum go to a diabetic induced coma, I had seen her develop diabetic ulcers, I had seen others in the health care system lose their limbs, I feared I was next.
“I tell you what, “ the doctor continued to talk, “we will try one more time.” He ordered a Glucometer and asked that I check my blood sugars every for 3 weeks. That evening I went home discouraged. I put the Glucometer to a corner, I felt labeled as diabetic, sick and judged for death. I hated the Glucometer and looking at it reminded me that my journey to die is coming closer.
Then I read a post from a fcb friend who was encouraging others to join them on exercise challenge. The friend challenged others to set goal to lose at least 100 calories per day. I reluctantly agreed to join. I had tried to exercise before but it did not work, I feared agreeing to it would mean agreeing to fail. But because I had a verdict to either choose to be labeled as diabetic or do something about, I chose to do something.
I started with 100 calories on treadmill, then increased it to 200 calories. I am now at 300 calories. I have also started to be careful with what I eat. I have learned that I was not born to eat, I have to eat in moderation. I have lost 30 pounds in 3 weeks. I have come to enjoy exercising, it is no longer a drag but something for joy. I feel more energetic after exercise.
I can’t wait to see my doctor to thank him for giving me a second chance and I am always thankful to the fcb friend who has been a great motivator for me to keep on going. You are probably at a time in your life where you feel disappointments and fear of failure overwhelmingly coming towards you. I am sure you probably feel like giving up or running away, that is the easiest way for any hard situation. I felt like that too when the doctor told me I was diabetic, that night I could not sleep, I just imagined losing my limbs and I felt depressed. I also felt like I had lost the battle and I wanted to wait for whatever was going to happen to just happen.
Right now my story has changed for better and I cannot wait to see it evolve to even be a great and transforming story, I am more hopeful. This is my message for you too, whatever your situation it might be your story is not done yet. You still hold your pen to rewrite your story, you have the power to change the conversation.
And if there’s nothing left for you to hold on. Hold on to this, the journey you are going through is tough one, nothing to compare with and no one can completely understand your situation except you. It’s a battlefield. One you may or may not have signed up for. But the journey you are going through is worth it, don’t give up yet. Because somewhere, someday, you will use this journey to touch the life of someone. You may not know it, but God does. You may not be appreciated but you may unknowingly save a life.
Life comes around in a full circle. With every breaking, comes a new chance for healing and with every pain comes hope, where you feel defeated help is on the way and where you feel betrayed there’s that one person set up for you to give you a hand. And with every story, comes a testimony. So hold on, because the reason why life chose you was because it knew that you are going to be strong enough to fight the battle, do not let it go yet….you were born for great things.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? — Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV)
As I walk in my journey of life, I get to ask myself the question whether I am prepared to die and how well I want to face my death. I do not fear dying but I if I had a choice for when to die I would choose to have it wait until I over 70. I have a reason for my case: I am the first born from a large African family and I would like to help them with some of their needs, and I believe that I would like to go back to Kenya to continue with the work of an orphanage that I founded in 1994. I pray daily that God would give me many more years and that He would protect my family from any danger.
Over the years, I have seen death touch many people close to me. At the age of 5, I lost my grandfather, it hurt me to know that I had to grow up without a grandpa. Then in 1988 I lost my baby sister. In 1994, I lost a very close friend, who had been very dear to me. Her death left me numb and angry, I still feel that I did not get enough time to grief her illness. In the same year another woman from my village, who had mental illness and I had been her caregiver suddenly died.
With all these losses, I have learn that though it is my desire to live longer I know that the reality of life is that death is an inevitable part of life and it is as real as life itself, it can occur any time without a warning. With these in mind I prepare myself everyday to meet it. I do not long for it to come but I feel at peace with it when it comes. My beliefs on how to face death are attributed to my Christian and African traditions. As an African, death is a separation and not annihilation; the dead person is suddenly cut off from the human society and yet the corporate group clings to him. This is shown through the elaborate funeral rites, as well as other methods of keeping in contact with the departed”. The relatives of the dead believe that even though the soul of their dead relative has gone up to the sky or near to God, it remains also near to them and can be approached through prayers, libations, and offerings. And as a Christian death is a beautiful and eternal union with God, it is my final home in Heaven where time is no more. This perspective help me to live every day as though it is the last day of my life, and to see death as an only separation of the soul and the body, from each other but not a total loss of life.
Perhaps, the most difficulty thing for a young person of my age to do is to write a will. This in it explains that I have not done one yet. If I had wealth and if I knew that I am dying I would write one. Writing a will is very important because many of the things that need to be done have already been handled at a much less stressful time. Having a living allows my family to make decisions based upon my wishes. Having an up-to-date will ensures that my possessions will be given to those whom I wish. If I have already discussed with my loved ones–prior to becoming ill–where I wish to be buried, then the difficult decision is made with thought and reflection and before I am confronted with its reality. I my accounts and Life Insurance policy joined with my wife so that if death took either of us there would be no extra stress trying to sort out who would own the estate. I believe it is wise to make sure the papers–life insurance, savings accounts, etc.–are in order and easily located, which will make it much easier for those whose responsibility it is to take care of these matters.
If my death was questionable like in the case where a doctor misdiagnosed I would like to have an autopsy but if it were a natural death I would choose not to. In the case of how I want my body to be disposed I would like to be buried in my village in Kenya. The issue of cremation is very foreign for Africans, we believe in seeing the body before burial. The traditional African burial ceremony is an important preparation for the body’s journey after death. We believe that burying a body give the spirit of the deceased rest and peace. Destroying the body could destroy the human spirit. We bury our dead several feet underground and that is where they should remain. It is taboo for an African to be cremated. We believe in physical and spiritual lives and, if we cremate, resurrection of the dead will be affected. Donating organs is another controversial issue among the Africans. We do not donate organs because we be buried our people whole because we believe that in resurrection they will have their bodies back. Knowing the difficulty to get organ donors I would be willing to donate all internal organs
Funerals in Kenya are seen as a celebration of person’s life. It is my wish would be to be buried in Kenya, it is honored, and I would like to request my community in Kenya to provide traditional and Christian music and dance on my funeral. Unlike the somber atmosphere I experienced at funerals here in the Canada, the funerals in Kenya are colorful, celebration occasions. It is not at all unusual for there to be as many as three groups performing simultaneously at an at a funeral. In case my family cannot transport my body I would like to request my African community in Winnipeg to celebrate my life with music and dance.
If buried in Kenya, my village elders would for the wake keeping and would decide the proper time and place for the various events of a funeral. Members of my family and other members of the community may chose to commission performances on the days leading up to the night of the wake keeping and day of burial. People may also choose to commission a performance as long as a year or two after the actual day of burial. The reason for the tradition is that someone who may not have been able to attend the funeral will want to honor the person somehow when they are able to travel home. I would like stories about to be told by the elders at funerals and in this way history will be passed on by word of mouth. I would like a big feast in my funeral as my tradition belief in celebration of life.
I feel so much gratitude for they have given me so many gifts of loving wisdom and intimate moments of deep understanding. They have especially given me comfort and ease about my own life’s sojourn. I have had the honor to sit with in their last days and moments. Attending to, with individuals who are living with a terminal illness, supporting and consoling their families, are truly a privilege and a blessing for all who are involved in the gentle care of the living/dying experience. As many more individuals choose to die at home in the comfort of their own familiar surroundings, we as family, friends and caregivers have a special opportunity to share intimate moments with our loved one, opening our hearts to our sacred journey. It is a powerful experience to witness a dying person drop all the surface “stuff” and get to the heart of each moment. Meeting another, deep in our hearts and ourselves is the most powerful journey we can take together. We are called to give our gifts, letting the healing in, letting this be our human quest.
Something else that encourages me in my life is the good news of the Gospel which talks about resurrection story — the story of new life breaking through the midst of deep despair — is never finished. The ending is left unwritten because we must do our part. In this story, I am encouraged that we cannot let violence in this world and fear, and even death to silence us! Each spring, as seeds push from the ground, as new life comes from what was dead, we hear the challenging story again and must decide if we will let the violence, death and fear silence us and therefore bury us, or if we will rise again to raise our voices and our actions. Resurrection, not violence, it is not death and of course it is not fear, must have the last word.
There are three main fears that can hold you back ~ fear of failure, self doubt and fear of the future. These fears will seem like real insurmountable obstacles. Most of the time they are not. Rise above and you will see them for what they are. Choose courage (Joshua 1:9).
You might experience some or all of these symptoms if you have a fear of failure:
- A reluctance to try new things or get involved in challenging projects.
- Self-sabotage– for example, procrastination, excessive anxiety, or a failure to follow through with goals.
- Low self-esteem or self-confidence – commonly using negative statements such as “I’ll never be good enough to get that promotion,” or “I’m not smart enough to get on that team.”
- Perfectionism- A willingness to try only those things that you know you’ll finish perfectly and successfully.
How To Overcome A Fear Of Failure
Different things will work for different people, so try and find what works best for you.
1. Reframe Failure
One of the best things you can do is to try and reframe your way of thinking about failure. Instead of seeing failure as a negative thing, try to look at it as a positive.
Failure can actually be a learning experience for you!
Try to remember that most people don’t succeed straight away, there will be mistakes and failures along the way.
These experiences can help you to learn and improve until you do succeed.
Being able to change your view on failure could really help you to not be so scared of experiencing it and instead, helping you to find the positive and learn from your mistakes.
2. Focus on the positive.
Bring an attitude of positivity to how you view yourself and the world around you.Focus on the things in life that are good. Don’t fill your head with junk. Stay away from the constant stream of negativity that’s so prevalent in this world. How you view life seeps into your head and creates fears and what if’s. You have control of what you take in and how you react. Look, if you spend all your time focused on your troubles or your weaknesses, you’re never going to become great. Keeping your eye on what’s wrong with your life, yourself, your spouse or your business is a good way to end up broke and alone. You’ve got to focus on what’s right with yourself and the world.
3. Ask Yourself Questions
Asking yourself questions can be a great way to become more aware of how you are feeling and why you feel that way. If you make a mistake, and you start to doubt yourself, take a minute to stop and ask yourself some questions.
These could be questions such as:
- ‘What can I learn from this mistake?’
- ‘What is the positive in this situation’
- ‘How am I feeling, and if it’s negative, how can I change it?’
This will make you dive deeper into how you are feeling, and work on improving things you need to improve on.
This can really help you when you are facing failures as you are changing your negative mindset and hopefully learning more about yourself too.
4. Focus on the future.
We all make mistakes. I know I do. My life is full of them. But the difference between someone who is dragged down by their mistakes and someone who overcomes them is their ability to focus on the future. Let go of what happened yesterday or last year or 10 years ago. Forgive that person who wronged you so you can be free. It’s not about who’s right or wrong. It’s about freeing yourself from the baggage so you can move forward. You have the opportunity today to create new successes using the lessons you learned from those mistakes.
I’d love to hear from you. How has fear put your excitement (or happiness) on pause? What has it stopped you from doing? What have you done in the past to break this cycle of fear? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.
Controlling Anger — Before It Controls You
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Inside Out is a funny, witty, and clever movie portraying the role of human emotions in a very touching sensible story. The story is about a life of a girl who is facing a significant transition in her life. The core emotions of human beings are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. These emotions are learned emotions; these emotions exhibit themselves in one’s life based on one’s experiences and learning in relationships. Anger is one of the five emotions controlling Riley Andersen’s mind. He lives in her brain and works with the other emotions.
When Joy and Sadness literally get lost in Riley’s mind, he and the others have to keep Riley’s head on straight until they get home. Next to Joy, he may be the most abrasive to Sadness. Anger is introduced when Mr. Andersen tells a young Riley that she can’t have dessert if she doesn’t eat her broccoli. He is enraged but calms down when Riley’s dad says that the broccoli is an airplane. When Riley and her family move to San Francisco, Anger, along with the other emotions, is disappointed when he sees their new home and creates some negative memories. He lightens up when Joy starts coming up with ideas on how to decorate the place but is infuriated when they find out that the moving van with all of their belongings hasn’t arrived yet
Of all negative feelings people can experience, anger is probably the most common everywhere. We live and see a society of millions of angry people, we see it on television, parents experience it with their two year old, with people shooting innocent people for not reason, with teenagers, I know of many siblings who have held anger for years because of an ill treatment done to them by a member of their family. Anger is demonstrated in every corner we turn, we see it on our streets through the graffiti drawn on city buildings and businesses, we hear on the radio through the music sang, we see it on riots, on demonstrations and wars in Syria, in places where hurricanes and other natural disasters have hit.
What anger management professionals tell us is that anger has a personal dimension, it can be the fire that burn inside us and when provoked it cab lead to more damage, it is a flicker of fire that can destroy an entire with one strike. We all get angry, about things that are unfair or when things don’t go the way we expect, but here I want to engage us in a discourse to talk about that explosive anger that overwhelms every bodily vein. Where your mind seems unable to focus, where nothing exists except the pressure waiting to explode. This is the anger that all of have experienced at one time or another. It’s a hard feeling.
I remember having this episodic anger one Sunday afternoon when I was about 14 years old or so, back in Kenya. I was fixing our family bicycle, which was the one mode we had for the extended family of sixteen children, and I needed a screwdriver to complete a task. I asked my younger brother Isaac to get it for me. He refused or was slow to get it for me, as the older brother in my family it is expected that when you send a younger child they should do what you ask them to do without any question. I was very angry with my brother for refusing or delaying to follow my orders, in great anger I took a log and threw it at him. He ducked it and ran away. Whenever I get flashbacks of that incident I feel bad for my immaturity at the time, I would have injured or even worse I would have killed my brother just for refusing or delaying to follow my orders. In that moment I was allowing my outburst emotions to control my destiny, to control my thought process for no reason. I have since changed and I now act better in similar situation.
I have learnt that anger is an extremely powerful emotion and if you feed on it frequently others will avoid you like the plague. On the other hand, if you keep it bottled up inside and you become a pressure cooker that will inevitably blow its top leading to actions that you will later regret. Here, I would like share some examples where anger went out of control:On July 5, 2000, a hockey scrimmage took place at the Burbank Ice Arena in Reading, Massachusetts. It was a scrimmage for 10-12 year old boys. Michael Costin’s three sons were playing on one team and Thomas Junta’s son was on the opposing team. It was a scrimmage, it didn’t even count, but the events that transpired radically changed two families. The two men got into a scuffle during the game because of a disagreement they had over the roughness of play by the boys. Following the scrimmage Mr. Junta and Mr. Costin got into it again and Mr. Costin was beaten to death. Today, Thomas Junta is sitting in prison while Michael Costin’s sons are left without a daddy. As we can see from this case, violence comes from anger and must be defused in a healthy manner. Otherwise, coupled with daily stress and occasional relational problem, a sense of rage would plant deep inside one’s emotion and could explode anytime.
The question is not what if it explodes, but rather, when it explodes. For this reason, we are seeing more and more senseless murder-suicide cases recently. There is almost never a day gone by without hearing on the news of murder-suicide. It seems to be a thing to do to solve problems. I believe this is a reflection of people who are under extreme frustration and stress without having hope in sight.
Mental health professionals tell us when someone insults us or does something unkind to us, an internal formation of emotions is created in our consciousness. If you don’t know how to undo the internal knot of destructive and anger emotions and transform it to something positive, the knot of destructive and anger emotions will stay there for a long time. And the next time someone says something or does something to you of the same nature, that internal formation of emotions will grow stronger. As we add knots or blocks of pain, anger in us, our internal formation of emotions start to have the power to push us, to dictate our behaviour, to want to be released or explode.
After a while, it becomes very difficult for us to transform it to something positive, to undo the knots, and we cannot ease the constriction of this crystallized internal formation of emotions. It imprisons us, there is a poignant story about two Buddhist monks who encounter each other many years after being released from prison where they had been tortured. The first one asks, “Have you forgiven our captors?” The second one replies, “I will never forgive them! Never!” The first says, “Well, I guess they still have you in prison, don’t they?” This story vividly illustrates the tyranny of anger.
Every one of us has had episode of anger in our lives, we sometime feel a sense of threat, real or imagined, usually arises out of a perception of oppression, humiliation, injustice, physical danger or just a lack of control over our environment and circumstances. Guilt can also trigger anger. For example, if we know or feel that we’ve violated the law (biblical, moral, or civic), we may live under a cloud that God or the police who is about to get us. That lack of control over our circumstances can make us angry.
Of course, this territory of human psychology is not a recent discovery. People have always struggled with these issues. Rage exploded into murder in the very first family. So it may be useful to step out of 21st century thinking and literature and seek the more classic wisdom of the Bible on anger. For some of us those emotions no longer imprison us but for some we still have business that we need to take care of. With the practice of meditation, seeking help from others or mental health professionals or engaging yourself in intentional mindful reflection, we can undo these knots and experience transformation, healing and new insights into starting a new journey of hope. Anger is our built-in alarm system alerting us that something is wrong, out of harmony, off balance. Some event has clashed with our expectations, our beliefs or our spirit. We can gain vital information about ourselves and what we believe about the world when we look honestly at our anger. But when we react unconsciously, repress our anger or get caught up in it, it becomes counterproductive and negatively affects our health and relationships.
According to Brandt, when you’re able to tap into your anger — or any emotions — you’re able to examine the message, before you figure out how to respond. Feeling your feelings may not be easy. It may not come naturally to you — especially depending on your earlier experiences. However, you can learn to feel your emotions in safe and healthy ways and to process them in safe and healthy ways. Mindfulness is a great practice that everyone should focus on. When I became aware of the positive and negative emotions, it helped me get into touch with my inner most strengths and insecurities. When I recognized my strengths, I was able to grow those and build confidence. When I recognized my insecurities, I was able to self-soothe and face them head on to sort them out in a healthy way.
I have begun to be able to identify situations that induce anxiety, fear, stress, anger, etc. As soon as I feel any of those emotions coming along, I ask myself “what is causing this and what can I do to put this feeling at ease?” It can happen in a split second, so it is important to begin identifying trigger points and begin self-soothing right away. It is just as important to identify situations that bring joy. I know how hard it can be to take a situation for granted and not luxuriate in that moment. Getting into the practice of taking a moment to breathe in the air, listen to the sounds around you, taste the entirety of your food or drink will ensure that you are living in the moment. There is nothing more important than having gratitude for the things that you are doing in the NOW. In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes, “Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” And sometimes you are right to be angry because you are experiencing a true wrong. Then the problem is not the fact of getting angry, but how you express that anger. It’s not right for someone to tailgate you, recklessly and aggressively endangering you and your family. It’s not right when your spouse is indifferent or inconsiderate. It’s not right if your boss treats you unfairly or your child refuses to obey. It’s not right when you are abused or attacked. Anger has been given to us by God as the way to say, “That’s not right and that matters.” In our broken world, you will have many good reasons to be angry. But, because we are part of the broken world, we express our anger at true wrongs in the wrong way. We blow up. We get irritated. We gossip. We complain. We hold a grudge. We shut people out. We get even. We become embittered, cynical, hostile. Something really wrong happened … and we become really wrong in reaction.
By acknowledging our feelings and simply observing our thoughts, we are better able to make a conscious choice of how best to respond to life’s occasional frustrations. Remember that we were all born to be free; it’s a gift from God. We’re not to be free from responsibility, but free to be led by God’s Spirit. Any time our freedom is taken away or given away, we experience anger. Are we willing to go through whatever it takes to be free, or do you want to stay in the mess you’re in for the rest of your life? If you and I want to be free, just start doing what God wants you to do, one step at a time, and you’ll eventually walk out of your anger mess.
Brandt writes in her book Mindful Anger: A Pathway to Emotional Freedom writes, “Recognizing our true feelings makes it possible for us to change behaviours and situations that do not support us — leading to a more honest, satisfying life,” according to Brandt. Andrea Brandt grew up with anger. As she writes in her new book, we first learn anger at home. In her case it was from her parents, and primarily her mother. Her journey into healing began with a meltdown as a client in a group therapy session with her then-husband, followed by withdrawal and tears. She is an expert in anger from firsthand experience, but then we all have firsthand experience. What is different with Brandt is how she chose to handle it.
Brandt’s experience of overcoming her own histories of anger suppression does not follow this “slow and steady realization” model. One day in a group therapy session with her husband, she recounts, the anger she had kept deeply hidden all her life suddenly burst out of her in a screaming, purse-swinging fit of aggression, directed at another group member. The outburst, so uncharacteristic of this quiet, repressed woman, shocked everyone, including her, and ultimately led to a divorce. However the immediate effects of this fit of anger were the most personally telling and significant for Brandt’s evolution as a psychotherapist: she reports that days of sobbing, as she released the decades of hurt, were followed by a profound sense of freedom and lightness–a euphoria of post-expression liberation.
A clinical psychologist, Brandt came to realize that anger is our friend. It is there to try to protect us. The difficulty is when we act blindly and use the self-talk that we learned as a child. We act as soon as the emotion rises without really taking the time to listen to it and get to know it.
It was 8 PM. I was riding Toronto Subway from Spandina to Lansdowne. As reminisced through all that had taken place during the day, I started to notice some hand unusual hand movements of the woman sited across from me.
“Don’t be like your dad, ” she shouted at her three year old son, who was trying to free her grip, wanting to walk in the train.
“Men are monsters,” she shouted, at this time everyone in the train cargo was looking at her.
“Andrew, you are a monster.”
“No, ” her son freed himself, “you are a monster.” In no time the train was in Dufferin, which was her stop. She left quickly holding her son and shouting at him. As she left the cabin and as the doors closed I wondered why she has so much bitterness, I wondered why she repeatedly called men “monsters”. Could she had a divorce or separation. I empathized with her situation, whatever it was that she was going through it must have been a tough situation.
That night, as I thought through this incident, and wondered what could be that that made that woman to be so angry at men, I remembered how it is to be in the path of a monster. It was a time my father and I encountered with monster, a very hungry lion in the bushes of Kenya.
It was on a Saturday morning and the shimmering rays of of the sun hit ground with promises and peace. We had come to this part of Kenya to see our piece of land. We had camped for the night at an old school.
“This are hyena’s footsteps, ” my father told me as we started to walk into the bush where our land was supposed to be located, he lifted his hands towards Mount Kenya and asked the Creator to protect us.I had seen him say this kind of prayer a few times in my life, all those times were times when he and us were going through some difficulties; so I knew he too feared for what might happen.
As we walked further into the bushes we saw deers, giraffes, and herds of Zebras. All was calm but not for me, I feared a lot; I wondered why we had come here. I knew my dad had the best intentions to show me a piece of land that he had purchased but I could not reconcile why it had to be in wildlife environment. Without asking many questions I just followed him. For over an hour we went around the bushes, we could not spot the piece of land, then my dad remembered, “let us go that way,” he pointed,, we started to walk. After a hundred or so meters we saw a clearing and a water pond. As we walked towards the water pond we saw zebras, deer and antelopes have their mid-morning water drink, then my father stopped.
“Let us go that way, ” he changed direction, ” it should be somewhere near here.”
We walked a little further the direction he was walking, again he pointed.
“Our land is here, ” he stopped, thanked Creator again facing Mount Kenya.
We started to plant some trees that we had brought with us, then we started to hear roaring, loud roaring. We both knew it was a lion roaring, but thought it was either chasing a giraffe or just roaring to declare its territory, we continued with planting trees. But the roaring started to grow louder and louder, we could now hear it coming towards us.
“Let us ran, ” dad told me.
The more we ran the more we could hear its roaring getting louder, “I can stay behind to die….you are young you need to escape the danger, ” dad told me. As we ran through the bushes we met with a Saburu herder, he had a herd of cows crossing through the grassland. We raced around him, and past him. Then stopped to catch breath, at this time the roar was less, we continued to ran, until we could hear the sound anymore.
My escape from the lion encounter help me appreciate every opportunity I have been given to live, I see that I was given to see today for a reason.
My story has something to do with the story about the woman probably encountering a situation where she feels like encountering monster or monsters in her life, what we have in common is that monsters are real; they can be inform of persons, a challenge, an emotional experience….whatever it is it can make our lives overwhelmed and in some situations very, very painful and for some, they may feel feelings of numbness, apathy, depression, fear, loss of hope and death may seem as the most logic way to slay the monster.
But what I learnt that day when I encountered with the lion, and any day I have felt like another monster is out to kill me is that there is still a door of escape waiting to be opened.
In those moments when monsters are facing you, please remember:
- Acknowledge that failure is part of the process.Failure is a natural part of growth. When you struggle to make a project work the way you envisioned it, it is a sign that you are stretching yourself. If you were able to achieve every goal you set for yourself with little difficulty, that’s an indicator that you’re playing it safe, and not pushing yourself. Seth Godin, 18-time best-selling author notes, “the person who fails the most wins.” It’s not because failing is glamorous. It’s because each time something doesn’t work, you learn. Each failure will bring you closer to solving the problem you’re tackling. You gain insight into what resources are needed, what approaches work better than others, and in what areas of your plan are most vulnerable. As a result of this learning, you can tweak your plan of action, for better results the next time. James Dyson went through 5,127 failed prototypes of his vacuum cleaner over fifteen years before he got to the one that worked. It was prototype number 5,128 that launched his billion dollar technology company.
- Embrace who you are and all your humanness. Self-doubt plagues us because we desperately want to be somebody we’re not. I often want to be perfectly disciplined, for example, and when I’m not I come down hard on myself. The key, I’ve found, is to remind myself that although not perfect, the person I am is pretty darn great. I just need to embrace the reality that I’m not always as disciplined as I’d like to be. And I also need to remember that I have had many successes in my life. (Just like YOU.)
Let your emotions run their course. Breathe, stretch, curse, scream, cry, laugh, sing, meditate, exercise to release endorphins, read a book, punch your pillow, vent to a loved one, etc. Do whatever it is that you need to do in order to clear your mind. Take a deep breath and let out all emotions related to the setback. Refrain from bottling up your emotions. Trust me, I’ve been there one too many times and it has never resulted in anything good. I promise you’ll come out of this feeling a lot better.
- Let it go.You can choose to let it go and move on. The reality is that life is filled with peaks and valleys and we don’t know when we will experience the good times versus the bad times. Disappointments and setbacks are part of life and it really isn’t personal. It is important to get to acceptance fairly quickly because having negative thoughts about your experience will consume you. For me, it took many years of practice to just let things go. I would replay the negative thoughts over and over in my head often questioning each action I took. It was unhealthy and never solved anything. I learned falling into the negative thought spiral made it more challenging to move on from the situation. Now when I experience set backs, I know I have a choice to either take it personal or accept the experience, learn from it and move on.
- Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary.Your big breakthrough will come when you recognize that all your inadequacies, all your limitations, and all your failings, losses and setbacks, are only temporary. And once they pass in the real world, they’re prolonged existence is simply an artificial reality you cling to with your thoughts.
- Know that nothing is too hard for God.When faced with an enormous obstacle, it’s easy to fall into the error of believing that the obstacle may be bigger than God. Yet we know that’s not true in our hearts; however, our actions of unbelief and doubt reveal otherwise. We must stand firm in the faith that God is who He says He is—the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Nothing is too difficult for our God to help us overcome.
- t’s not true in our hearts; however, our actions of unbelief and doubt reveal otherwise. We must stand firm in the faith that God is who He says He is—the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Nothing is too difficult for our God to help us overcome.
- Find gratitude in the present moment.This always sounds at bit cliché – promoting gratitude as a universal solution – but the reason it’s always mentioned is because it works. Even after a loved one passes, the actual present reality of our lives without this loved one isn’t unbearable unless we compare it to the impossible fantasy of them still being alive. The reality is, we still have our own lives and our health and passions to explore… we still have other wonderful family members and friends who love us… and that’s just the start of things to be grateful for. Now, this reality isn’t always full of happiness – sometimes it has unpleasantness – but you can embrace that too, instead of wishing it matched up with a stressful fantasy.
What helps you persevere and bounce back from life’s setbacks? How do you motivate yourself through difficult situations on a daily basis? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights?