All of us deal with challenges and failures to some degree on a daily basis. You don’t get the job, your flight gets canceled or a relationship turns sour. While the common reaction to the inevitable roadblocks of life is to get frustrated, curse the world and let a cloud of negativity hang over your head for a while, we like to think that these situations can be turned around and used to one’s advantage.
Is your programming making decisions for you?
When something happens in your life – whether it’s someone being rude to you or rain falling through your open car window, or whatever it might be – you have a choice of how to react in that situation. It might feel like you can’t choose (‘Well of course the inside of my car being all wet makes me angry!’), but that is because you have mental programming from so many past experiences where you reacted a certain way. Instead, if you are able to catch yourself at that moment before the programming kicks in, you will be able to make the decision of treating a challenging event as either a defeat or an opportunity.
You can kickstart this process of choosing your reaction by regarding situations with humor or curiosity, rather than taking them personally. This is also a way of keeping things in perspective. While it may feel devastating that some event happened to you, try staying in a mental frame of gratitude and don’t take things too seriously. When a tough situation occurs, just say, “Well, I’m still alive!”, laugh it off and move on!
Changing up your take on challenges
Another way to transform challenges into opportunities is to take the focus off of the end goal, and focus on changing your daily habits instead. For example, if you want to make 6-figures in your business this year, nail down one daily habit that will get you toward that goal. It could be to contact two new prospects every single day. Become the person who does that basic task every day, so you can say and believe: “I’m the type of person who____.” Just show up and do the habit.
The big wins will come anyway, because most achievements are the result of some kind of consistent action! And they will come faster and with less stress and drama than if you would have been gritting your teeth focusing on the big goal the whole time.
Examine your identity
If you hit a brick wall in an area of your life that is very important to you, it can feel like the world is over. For example, in this interview, Lewis Howes explains how he built an identity around being a professional football player, so when he suffered an injury that ended his athletic career, he plunged into depression.
However, he completely turned his life around and achieved huge success just a few years later by realizing that there are other things that are meaningful in life. Just because he didn’t succeed in one particular framework of expectations, that didn’t make him a failure altogether.
If you realize that you’ve built your identity around something and when you fail at that one thing, it can be very challenging. However, if you allow your identity to grow and see other areas of your life where you offer value and achieve success, you can spin challenges as a positive avenue for growth.
What are your motivations?
Think about your goals or what you’re trying to achieve. Is your motivation coming from a place of anger, resentment or trying to prove someone else wrong? If this is the case, you are already spending tons of energy just on feeling that negative, resistant emotion, and if you then encounter a challenge or a roadblock, you’ll likely feel completely exhausted.
On the other hand, if you act with intention and focus on drawing motivation from a desire to serve others, improve the world and spread love, your energy will be more ‘rechargeable’ and will be much more likely to bounce back when you come up against difficulty.
Are your dreams big enough?
Howes talks about taking time to create and explore big dreams for your life. If the vision you have for your future is big enough and compelling enough, nothing will deter you. Any incidental failure on the way will not come close to the scale of your ultimate dream, and even though you may feel temporarily discouraged, you will quickly come back around to another, better approach to achieve success.
The point is, make sure the ultimate dreams you’re holding in your mind are so true to your soul and so strong that just picturing yourself achieving them will always restore a sense of peace and optimism in you. If you cultivate trust in yourself and have faith that whatever ‘greater power’ you believe in will provide for you, no incidental challenge can incapacitate you for very long.
The human mind is a powerful tool, and if you take the time to consciously operate your mind rather than letting it run on autopilot, more happiness, success and flow will be yours. Which of these methods will you use to shift your attitudes and beliefs around challenges and opportunities?