Monday, August 23, 2010
Life can be very unpredictable. Sometimes everything is set up to be a certain way and then a curveball comes and wrecks your plans and your nerves. The age old saying is when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, but in that process of turning something bad into something good, how can you keep your attitude high and your stress low? And more importantly when you're not even getting lemons how can you STILL get that lemonade made and made well?
Stress is the number one cause of many of today's physical, mental, and emotional negative manifestations so when life hits, it is always imperative to have a guide to give you an advantage against the tides.
1) Stick to Your Ultimate Objective
Now to stick to your ultimate objective means you must create one. What overall do you want most for your life? What are the big steps to get there? Once you know what this objective is, write it down and make it plain. Keep it near you so that when things aren't going well, and there will be those times, you can pull it out and remember what all of the effort is for. Working towards NOTHING is not only pointless, it is a psychological downer. If you're reaching for the stars, it always helps to see them. Its ok to go really big with your main objective. Don't limit yourself here with realistic expectations because frankly thats the difference between the people that make history and the people that read history. Your ultimate objective requires you to have flexibility, self confidence, and determination so having one increases all of those. Being realistic comes in with the everyday ventures to get to that ultimate objective. If being a multi millionaire is your ultimate objective, finding a job with upward mobility may be a smaller objective. Once again, these aren't the same. The ultimate objective gives you hope, the smaller objectives give you a mission.
2) Have a Back Up Plan
No matter what your ultimate goal is, there are many different ways to achieve that things. Always remember that. Do not change your ultimate goal, change your route TO the ultimate goal. So when one way seems to be blocked at an intersection, it helps to know backup routes and detours. Delays are not denials. So with that being said, don't be afraid to take a different route than you expected to take, if the route you are on isn't moving. For example, if you're trying to get into a college program and you're denied, don't give up your ultimate goal, just take some classes, ask around, do your research, and see if another opportunity doesn't present itself that gets you into the vicinity of what you want. Back up plans are not always second prize medals. Sometimes they alert you to things you didn't even know were available and options that are more suited for you than original plan.
Even if your main road is going smoothly, a back up plan can give you a tremendous amount of reassurance. Its always wise to keep a spare tire even if your tires are sturdy. Planning for the "what if"s, the "uh oh"s and the "unknowns" is just wisdom.
3) Keep It In Perspective (Don't Sweat The Small Stuff)
Now I'm from Alabama and we have alot of men and women in their 100's still alive and kicking. When I was younger I would always ask them what secret they had that kept them on the Earth longer than so many others. They all have some form of the same answer:"I keep it all in perspective. I don't stress the small stuff." Most people could cut out 80% of their worrying and stressing if they just found a way to remind themselves all that they do have. Most of us are fortunate enough to have someone that loves us, a roof over our heads, and the capabilities and freedoms to reach our goals. Things that alot of our ancestors did not possess. So remember, there is very little on this Earth that is actually Life threatening. If something causes you all stress and no relaxation, let it go!
4) Don't Run and Hide
Life can seem so menacing at times. We've all had those "I don't think I could take anything else going crazy" moments but always remember that you still have to play the game. Life has no redos nor timeouts. Any minute you are not on the field, you are losing out. Win or lose, stay on the field. Hiding under a blanket does not make your problems go away. On the contrary it usually exacerbates them. Lets go back to the college example. If you don't get into college the first time, the long you wait the more bills you accumulate working, the more self conscious you become about your age, the more life altering experiences (babies marriages family issues..etc) life can throw at you. Time wasted makes achieving goals harder. So make everyday count even if just in small ways. Find something to do each week that gets you a little closer to your ultimate goal. Regardless of what people tell you: success is directly associated with hustle. And hustle is basically staying busy and staying creative towards a certain objective.
5) Let It Out
I always stress this but keeping an outlet is always one of the most positive things you can do for yourself. I always advise two: a person and an activity. The person should be a POSITIVE person that is GUARANTEED to be on your side. I can't tell you how important those two are. Talking to a negative person or a hater both can be not only stagnant but detrimental so please make your confidant someone who has your best interests at heart...and if you think about it long enough you know exactly who those people are. The second is an activity. No matter how stupid or juvenile whatever it is that makes you happy. Put aside a little time per week to do that. Though its nerdy, I looove computer games especially time management games. While I'm playing Diner Dash or Wedding Dash, I relax let everything go and afterwards I'm ready for the grind once more. I also advise that you find something that amuses you that is a) cost effective and b) energy efficient. Honestly, the cheaper and the less energy absorbing the better. Though working out and shopping are awesome, I wouldn't recommend them for this particular thing.
6) Always Keep Moving
Don't talk about it. Be about it. People that really want to achieve something are active. I can't lose 10 pounds watching a lady work out on tv. Goals don't work that way either. If you are sitting, you can be guaranteed you are not any closer to what you want to accomplish. As Ive mentioned before staying busy also is a coping mechanism when things aren't going right. You may not always know what to do but let me give you this tidbit....If its positive forward moving, it can't hurt you. If I want to go to medical school, but I haven't gotten in, taking an internship opportunity isn't going to hurt and it may open some more doors.
Life my dears NEVER goes as planned. Sometimes it doesn't even go KINDA as planned. If you think it does, you're either 10 or you haven't gotten to your trials yet. But it is these trials that define who we are and what we can do. They motivate us to be flexible. They drive us to be focused. They make us strive to overcome. And in all of this we either learn and grow or crack and wither. If you want something, there is nothing saying you can't get there and there is nothing more dangerous than a young, adaptable, focused, person with well drawn out dreams.
Hope This Helps,