Change is a part of life. Sometimes change is easy and sometimes it is very hard. Our character and the strength of our personality are measured in how we deal with success and failure as we face the challenges of change.
I view change as necessary. Without change there is no growth. Without growth there becomes stagnation. With stagnation comes death. So to avoid (or at least put off) death, change is needed to help us grow.
I view growth as some change that is physical, emotional or mental. Growth is not always easy, sometimes painful but generally worth it. Some growth can be harmful, such as growing negative thoughts or emotions towards something or someone. We’ll call that an example of a challenge.
I believe challenges are those things that get in the way of daily life that force us outside of our comfort zone so we can grow, not insurmountable obstacles to stop us from attaining our goals.
With the new year approaching quickly, I wanted to put together a few thoughts on how I face challenges with a positive mindset and succeeding in overcoming them (even when it takes a few attempts).
Tip #1 When facing a challenge, stay positive.
Ok, that one is sometimes easier said than done. But that is part of what makes it so important. A positive mindset helps to keep stress levels lower, reduce wear and tear on the body and keep the emotions a smoother. A positive mindset will also attract the help needed to support us as we face these challenges. I for one am far more willing to help out if the other person isn’t trying to rip my head off (figuratively or literally).
Tip #2 Fall down 1,000 times, get up 1,001.
I loathed this quip when I was growing up. I find that as I’ve aged this one growing on me. It’s all about perseverance and not giving up. But let’s be clear, not giving up and trying the same strategy that fails over and over are two separate things. Fall down, learn from it, get up and try something a little (or radically) different is moving in a positive direction. Fall down, learn nothing, lather, rinse and repeat is a set up for failure and frustration.
Tip #3 Break down the challenge.
This is the engineer in me. When faced with a challenge I like to break it down to the component parts. I do this for a few reasons.
- It makes the challenge smaller and more manageable.
- It opens the door to seeing and creating smaller goals to achieve the overall goal; little atta-boys along the way to encourage me.
- In breaking down the challenge, I often figure out the easiest way to solve it.
- Breaking down challenges allows me to pivot the challenge into different viewpoints. This one is important because challenges are often framed in one point of view. That is why they challenge us. Shifting it around into a different point of view is a way of translating the underlying issues into my own language to better understand them.
Tip #4 Ask for help.
Sometimes challenges aren’t meant to be solved alone. Or they are much more difficult when taken on alone. One of the underlying principles of meditation is that we are all connected. We have a community around us, a support structure in our friends, family, neighbors and sometimes total strangers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength to show vulnerability. After all, if someone asked for help, wouldn’t you say yes? Why wouldn’t they if you asked?
As you move into the new year and the joys and challenges that await, I hope you find these tips helpful. And if you have any you would like to share, please leave them in a comment. If something has worked for you, there is a good chance it will work for someone else as well.