If you have ever applied for a job, you couldn’t avoid spotting positive thinking or positive mindset in the list of requirements. We all accept that having a positive outlook on life helps when it comes to facing everyday challenges even though we might not know precisely how positive thinking works.
I am no Yoda or a Jedi Master for that matter, but when it comes to being in the now, I definitely am more than just a padawan. Being in the now is not easy, I have been practising it and developing my skills in that field for many years and still learn about myself.
What is so special about being in the now? Why the fuss?
If you catch yourself dipping in your perceived past failures or getting lost in the ‘what if this or that happens tomorrow’ labyrinth, you have already lost your connection to the present; you stopped being in the now. It may just be a matter of seconds, and your mind starts drifting toward the sea of what was or what could be. From that point on, you don’t think about solutions anymore; you stop being creative. Instead, you create illusions for yourself and make yourself believe those illusions are real.
Being creative and being able to see clearly what resources you have available is essential for managing your life and making sure you stand victorious in the face of adversities. You will face challenges, we all do.
Being in the now means that you are free from illusions, it means that you see life for what it is and live it when it happens. You don’t miss opportunities and don’t run from the difficulties either. The latter may not sound so good, I know.
So, how can one accomplish being in the now? I have a couple of tips for you.
Yep, you heard me well. Whenever you feel anxious about tomorrow, breathe in and breathe out, slowly.
Be conscious of your thoughts
They can act like funny little elves and cause trouble in your mind in no time. Be aware that you are not your thoughts, be mindful that you have power over your thoughts and you and only you can teach them how to behave.
Spend less time judging
It may sound a bit harsh, and you may think you are not judgmental, I am not saying you are. I mean that we all spend a significant amount of time setting expectations. We want things around us to happen in specific ways. We visualise things happening in particular ways. While I do believe in the power of visualisation, expectations make things harder.
Stop overthinking your performance
Don’t stop adding or creating value and don’t stop being demanding when it comes to the quality of your work. However, stop freaking out about your performance and how others see your performance or how certain things look.
Walk with your eyes open.
Have you ever had a walk in the park and had no idea whether the leaves on the trees were green or amber? I bet you were so deep in your own thoughts that you forgot to enjoy the nature around you. The very nature which could have instantly lift you up.
Being in the now also means that you dedicate time to connect with your surroundings. I love taking long walks in London. I love the buildings, the architecture and the people.
If something is bothering you, accept it.
Not the thing that bothers you. Accept that it exists. Accept that it found its way to your mind and started to dance around in there like your mind was its very own ballroom.
Once you acknowledge the existence of a problem that bothers you, you give yourself a chance to think about solutions and bang; you are in creative mode again.
More importantly, enjoy every single day because you only live once. Well according to some theories.
Are there natural born positive thinkers?
I read an article a couple of years ago about research that found biological evidence which proved there are negative and positive people in the world. It sounded interesting. At least I found it interesting because I have always believed that I have a choice of following a positive or a negative mindset.
A study performed in the Michigan State University, involving 71 women, found that some of the participants of the survey struggled to put a positive spin on difficult situations which they had to observe. The participants of the study had the opportunity to look at various photos and provide their opinion about a potential outcome of a situation they saw in the picture.
As much as I find the results of this research interesting, I still like to think that I have a choice. Even though some people might find it more difficult to view certain situations in a favourable light, adopting a positive attitude is possible.
Of course, I am not saying we should convince ourselves that whatever happens in our lives is positive and beneficial to us, but I still believe that being a glass-half-full person is in fact rewarding.
Let me share with you a couple of reasons why being positive is helpful:
- Expecting a positive outcome and good things to come will lead you to take actions that result in progress and more often than not in positive outcomes unless your positivity is somewhat naivety or irresponsible behaviour.
- Expecting negative results or that bad things will come your way will slow you down, or even worse will keep you from taking steps, and you will deny yourself of the steps that might have helped you prevent or reduce the adverse outcome you feared.
- Expecting positive things to happen is also helpful when it comes to closing the gap between where you are now, even if you are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and where your desired destination is. With the positive mindset, you will take the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something you found challenging before. It is undeniably an excellent way to stretch yourself because it builds self-confidence in a specific field and improves your overall self-esteem.
- I often say that where a pessimist sees a problem, I find an opportunity. Have you seen anyone solving a problem by complaining about it? I haven’t.
Problem-solving is a creative process, and while it is true that it requires us to think about the problem itself, it also includes an analysis of the problem which then leads to solutions; given we are dissatisfied with the current way of doing things.
Some would argue that willingness to solve a particular problem also depends on the level of dissatisfaction and discomfort with the problem we are trying to solve, and I somewhat agree with that opinion. But beyond the willingness, being able to reframe the situation and view it from a different angle is as much important. If you change the way you look at your situation, and the challenges in it, not only your view will change but the problem itself. Your mind will suddenly shed light on a rich array of opportunities to discover inner resources, ways to learn and grow.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter
How does a woman become a high achiever?
According to a study about Harward Business School MBA graduates, a couple of years ago, women and men had similar values in respect of their hopes for achievements in life and career.
Women rated highly factors such as satisfying work that is meaningful, professional achievements and accomplishments as key dimensions of their professional lives. Career growth opportunities and development programmes were of as much importance to them.
While some work in corporate jobs and others find job satisfaction and fulfilment in other professional areas, achievement and the desire for inspiration & growth are similarly form parts of our lives.
Whether we work in business, as artists or in public services there are behavioural patterns that enable us to higher achievement. Such behavioural patterns are:
- seeking clarity about her own self and the world around her
- finding and generating energy in almost any situation
- being courageous and bold, trusting her own abilities
- continuously improving her self and her capabilities
We could continue this list, do some more research and find that there are many different views on this topic. Instead, why don’t we view the following video and think about these amazing women? They are truly inspirational for their hard work, dedication and spirit. How did they do it?
It is as critical to face challenges with dignity as to have the necessary tools for such a task if you are to tackle them effectively and emerge a victor.
No single human being leads a quiet, smooth and happy life that is devoid of stress factors, ills, or complications all through.
Ever experienced challenges and, perhaps, felt lost with no particular pathway towards recovery?
Maybe it was a common problem that wasn’t hard to endure and overcome or, conceivably a dull and grieving moment that needed a lot of time to recover, but eventually, you go back to your best. How did you cope during the challenging times and ensure that you stay happy?
We all have to go through challenges in life if we are to truly mature. In our ordinary lives, the many difficulties we typically face test our psychological mettle and culture endurance through resilience. However, to attain the mental resilience, one may go through many stressful situations to learn to handle and cope with them, without feeling down & intimidated.
And, mental strength comes with an unstoppable mindset that ought to be built with consistency and showered with victories after every obstacle is cleared. Multiple techniques could help defeat the many challenges in life, but it all depends on the mindset and how to overcome them. Some include the following:
A struggle develops character, and that’s why humans feel proud when they overcome extreme hurdles to accomplish a goal that looked extremely strenuous. Without pushing yourself to the limits and beyond, you will never know what you are capable of, and it is hard to know your hidden talents. So, when adverse situations knock, welcome them and don’t feel intimidated by their sheer occurrence.
While our brains focus on threats and dangers, even when they aren’t there, strive to remain positive. When you are upbeat, the hidden threats (whether they are there or not) will not topple your already stable mind. Always look for something good in everything, including challenges.
Richard Branson’s secret to success is working out always. Scientific studies support him and show activities release hormones that enhance the mood and make one happy, even when there are massive challenges. Exercises develop self-confidence, making one energized and ready to combat any problem.
Get it done
You are standing there, facing a big problem and you know it is inevitable. Instead of thinking twice, take action and work on the solution. Think out of the box and, trust me, better results will follow.
Label your emotion
Turns out, the mere act of labelling one’s emotions makes one energetic, focussed, and self-aware of what’s happening, instead of feeling emotionally drained. According to Dr. Matthew Lieberman, such a simple activity reduces activity in the emotional part of the brain. Next time you feel overwhelmed by a problem, label your emotions and choose a new one.
Speak with confidence
Much like you must adopt a positive tone, you must learn to speak with confidence. Studies show that someone fond of using powerful and energized terms & phrases are more likely to overcome challenges, unlike someone who doesn’t speak with confidence.
Ask yourself questions
When you think about yourself as “What’s wrong with me?”, “Why can’t I do this?” or “What’s good about this situation?”, your mind will look at the problems critically and help formulate solutions. The questions will also contribute to turning your experiences into worthy memories when you face similar challenges in the future.
A strong body language, coupled with the right posture, powerfully impacts how the brain works. It breeds confidence of a gallant soldier and embodies the right mindset needed to fight everyday challenges.
Build a team
Success often arrives when a group is formed. So, when feeling hurt and challenged, gather your friends or relatives, and move forward. A team will not only help make the problem smaller and solvable, but also triggers progress in the brain, and you will never have to battle the hurdles alone.
Take a walk
It has been proven, there lies an innate connection between an individual and nature that fosters peace and tranquility. To better understand this, just take a walk off your normal path and head out to a public park. The serenity there will make you feel peaceful and relaxed and help you look beyond the challenges.
Step into some else’s shoes
When facing a seemingly insurmountable and challenging situation, think about what someone else would do to emerge victorious. If someone faced what you are facing right now and won, you would not be intimidated. However, you just have to think about someone who has been where you are and did what you are about to do.
Anchor it in
Remember that one period when you were upbeat and incredibly energized while facing a massive challenge? Well, clench your fist as you recall how you survived through the torrid times and combat those problems. As much as it is a mentally induced activity, your brain will slowly associate a clenched fist with courage. No problem will appear significant before you.
Make the art of solving challenges automatically
The key to defeating challenges in life is having the right mindset. When practiced regularly, positive habits slowly turn into a normal way of life. And, once everything is automatic, you will no longer spare a thought about them. All those challenges will turn into opportunities for further growth.
One additional way of overcoming those hardships in life is to meditate. A 10-minute meditation makes you fully away of the situation and helps calm the nerves & muscles, helping you look beyond the problems. You will stay on track, focus on what’s important, and work on rectifying the unpleasant experiences.
Write a Journal
Every time you are facing a massive problem, find your journal and document everything. It works opening up to someone and often helps you pour out all the fears and emotions and, in the same manner, get over the experiences. All the bad & harmful thoughts will have been removed, leaving room for storage of pleasant memories.
It is as critical to face challenges with dignity as to have the necessary tools for such a task, if you are to tackle them effectively and emerge a victor.
No single human being leads a quiet, smooth and happy life that is devoid of stress factors, ills, or complications throughout. Challenges form part of our human existence. They are ubiquitous and, in a unique way, help shape how we ought to deal with situations, appreciate what we can’t solve and, of course, handle issues and problems.
And, whether you like it or not, challenges will always be there, regardless of your financial situation, your age, gender or status in society. But, if you choose to avoid them and instead run away, you will be doing perhaps the worst thing to yourself. Problems are to be faced, and not to be avoided. So, instead of running away or blaming someone, use the following techniques to combat them effectively.
A 4−step method of overcoming challenges in life
Step #1 Identify the problem and state it clearly
One you decide to face the problem head− on, you must know what the problem is as well as its nature. Sure, you might be looking bold, though calm and raring to go, but you ought to know who your real “enemy” is. If you are at war with a problem that you don’t fully know, then you will not solve it well.
Therefore, stay calm and take your time to know and understand the problem. It is from the proper understanding of the issue that you will formulate the right goals, how you will work toward attaining them and perhaps stay on course once the journey starts.
Step #2 Gather your troops
Well, you have grounded yourself, and your heart is bubbling healthily even though you know that there’s a challenge ahead. Assuming that you have properly studied the problem, it is about time you gathered all your resources and identified your strengths and weaknesses. Experts advise that you make a comprehensive list of all that you will need. Among the things you will need to combat challenges are:
Materials and other tangibles
Using books and magazines, as well as digital resources, you can gather whatever is fit for resolving the issues you face. When you are aware that you don’t have enough resources, try to be patient and buy some time. Go right ahead with what is at your disposal or just adopt an alternative, perhaps more creative technique. It’s all about being intuitive, and some aspects of timing too.
Personal skills and expertise
Some say that hard work beats talent. Work extra hard, hone your skills and polish that expertise, and you will overcome the issue. Be an expert in your field and don’t compromise on quality.
You might be striving to fight the problem on your own, which is impressive. But with a larger group comprising different minds, talents and energies, you will win with ease. Remember, to be successful you not only need others, but also their support. After all, many hands make work easier.
Step #3 Come up with a working strategy
From the proverbial 5Ps − Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, an effective strategy at hand means that you are equipped to combat the challenges en route. Rack your brain, come up with a feasible strategy and execute it as efficiently as you can.
Formulating a fit− for− purpose strategy takes time because it needs assessed information. You will be assessing yourself, much like you are reviewing and knowing more about the nature of the challenge. But as you do so, don’t waste valuable time to grant the challenge to grow and develop, because resolving an issue of a greater complexity will require more resources and effort from you.
Step #4: Implement the strategy
A fit− for− purpose working strategy isn’t necessarily the shiniest one – according to successful entrepreneurs who have had to wait for the successful working formula for the umpteenth time. So, don’t feel let down when the first, second and third plans don’t live up to your expectations. As you work toward reaching those goals and stay clear from the challenges, just remember that consistency is the key.
For some, specific challenges, creativity, skill and intelligence are needed the most. But for others, timing paired with diligence and determination is the most profound of requirements. In short, you must know what the challenge really is and how to utilize your resources to ensure a simple, glitch− free and successful completion.
But, you can’t make use of each of the four techniques if you lack the following virtues:
Calmness and composure
Costly decisions often emerge from emotion− driven choices. In the midst of the challenges, stay calm and watch your thoughts.
Accept the reality
Yes, everything seems to be going awry. Yes, no one appears to care. Yes, you might look hopeless and miserable. BUT, the first way of combating the challenges is accepting that, indeed, you are fighting a dire situation.
Don’t blame anyone
Take full responsibility for the problems so that you can start on the road to recovery in earnest.
Avoid the analysis paralysis
Don’t spend too much time thinking about the problem. Neither should you spend a colossal amount of time checking the strategies. If you do so, frustrations and fears will kick in and, in the end, you will start blaming yourself more.
Focus on detachment
Challenges will always be there but, when you choose to live with them, trust me, you’ll lead a happy life. Try to step out of the circle of problems, distance yourself and look at them from a different angle.
The parting shot
For some, challenges mark the end and lead to a miserable life, stress and depression. But for others, challenges aren’t baggage at all. They’re what spur creativity, offer a window of opportunity and a perfect launchpad for stardom.
It depends on how you perceive the nature of the challenge and what lies beneath it. So, on which side are you?