Alfred's New Ramblings

Coping with Challenges

I post below a scanned and converted article that appeared in CATS Recruit, Straits Times.  The 2 part article, Coping with Challenges was written by Terry Paulson.  I found it very moving that I decide to share with you.

THESE are changing and challenging times. Life is difficult and set – backs are common in the great game of business and in life

Every person has a choice about the attitude he brings to his day and the action he takes.

Those who want to prosper must develop flexible optimism, resource – fullness and persistence in the face of adversity and constant change.

Unfortunately, far too many ate tailing victim to the depression of our age: learned helplessness.

They think: “Nothing I can do is going to make any difference in what happens to me so why try?”.

By controlling your attitudes and habits, you too can alter your life and influence people you live and work with.

Here are 15 practical tips to claim your own optimism advantage in bouncing back from any setback or disaster:

1. Appreciate the healing power of time

One of Abraham Lincoln’s favourite quotes was: “This too shall pass’

Because we tend to think that our reactions to bad events will never fade, we also tend to feel especially good when we recover from trauma with unexpected speed.

Don’t underestimate your own powers of recuperation from emotional trauma.

You may not forget a bad experience but you can look back with a calmer perspective only time can provide.

2. Check fears against the facts

Optimism can be learnt. Recognize that people often have catastrophic thoughts — feelings that everything is wrong and that nothing is going to change.

Think of these thoughts as if they are being said by some external enemy whose mission in life is to make you miserable. Then dispute those thoughts.

Try using cold, impersonal facts to maintain a reality-based perspective. For example, if you struggle with the fear of flying, you note that the National Safety Council reports that you are 37 times more likely to die, mile for mile, in a vehicle crash than on a commercial airline.

3. Seize the day as a survivor

As long as you are alive, you always have options.

Survivors make the best of the options they have while victims whine about how few they have.

There is never nothing you can do; the only question is whether a given action will work and if committed action is worth the investment of the time required to achieve the desired results. Survivors keep making choices one day at a time.

4. Control what you can — position, perform and persist

Security is not a fact; it is a feeling that you can control what you do.

You don’t control all events that happen, but you do control your response to events.

You don’t control the cards you are dealt in life, but you can learn how to play even a poor hand well.

Appreciate the words of Reinhold Niebuhr: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”

Get busy changing what you can – starting with your own attitude.

5. Move from analysis paralysis into action

Cultivate a continual sense of ad venture that searches for and takes advantage of every opportunity.

Failure to act doesn’t prevent failure; it just turns life into slow death.

As legendary baseball player Yogi Berra would say “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!

6. Master the strategic skills you need to prepare for the future

The age of lifelong employment is over. You become an old dog when you stop doing new and improved

Invest 5 per cent of your time in education to stay a recyclable asset. If you hate your job, raise that to 10 per cent.

Search for what you enjoy and have the gifts to do. Bouncing back with optimism is easier when you have a job that gives you passion, fulfillment and energy.

7. Catch yourself being effective

You axe probably tougher on your self than on any other person. Instead of taking yourself for granted, love yourself the way you love others you care about.

Ask yourself daily, “What did I do today that made a difference?”

Use your calendar to write down one success everyday.

8 See mistakes as valued lessons

Use self-criticism as course correction feedback on the road. to success. Identify what was done wrong, but put your focus on the future: What are you going to do to rectify the problem? How will you handle it next time?

IN PART 1 of this article yesterday, we looked at the first eight of 15 tips on how to become more optimistic, a key to overcoming difficulties and the challenges life throws at us.

Today’s article continues with the next seven tips on the art of becoming more positive:

9. Reframe difficulties into strategic opportunities

Optimists persevere even in the presence of obstacles and negative outcomes. They perceive failures as temporary setbacks, rather than final verdicts.

What you think when things go wrong determines whether you give up or you get busy overcoming the problem.

Victors say to themselves: “I’m going to figure out how to become successful one way or another!’

Victims say: “I’ll never be able to succeed’

10. Build an expectation of success through hard work

Invest your worry time in constructive action. Hunt for the silver lining. A crisis can be a time to reinvent a business, cut costs that are not adding value and reinforce and strengthen customer ties.

11. Relationships are critical in times of crisis

Learn to accept support from others; you don’t have to go it alone.

The tragedy of life is that the people you most want to spend time with have to schedule time to even see you. The people you least want to be with will find you wherever you are.

Spend time with other optimistic and resourceful friends.

Mark Twain said it well: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you fee you, too, can become great?’

The company you keep can take you up or bring you down. Pick your friends and associates wisely.

12.  Balance working and living

Make time for your family. Research shows that time spent with supportive families, friends and faith communities can help people find strength and comfort.

People look at their priorities differently after a personal crisis.

Make dates and buy a few tickets. When you have paid for theatre tickets or a sporting event, you will find a way to get everything done so that you can go no matter what work demands appear.

Be willing to give them up only when unexpected job or life demands require it

13. Take your health habits seriously in difficult times

They will help you keep a positive attitude. Eat right, exercise get plenty of sleep and include daily stress breaks in your day.

Maintaining your health habits can do wonders to help you sustain your optimism and manage your increased stress levels.

14. Find the power of purpose and serving others.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “The one who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”

There is passion in being fully engaged in a meaningful mission arid in doing your share of random acts of kindness.

You make a difference for your self when you make a difference

Faith, values and integrity are always in fashion. People of faith tend not to live in fear, but find peace in faith.

Core values help to direct your choices. They are both your anchor in the rough sea and the lighthouse that helps illuminate a positive and principled course in uncertain times. Honor is a gift you give yourself.

15. Use your sense of humor to regain perspective

Don’t go through your life with your face in stationary mode.

Humor provides perspective that breaks the stress cycle and invites a more positive if you know that some day you will laugh at a problem, don’t wait laugh as quick1y as you can!

Take your job and life seriously, but yourself lightly.

Never forget that some days you’re the bug, and some days you’re the windshield. That’s a perspective worth remembering in these challenging times:

Finally, experience the power of gratitude. Unrealistic expectations are a sure road to disappointment. Optimists hope for more, but are not thrown by less.

Start counting your blessings in stead of your problems.

Choose to be happy unless some-. thing happens to change that feeling, instead of being unhappy until something makes you happy.

End the day by identifying five things for which you are grateful. You will feel better immediately.

CATS Recruit Terry Paulson

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