Sunday, May 1, 2011

Learning your lesson (and other people’s too)

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, to only see what’s right in front of us at that particular time and place and focus solely on the immediate problems we are facing. Sometimes our emotions get the best of us as we react to other people, finding ourselves absorbed in conflict and argumentative behavior and then replaying or recreating situations in our head till we go crazy. Don’t worry, this happens to the best of us and it’s definitely hard to keep your head above water during these times.

But I think there are two powerful questions that you can ask yourself to help break out of this negative thought process and put yourself in a place of emotional authority and growth:

1. What am I learning from this situation/interaction? Hit the pause button for a minute and get out of that particular moment so you can step back, rise above the situation and look at the big picture of things. The world and everyone in it are constantly teaching us lessons and sometimes we just need to open our eyes and ears and learn them! This will immediately change the way you feel, shifting your focus from the negativity of the problem to the positive opportunity for growth you’re embracing. Rather than giving your time and energy into something unconstructive you’re now becoming stronger and believe me, that feels a whole lot better!

2. What did I do to get myself in this situation? Whether you want to admit or not, your choice of actions and words have lead you to where you are. The sooner you take personal responsibility for that the better off you’ll be. By looking at your own behavior, rather than pointing the finger at other people and directing blame, you can retrace your steps to realize where things went wrong and then take a different approach next time around.

Also, make sure to learn other people’s lessons too, not just your own! People around us are always doing great things and not so great things. It’s easy to recognize what behaviors and attitudes lead to success and what do the opposite so model your life accordingly. A friend of mine was recently telling me about a guy at her work who was failing to accomplish his tasks and talking back to his supervisor, therefore developing a bad reputation around the office after not even working there for that long. I know it’s pretty obvious but. . . don’t be that guy! His strategy apparently isn’t working so learn the lessons from his mistakes: get your work done, don’t talk to back and you’ll soon develop a good reputation with your coworkers. Amazing!

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