Almost all of us have had circumstances or situations that were unexpected or which caught us off guard. Those times can be difficult. Someone once wisely noted that it is not so much what happens to you in life that matters; rather, it is in how you deal with what comes your way. I believe that is very true!
There are four things that we can do which will help us to deal with the unexpected challenges of life. Each of these steps is a very important opportunity to take which will get us through our difficult times and bring us to the destination where we will find peace, happiness and fulfillment.
The first step is to focus on the future, rather than the past. It is so easy to fall into the “if only” game. I have heard so many people talk about the poor decisions they have made and “if only” they had seen bad things coming, they would have done things differently.
Instead of worrying about who is to blame or what kind of unwise decision you may have made, why not focus on where you want to be and the steps you need to take in order to get there? It is very important to get a good, clear visual image in your mind of what you want your future to look like. Then, begin moving in that direction and take the next necessary action steps that will help you to accomplish the vision and dream you have in your mind. I do not think the past should be ignored, but after taking a few minutes to look at the situation, it is essential to get firmly focused, like a heat-seeking missile, on your future.
The second thing that we need to do is begin to focus on the solution. I cannot count the number of times that I have talked to people who have problems and all they want to do is rehearse their problem over and over and over again, rather than looking for the solution. I remember hearing Charlie Jones say, “I don’t mind listening to your problem, but I hate for you to hear it again!”
Years ago when I was a school principal, we had a printing press. One day, a metal pin broke in the press and it would not work. When we called the repair company, they told us that it would be a couple of weeks before they could have it fixed. Although I am not mechanically inclined, I looked it over just to see what I thought was the problem. When I saw where the pin had broken, I got the idea of sticking a 16-penny nail down in the hole and see what would happen. Sure enough, when we turned the press back on, it worked just fine.
Eventually, the repairman came to correct the problem and when he saw what I had done, he told me that was one of the most ingenious solutions he had ever seen. All I know is that I was not looking at the problem; I was looking for the solution. And, I found one! Some of the greatest solutions in the world have come about because there was a problem. It is true, necessity is the mother of invention.
So, when there is a problem, think and talk about the solution. Try to find what the next step would be to overcome the obstacles or set-backs that you are facing. Rather than wasting time rehashing, discussing and reflecting on the problem, get clearly focused on the solution. When you focus on the solution, you are focusing on the positive. When you focus on the problem, you are just focusing on the negative. As soon as you begin to think in terms of a solution there is a shift that takes place which turns you into a positive, constructive human being. As Robert Kiyosaki says, “Never say, ‘I can’t afford that item.’ Rather say, ‘How can I afford that item?’” Watch your mind go to work immediately looking for a solution.
The third step is to look for the good in everything that takes place. This is where it really gets difficult. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who was the father of modern positive thinking, once said, “Whenever God wants to give us a gift, He wraps it up in a problem.” Just being aware of that concept has helped me have a better attitude when I face a problem. I wonder if hearing that concept influenced Donald Trump, since Dr. Peale was his pastor in New York.
If someone gave you a gift, but you did not like the wrapping paper, you certainly would not make a big deal about it. You would simply, very quickly get past the wrapping paper and open the present. I would imagine that every one of us has gotten a nice gift that wasn’t wrapped perfectly at sometime in our lives. But, we didn’t complain, because the gift was much more valuable than the wrapping paper. The bigger the gift that you receive, the bigger the problem in which it may be wrapped. But, again, look at the gift rather than how it is delivered or what wrapping paper it came in.
Finally, the fourth step is: seek to find a valuable lesson in whatever happens. If each one of us believes that the challenges that come our way are exactly what we need in order to help us become successful, then we will not become bitter or resentful when we have a challenge on our hands. The situation that we currently face is actually, I believe, trying to teach us something to help us be a better person so that we can learn and grow in some area of life.
All of us have a choice as to how we deal with life and the circumstances that come our way. These four ideas have come as a result of things I have learned in my own life which have given me direction and guidance to help get me through some of my more challenging times. I trust they will be helpful to you as well!
Tip: There are four ways to keep your attitude up!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm