My last blog talked about staying positive and keeping a positive outlook on life. One of the comments asked me to explain how I did this in certain situations. He asked me to help give examples of how you can turn something negative into something positive. Well, you’re in luck…I’m having a rare bad day and I’ve decided to use my blog to help me think through my struggles. So, here we go…
The details of my situation are private to me, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel compared to most days. I feel worthless. I feel crappy. To quote my journal entry from just a few minutes ago:
“I just feel like sh*t. I just want it to be over. It’s a bad situation. It’s one that I created and I need to resolve.”
Ok, so as I continued my journal entry, my goal was to think through all the things flying around in my head and get them out on paper. The first thing I did: write a “Best Case” / “Worst Case”. I listed the absolute best scenario as well as the absolute worst case. No matter what happens, it will be between these two extremes. Now I know my boundaries. From here, I can determine the severity of this situation that has me so concerned.
Here’s a quick digression. I look at all concerns / issues / problems by the repercussions of the decisions / outcomes. Here’s a simple way to solve this equation:
Will I remember this / will it affect my life in:
This helps me understand touch base with reality. Am I just having a bad day, or is this really a big deal? For example, my driver’s license was once suspended. During that time, I rated the severity of the suspension. Although it was suspended for 90 days, I was in the midst of a job where I traveled extensively. How would this affect my work? I came clean with my partners and we derived a solution. Now, its two years later and nobody remembers.
At that time, some were shocked by my lack of concern, but if you look at it on the grand scale…it’s really inconsequential. I think, at the end of the day, that’s the key: perspective. You have to keep it all in perspective. If your boyfriend breaks up with you, that sucks…but, it’s not the end of the world. If your husband of forty years cheats on you and walks out on you and your five kids with a mortgage payment and bills to pay…that’s a bit of a bigger challenge.
However, that brings me to the next segment of my “finding the silver lining” process; remembering what’s important in life. As I write this, I have a song on repeat: Hello World by Lady Antebellum. This song is my “remember what’s important” song.
“All the empty disappears.
I remember why I’m here.
Just surrender and believe.
I fall down on my knees…
Now, by definition, I’m not a religious person. However, I am a very spiritual person. I have Faith and a defined belief structure. I suppose that’s worth another digression…
Faith is a key component to surviving through the trials of life. While most assign Faith to religion, I assign Faith to belief. For a long time, I had Faith in my industry. I believed that if I did right by my fellow racer, that my fellow racers would do right by me. I have Faith that if I pay my taxes and I abide by the laws set forth by this country that this country will protect me as a citizen.
Bottom line, Faith is internal. I don’t want this to turn into a religious conversation, so we’ll stop here. However, having something to believe in is key. It can be anything; kids, hobbies, loved ones. Having Faith simply means that you have something to live for….something that matters.
So…back to the problem at hand. Hello World reminds me of what’s important to me. With respect to this current situation, I’ve already outlined my worst case scenario. If this worst case scenario were to play out, this could have ramifications on my life for easily ten years. Ten Years?!?! Holy Crap!!! That’s a long time. This is a big deal!!!!
Or is it…?
“Hello World. How you been. Good to see you, old friend…”
Right now, I’m already better. Here’s why:
The list of important things in my life goes like this:
4) Inner Peace
5) Meaningful Relationships
Although my current dilemma may affect my life for ten years or more, I sit here today in love with a woman. I’m more in love than I ever thought possible. I have a better relationship with my family than I have ever had. I feel like those around me respect me for who I am and the decisions I make. More importantly, I have self respect. I’ve changed the way I think. I’ve changed the way I react. I’ve changed the way I treat others. At the end of the day, this is what matters.
Sure, my current situation could allow others to judge me…but, does that matter? Nope. What matters? Oh yeah, those five things above. Does this current situation affect any of those five things? Nope.
So, at the end of the day…how big of a deal is this? Ah, it’s not that big of a deal. Sure, it may change my life…but, it won’t change me. I define me. I define my happiness. In ten minutes, the love of my life is going to walk through my front door. At that moment in time, all the world will disappear. I’d give everything I own for that kiss…
It’s alright. I’m gonna be ok.
***Oh, you’re still here?!?!***
Sorry about that!?!?! I guess a blog isn’t any good if it’s not sincere. Ok, so I made myself feel better. But, this isn’t about me…it’s about you. So, maybe your problem isn’t so easy. Maybe you let someone down that you love? Maybe you hurt yourself or someone in a manner that seems unforgivable? Well, I’m sorry, but not all problems are easy to solve…
However, here’s one last bit of advice: Take Responsibility for Your Actions.
If you recall the statement from my journal, “It’s a bad situation. It’s one that I created and I need to resolve.” The first step to solving a problem is defining the problem. To properly define the problem, you have to be honest. Honest with yourself. Honest with others. Honest. 100% Honest.
Once your honest, you can go about making progress towards positivity. It’s just like any personal strife, admission is the first step. Cheating your way to a solution doesn’t help anybody; in fact, it compounds the problem.
My current problem is magnified because I’ve ignored it for years. Now, it’s bigger. I was a coward and afraid to deal with it. Now, I’m ready to deal and I have to face that I created it…and only I can solve it.
I feel like this is very scattered and not very well put together. In a lot of ways, it’s not…it’s me, straight from the heart. However, if you ignore most of my words, just take the root ideas and use them as you can to help find the positive in a situation. You have to be objective about your thinking and think logically about your situation. Once you’re being honest with yourself, use the following steps to finding a silver lining:
1) Define the root problem
2) Admit your role in the root problem
3) Define the “Best Case” / “Worst Case” Scenario
4) Determine the potential long-term affects
5) Determine what’s important in your life
6) Cross-Reference what’s important to your current problem
7) Sit back and evaluate the severity
Now…if it’s still bad, you’ve got to start working on solutions. This is a whole separate topic for a later date. But, hopefully, this takes the emotional pain out of most situations…
I’m sorry I can’t solve your problems. I only hope there’s at least something in this words that will help YOU solve your problems…
Remember, I’m always here for specific advice. If I can help, I will…just ask.