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10 Simple Hacks To Stay Positive When Your Situation Looks Bad

10 Simple Hacks To Stay Positive When Your Situation Looks Bad

Bad things happen—that’s a fact of life. Luckily, although we might feel otherwise, there is always, always something to be thankful for. When it rains, you can be thankful for the plants that grow. When the night is long and the darkness is engulfing, you can be thankful for joy and light comes in the morning. When you hurt, you can be thankful that sometimes you have to go through the worst to arrive at your best.

It is not what happens to you that matters — it’s your attitude to what happens to you that matters. American psychologist Albert Ellis, famous for developing rational emotive behavior therapy, explains that how people react to events is determined largely by their view of the events, not the events themselves. In other words, life is. The rest is interpretation.

Sometimes, you just need to put things into perspective in order to remain positive.

Here are 10 ways to stay positive, even when your situation keeps getting worse.

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1. Spend more time with those who make you smile

Life is about the moments we spend with one another. It’s about relationships. Avoid people who irritate you and spend more time with those who make you smile. Don’t be embarrassed to confide in a close friend or a family member, or just hang out with the people you trust. Voicing your struggles to loved ones can be the best thing to lighten the burden and start the process of recovery. Sometimes, all we need is a listening ear. Besides, speaking what’s in your heart is therapeutic.

2. Look at how far you’ve come

You might be in a very bad place at the moment, but you’ve made it through a lot to get to where you are now. Acknowledge all you’ve gone through, all you’ve overcome, all you’ve achieved thus far. Don’t let your current state blight your achievements. The fact that you are still here is a testament to your strength. You can make it through this current situation.

3. Read widely about your situation

There’s not really anything that hasn’t happened before, and most of it has been recorded. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, read widely about your situation and how others made it through. You will learn a lot and discover that no mountain is insurmountable. Apart from the obvious benefits of gaining new knowledge and perspectives, studies have shown that reading for as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by up to 68 per cent.

4. Let the upsetting emotions in

This might sound counterproductive, but it can work wonders. Acknowledge that you don’t like the situation you are in right now and allow yourself to feel and process the upsetting emotions.

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Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.” Get out of negativity by going through your feelings. Cry about your situation if you feel like it.  Let everything that’s upsetting out of your system. You will feel lighter afterwards and be in a better position to do something about it.

5. Re-evaluate the situation and the events that led to it

Did you lose your job? Is it anxiety or stress? Maybe you’re dealing with frustration or depression? What caused this situation or these feelings? Label the cause of your frustration in one to three words, but no more — “lost my job,” “poor health,” etc. Reflect on the situation for a while and decide that you are not going to let it bring you down without a fight. It’s easier to deal with problems once you know the exact source of your issues. Resolve to make changes if you don’t like the current state of things, even if it’s just changing your attitude or perspective. There’s always an option.

6. Seek help from people who are in a position to help

Gather yourself and seek help from those who can help. That may be someone who has been in a similar situation, a professional therapist, or someone you trust deeply. Most people want to help in any way they can. Don’t let one mean person deter you from reaching out for help or support. It’s not selfish to seek help, but it’s a terrible thing to be defeated when help is just a call away. Besides, it’s always nice to know that someone has your back. It can calm your mind and bring back positive feelings of love and hope.

7. Relinquish control and perfectionism

Sometimes changing your present circumstance isn’t possible at the time. Rather than wallow in defeat and try to control everything, accept that some things in life are beyond your control. Perfectionism holds people back. Admit you’re only human, and move on with your life. You might not have that new job you want, but you are working on it. You are taking steps and trying your best. That is what matters.

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8. Expect positive outcomes all the time

You’ve probably heard of the Placebo Effect. According to Steve Schwartz, studies examining the neurobiological effects of placebos have shown definitively that our expectations directly impact our interpretation of reality. Medical subjects who are told they will experience pain experience heightened pain. Subjects who are told that they have been given something to reduce pain, experience a greatly reduced level of pain. The only difference was the expectation each subject had going in.

If you expect bad things to happen to you all the time, you are more susceptible to having bad things happen to you all the time. On the other hand, if you have positive expectations it will cause you to interpret things in a positive manner.

As Schwartz rightly observed, “Experiencing the world with negative expectations is like viewing reality through a muddy waterglass. Your view will be distorted and you won’t like what you see.”

So, try and expect positive things in your life.

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9. Forget about people who judge you in your struggles

Some people can be quite judgmental when you are going through a rough time. No one is immune to pain and struggle in this life. Those who laugh at you are being ignorant. They are not better than you, nor do they know what the future holds for them or you. Don’t waste your energy thinking about them. Focus instead on getting through your current situation, not on their sideshows. Great people go through struggles and overcome. That’s what makes them so great. Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates — all have gone through their own struggles in life. There is no success without struggle.

10. Look forward to looking back on this event with pride

A bad streak in life is an opportunity to demonstrate courage and the human capacity to overcome. Not everything is a crisis. As long as you are alive and trying your best to improve, there is always a chance that you will succeed. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. When you give up, you forgo your chance to win. However, rising up and trying one more time — armed with lessons from past setbacks — is the key to success. Keep striving for better things. Know that one day you will look back at this event, proud of the wisdom, strength, and compassion you demonstrated when things were bad.

Remember, bad situations make for great, inspiring comeback stories.

Featured photo credit: techzia via pixabay.com

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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