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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

13 Things to Remember When You Hit the Wall in Life

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13 Things to Remember When You Hit the Wall in Life

You think you have it all together, then suddenly one day, you don’t. You think you have the best in front of you, a road you selected with presumably no detours and then suddenly, you hit a wall. It can be discouraging when your best laid plans go awry but that wall is one you can bounce back from.

It can seem impossible to bounce back; it can seem like this dead-end is permanent.

Well, it’s not. It’s time to refocus your ambitions, your love life, your story, whatever ails you and to remake yourself.

You have what it takes inside you. You have everything you need right here, right now, to abandon the path you were on and create a newer, better one.

The light in you is meant to be seen, especially in the dark.

When you hit that wall in life, you need only remember– you have been through things before. You’ve gotten through them. You’ll get through this wall, too. You’ll overcome. You’ll beat the odds. You’ll make it.

When you get there, don’t forget to look back every so often to see how far you’ve come. That’s your Why in the midst of making it through this. You’ve made it before. So you will again.

It isn’t easy. But it can be done. No matter the circumstance, you have once choice in life: how you respond. That has to do with attitude. Greater attitude leads to greater character, meaning you will bounce back better when you take things in stride.

Equip yourself with the following mentalities, and you will be free.

Here are 13 things to remember when you hit the wall in life:

1. All You Need Is Inside You

When you are recovering from hitting your wall, you have to remember that you got yourself this far already. Everything you need to move forward, the drive, the resilience, the will, is already inside you. You have the tools, the ability and the power to get through that wall to the other side.

When you look within, you can realize your self-worth. The outside world may disappoint us or let us down, but when you look to your own self for strength, there is nothing that you can’t do or accomplish or recover from.

2. Your Story Isn’t Over

Hitting a wall can feel like the end of life as you know it, and it may very well be. But just because one chapter of your life is coming to an end doesn’t mean your story is ending.

What feels like a dead end is actually a new beginning. You have to adapt it to your story — the story you are telling yourself in order to get through difficulties ahead; the story of you. You can’t turn back. You can’t pack up and just call it quits. You have to still find a way to move forward. It can be with the simple thought: “This doesn’t end here.”

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And it doesn’t. It won’t. Not if you don’t let it.

Your story will keep going; in fact, it’s meant to. All you have to do is live it. You won’t love every second of it but in the end, you will have told it your way.

3. Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

You can find what you need in the mentality to start over every day. Today is that day, the day you figure out what is most important to you. You find out how strong you really can be. You learn from the lessons of the detour or dead-end and, begin again.

Appreciation of what you still have and can offer will keep you from feeling like a failure. Appreciate how far you’ve come already. See what is still left and what you can do.

You’re still alive. You’re still breathing. Sometimes, that’s all we’ve got, and sometimes, that’s all we need.

4. Just Show Up

You’re not always going to be motivated to move past the wall, and you’re not always going to want to put your best efforts into a day. And that’s okay, as long as you show up.

If you have no energy to solve the problem, just show up, even if you don’t know how it’s going to end. We don’t have to know every outcome in order to start solving problems.

So, just show up. Just be there. Don’t expect any answers or insights. Don’t expect to see what the future holds. One thing is for sure — there will always be obstacles but, so will be opportunities. You just need to show up in order to find them.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

5. Find Your Fire

What ignites your soul? You need to harness that. Find your fire when you hit the wall. Burn right through it.

Steve Jobs once gave a commencement speech at Stanford,[1] where he discussed “connecting the dots.” With each flame or passion for life, you begin to connect the dots. You start to discover what makes you tick, what moves you, especially in times where you feel you have nothing left.

He says that when you follow your heart and intuition, you “somehow already know what you want truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

What sets you on fire? What can’t you live without doing, being or loving?

6. Pave the Way

You might have hit the wall, but somehow, somewhere, someone already paved the way for you to get as far as you have. And maybe, you’re paving the way for someone else.

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Find out who has accomplished what you are trying to do. Or who has opened doors to getting there. Realize you are next in line.

You only need to realize that you are never alone. Great men and women have come before you. You just need to see them, to hear their voices, to find their strengths and utilize it for your own path.

7. Be Humbled

Be humbled by life’s twists and turns. You may think you have it all, then one day, you do not. It keeps us from taking it all for granted.

You may lose what you think you’re supposed to become, but you’ll never lose what you’ve already done. Instead of getting angry, get humbled. See the world a whole new way. You weren’t meant for that path, so instead of turning around, turn it around.

This one isn’t the easiest, because we want to feel capable of everything at all times. We want to soar with the wind beneath our wings. But it is finding out you can fail that you also find you have the power to start again. In failure, we find our truth, what truly defines us. Everything else is icing on the cake.

So, be humbled. Be self disciplined. Be loyal to this life. When you hit the wall, be humbled.

It is not easy, but it is worth it.

8. Start Again

Don’t waste this time wallowing in self pity. It’s time to start again when you hit the wall. You can only do so much while dragging your feet with your head down. You need to look up, stand tall, stand proud — proud of the chance to start again.

You don’t measure your success by how easy the path was. It was how you manoeuvred through things you needed to overcome. If everything came easy to you, you’d miss out on the meaning of it all. And that is a far greater loss.

Your day is here for renewal, for becoming who you need to be. Life will change, that’s its constant, and so will you. If you stayed the same all your life, you would never grow. You need growth in order to change and be changed.

Be open to renewal, for the rest to come naturally and focus on the greatest and most important change of all, the goodness of you finding an opportunity in this obstacle.

You don’t need much other than that. You may think you do, but you are free when you acknowledge life’s simplicities and all their worth.

9 Stay Positive

It makes sense to become negative in the face of negativity. It feels natural to want to become defeated and depressed. But you’re only sabotaging yourself.

“Change your thoughts, change your life.”– Wayne Dyer

Every day, make a gratitude list. Say daily mantras in order to make peace with yourself.

When you look around you, you’ll want to think about the negative. Instead, train your mind to look for the positive. Repeat the positive that you find over and over again until it becomes natural to see it.

Why does this work? Some could say the universe, some could say we change our brains in the habits we form, etc. but ultimately, it’s about recognizing that not everything is what it seems. The brain automatically wants to pinpoint the negative. You can reprogram that by simply believing. Believe in the good. See the good. That’s how it works. It’s always been there. You just have to look.

10. Take Deep Breaths

Just because the walls in life can be opportunities for growth and new direction, that doesn’t mean they aren’t stressful. If you’ve hit a wall, you’re likely facing some hard times. It’s important to make time for self care. Take it easy while you recover. Relax, refocus, and breath. Deep breaths. Focus on the negative leaving with your exhale, and focus on the positive returning on the inhale.

Meditate on what matters. According to Meditation 101,[2] observe thoughts, do not judge them in mindfulness meditations. That way you can focus on your breath.

An example of a meditation you can do is Mimi Page “Reflection”:

There are a ton out there!

Meditation can happen anywhere, anytime. It can be while stuck in traffic. It can be while waiting in line at the grocery store. Its’ not just a practice. It’s a mentality. One that can make all the difference.

11. Change Your Life

It’s time to learn that things aren’t working. So, what do you do? Stand there and stare at them? No, you make them move. You change your life. You change what isn’t working to make what is right come together. You only need to start with the small things and gradually tackle bigger things.

All you need is inside you, remember? And all you need is to find your fire, your passions, to connect the dots.

Don’t be a passive spectator in your life. Get proactive. Go for the win. When you hit the wall, you can learn how to climb over it. Dig your feet in and start to climb. Use whatever ledges you can find. Use what you have to pick yourself up.

That’s being resourceful.

That’s being resilient.

That’s doing what is right.

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12. Help Others Along the Way

There’s nothing more rewarding than to help someone else with something we have struggled with.

What you give, you get back ten fold. It gives you a reason to right the wrongs in your life. It gives you a reason to turn the page to starting living the next chapter.

When you help others, you become less afraid of the obstacle in front of you. You remember that you’re not alone. You’re alive, and that life is worth it. Others will inspire you with their own willpower, their own story. When you reach out and help someone, you make a difference. That means you have not been defeated yet. That means you must not give up.

Helping others is recognizing a universal truth — we all deserve love and light. You deserve to know what it’s like to have recognition, too. When you help others along the way, you realize this:

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” — Etienne de Grellet

13. Bounce Back

According to Dysheada Rheed,[3] resilience is the act of ‘bouncing back’ or resisting to cracking under pressure.

There’s no going back. You’ve come this far, too far, to just give up. It’s time to bounce back.

Furthermore, resilience is driven by two things:

  • a strong why
  • the ability to adapt

When you have a strong why, you are able to bounce back from the present problem. It does not mean you solve everything. In fact, it may mean you overcome simply because you keep going due to this why. For example, Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor, has said that if you have a strong enough why, you can “overcome any how.”

When you are adaptable, you realize you can find gratitude in any situation. This is key to bouncing back when you hit the wall. You discover that you can not only face something, you can learn to work with it rather than against it.

A great analogy is when one is stuck in a current, they should not start fighting against the current. They should go with the flow. This is how to surpass one’s circumstances and ensure survival.

Final Thoughts

You can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do and love whoever and whatever you want to love. It’s time to be restored in all you are meant to be. It’s time to bounce back. It’s time to just be. Just trust. And you’ll find yourself on the other side of that wall, looking back thinking “I did that, that was me.”

You’ll get through it. I know you will.

Good luck.

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More About Getting Through Tough Times

Featured photo credit: Piotr Chrobot via unsplash.com

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Sarah Browne

Sarah is a speaker, writer and activist

5 Simple Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude 10 Self-Exploration Practices to Discover Your True Self 14 Personal Goals for a Better You Next Year 7 Self-Soothing Techniques for Stress and Anxiety Relief 5 Ways to Help You Get Through Depression

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

The Four Quadrants of Change

There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Internal individual – mindset
  2. External individual – behavior
  3. Internal collective – culture/support system
  4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

First Quadrant — Internal Individual

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
I want to swim = I am a swimmer

This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

Second Quadrant — External Individual

This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

Negative Environmental Design

This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

Positive Environmental Design

This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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The Inner Ring

These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

The Outer Ring

The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

The same rules apply to companies.

One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

Leave

You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

Persevere

This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

Neglect

This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

Voice

This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

Putting It All Together

When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

  1. Internal individual — mindset
  2. External individual — behavior
  3. Internal collective — culture/support system
  4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

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