“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” — Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Have you ever been faced with a challenge that seems like a brick wall that is too ridiculously high to climb over? In these moments we can often feel angry, scared, frustrated, alone and think to ourselves: “Why me?” “Why now?” “I can’t do that!” “There’s no way I can get past this!”
I totally get it. We all get it, because we’ve all been there. The thing is that there are plenty of people making it over to the other side, some of whose walls are even higher than yours. It might take them a while, they might have to get creative on how they do it, but they still make it over eventually and if they can, so can you.Advertising
Instead of filling your mind with thoughts that keep your feet glued to the ground, try telling yourself these 10 sentences and start climbing that wall one little step at a time. The grass is greener on the other side.
1. “I am stronger and more capable than I think I am.”
You have deep wells of strength that you don’t even know exist. Sometimes our brains try to hide these from us in an attempt to keep us safe and within our comfort zone, but you don’t have to believe everything you think. I promise you that you are physically, mentally and emotionally stronger than you think you are.
2. “I have faced and conquered many challenges in my life and I can do it again.”
Take a moment to think about a time in your life that was really hard. A huge challenge that you didn’t think you could get through but you did. You fought, you pushed through the fear and in the end you achieved the seemingly unachievable. You did it then and you can absolutely do it now.Advertising
3. “I know there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this, even if I don’t understand what it is right now.”
We are not meant to live in our comfort zone. If we did we would never do anything, we would never experience full lives or grow or evolve. Life gives us challenges to test us and push us further than we ever thought possible. Often we look back on past experiences and see why they happened or what we learned from them. There is something to learn from this one too, even if we don’t know what it is right now.
4. “I can find happiness in any situation.”
Your life will never be perfect. There is no moment in the future where everything will line up and you will be blissfully happy. “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank).” That moment doesn’t exist. Happy people choose to be happy now by finding something to be grateful for in any situation. It can be as simple as your morning coffee that tastes so delicious. Think through and focus on the positives more than you do the negatives.
5. “I have made mistakes before but I am not my mistakes. I believe in my ability to change and be better.”
We all make mistakes, it’s a part of life. It’s also the way we learn and grow. You have no control over the things that have happened in the past, but you do have control over the decisions you make in the future. Choose to believe in your ability to make better decisions. Sure you might make a few more mistakes along the way, and who cares? Learn from them, grow from them and move on.Advertising
6. “I am calm and collected as I make my way through this.”
We think more clearly and have better judgment when our minds are calm. Take a few minutes to yourself. Breathe in and out slowly. Let any thoughts that come in float away (I actually picture mine as little butterflies floating into the sky) and say to yourself, “I am calm and collected as I make my way through this.”
7. “I trust myself in making great decisions.”
Sometimes challenges can leave us feeling torn and completely confused. Trust that deep down you know what the best answer or approach is. Whatever you choose and whatever happens will eventually work out and be OK. So take the pressure off yourself and trust in your intuition.
8. “I have the ability to solve problems creatively.”
You have the ability to think outside the box and get creative when it comes to solving your own problems. Trust in yourself and this creative power. If you’re doing something that’s not working, try a different approach. The worst thing that could happen is that it stays the same as it is now.Advertising
9. “I am not expected to do this alone. I can ask for help if I want it.”
Whatever the challenge is, you are not expected to do it alone. Reach out to people who love and support you or seek the assistance of healers, counselors, whomever and whatever you think will help you get through this. It’s amazing how simple our problems can seem when we start working through them with others.
10. “I choose to see this challenge as an opportunity.”
It can be hard to be positive in times of struggle, but a huge challenge is only one because we let it be. Force yourself to look for the opportunities you are being given because of this challenge. It could be that it has brought you closer to your family and friends, or that you have learned a valuable lesson. See your challenges as opportunities to grow and be better.
You can do this. You are strong enough.
“Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up but kept going no matter what.” — Spryte Loriano
Featured photo credit: Life is hard/D. Garding via flickr.com
Last Updated on August 6, 2020
6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak
We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill
Are we speaking the same language?
My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.
When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.
Am I being lazy?
When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”
Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:
Early in the relationship:
“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”
When the relationship is established:
“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”
It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.
Have I actually got anything to say?
When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.
When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.
Am I painting an accurate picture?
One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?
How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.
Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.
What words am I using?
It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.
Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.
Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.
Is the map really the territory?
Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.
A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.
I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…