Without a doubt, each of us has had our ups and downs on this journey of life. Sometimes things are going so well, it is hard to believe how good they really are. On the other hand, there are times, when life can really get you down. Sometimes the roller coaster can be kind of fun and it is what makes much of life, pretty exciting. Behind any corner, lies the possibility of overwhelming success.
Many times we hear from a client that they wish they could avoid the downside. Often times it will make us smile, at the request, because unfortunately those downs are inevitable. What is not inevitable, is the duration in which they last.
You will know of a few people who let the downside fully consume them, to the point that they are barely able to function. At the same time, you will know of people who are the opposite. Even big challenges never seem to stop them and it is like they can simply just brush them away.
What is the difference? Is it that one person has bigger problems to deal with than someone else? Is it that some people are emotionally more resilient? Is it that some people have better support systems around them to lean on?
In fact, it is a matter of perspective. Think about it this way. You might have a friend or a colleague who tells you about something terrible that has happened to them. Maybe they can’t solve some problem at work. As they are telling you their tale of challenge, there will be times when you have thought to yourself something like, “if that is all you have to worry about, I wish I had your problems”. For that person, the problem or challenge they are describing is big but from your perspective, it isn’t. The important thing is you are thinking about the same thing from your perspective or your vantage point.
The same thing happens to us individually. When you have a problem, you are generally so focused on the problem itself that you are no longer able to gain the perspective you need to get out of it. Without perspective it is difficult to solve a problem or to see a solution. While you might try and talk to the people around you to gain a different perspective, in a lot of cases, you won’t even be able to really hear what they are saying, because you will be so focused on your problem.
So how do you teach yourself to gain perspective? One of the ways that works well is to go to the extreme. What I mean by that is, take a problem and build the story so that it is so outlandish that it makes you laugh. For example, if you are challenged to get someplace on time. Tell yourself that if you don’t get there the entire meeting will not be able to start, which means that the whole organization will crumble and when this happens, everyone will get fired and because you feel responsible, they will all have to come and live with you in your home.
It might sound crazy, but when you take things to the extreme, you will see it from a different perspective and in doing so, allow yourself to see that the downs are never as bad as you think there are in this moment. Give it a try and you might be surprised.