|Productive, successful and happy people constantly set goals and work to make them happen. This gives us focus and ensures that we use our time and energy efficiently and effectively. It also provides us with a sense of purpose and direction. We know where we are going and what we want to do. Quite often, however, due to forces outside our control, things do not go as we had planned. Life and career often calls us to be flexible – even at short notice, to reconsider our plans and priorities, sometimes in the blink of an eye.
The ability to accept what is happening and let go of original expectations is key when dealing with these unexpected turns of fate. We often have the tendency to get stuck in our heads, clinging to an idea of how we think things or relationships should go, and we can have a hard time accepting anything that doesn’t comply with that idea. The fact is that life and business is often unpredictable.Below you’ll find 8 things to do when life – or business – throws you a curveball:
1.Don’t Overgeneralize. Just because something unexpected has temporarily knocked the wind out of you it doesn’t mean that you’ll never achieve the things that you want, or that you’re doomed to fail and struggle for the rest of your days.
2. Find Perspective. You can’t see the future. Would your life have been perfect or even better if you had gotten the contract? Not lost the partner? Maybe; but maybe not. What looks like a huge loss at the present could be a blessing in disguise. You don’t know yet.
3. Practice Acceptance. In his book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” Deepak Chopra explains “The Law of Least Effort”, which is basically the principle of no resistance. One component of this principle is acceptance. You can wish for things to be different in the future, but at this moment in time you have to accept things as they are.
4. Decrease Your Ego’s Involvement. Even if you feel that you’ve been wronged, you need to stop thinking along the following lines:
§ How dare they do this to me?
§ Don’t they know who I am?
§ They’ll be sorry they did this.
This kind of thinking consumes an enormous amount of energy and doesn’t help you in any way. In “The Art of Dreaming” Don Juan tells Carlos Castaneda the following:
“Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance . . . If we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to . . . catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.”
By refusing to identify with your ego and things personally, you will be able to stop linking your sense of self to what happened. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of “The Four Agreements” is also a firm believer in “Don’t Take Anything Personally” – The Second Agreement. This will free up energy that you can then use to create better circumstances for yourself.
5. Meditate. When you’re stressed, fearful, angry, or anxious—which are feelings that often accompany an event that has a negative impact on your life–, your brain’s rhythm increases and brain activity rises. The more stressed you become, the more rapidly your brain waves vibrate. Meditating slows down your brain’s rhythm, which is conducive to a relaxed state of mind which allows you to generate alternatives, see opportunities, and come up with creative solutions. That is, meditating will help put you in a more resourceful state of mind.
6. Shift Your Focus To the Positive. Instead of dwelling on your loss, shift your focus to the good things that are still in your life. If you have your health and a good head on your shoulders you have a lot to be grateful for. Focus on that.
7. Focus on the Future. The curveball you were thrown probably set your goals off track. It makes sense to set new career goals for yourself and start moving toward the new destination that you’ve set for yourself.
8. Focus on What You Can Control. One of the reasons why being thrown a curveball is so incredibly painful is because it makes you feel like you have no control over what happens to you. After all, you did everything right. But the “right” results didn’t materialize, in spite of your efforts and there’s little that you can do about it. Therefore, turn your focus to things you can control and possibly new skills or contacts that will help in reaching your new goals. Whenever you feel helpless or victimized because of something that has happened to you, turn your attention to the things that you can change, or the things that you can do. By doing what you can, with what you have, where you are, you’ll gradually begin to feel like you’re back in control of your life.
Being open with goals and yet unattached to outcome can be difficult to achieve. I have found this to take much practice –and have always been better at it- and anything, while being centered and grounded. Next time a curveball comes my way, I will take a deep breath and open my mind to a new opportunity! My hope dear reader, is that you will as well! I help many to get past curved balls and move on.
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