Even our struggles can be appreciated if we are able to use our imaginations to think about long-term opportunities. If we can appreciate a slice of the present moment for what it is and then imagine what it could be, we can find the hidden joy.
Life is tough. We’ve been eating shit pies since we were children, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep eating them, especially if we can learn how to transform them. It just takes a little effort to send the shit pie back and only be willing to eat an apple pie.
When you look back on a difficult time in your life from just a few years ago, I’ll bet you can now understand what you learned from it and how it led you to a better life. This is our wisdom that we can tap into whenever we need it. We need to be able to see the positive side of our past, otherwise we might stop trying and fall into a depression. It’s a skill that we can all improve and better utilize.
We have the ability to look at any situation and find things to appreciate. This ability to rewrite our past is one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal. We can turn an embarrassing presentation, where we completely flub the president’s name, sweat through our shirt trying to recover, into fuel to improve our skills. It’s just finding a way to reframe the past event and figure out how we can use it as inspiration to improve our career.
It starts with gratitude. When we feel grateful it can flip a shit pie into an apple pie. We have this power, but we have to practice. It’s why keeping a gratitude journal is so powerful. We find ways to ground our lives in the joy of the present moment. The first thought might be, “Shit! I’m stuck at this red light and I’m going to be late.” The second thought is the critical one. Negative thoughts will come and go, but it’s how we handle them that matters. When we have a negative thought we don’t need to push it away. That’s ignoring the truth. We might be late, but what other things are possible that we can’t currently see?
The second thought could be, “Hell yeah! I’m late, but I’ll take this time to call ahead to apologize and let them know that I’ll only be 10 minutes late.” or “Hell yeah! I’m late, but this is an opportunity for me to work on my breathing skills to stay calm and/or my planning skills.”
Then we get curious. We think of what we could do to improve upon this situation. We allow the best idea to bounce around and get us excited about how it can help us. If none of them excite us then we keep the status quo. What’s the point if we don’t really want to change. If something does excite us this is where it can get fun. A little idea can make a big impact in our lives.
Because of my previous struggles of being on time to appointments I've made some changes. Before I have to be somewhere to be I now I gather my wallet, keys, phone, and socks (I like to be barefooted as much as possible) in the morning or the night before. It's the small changes in life that can make a big difference to our daily happiness. I also promise myself that if I arrive early and I have to wait in my car or in the lobby that I get to write a quick poem. It's a little extra incentive for me to be creative and get to my appointments on time. I'm more prepared and less stressed. It's made a big difference because I have so many appointments and meetings each week.
That’s how we can build resilience. We dig deeper and find the opportunity in something. We learn from it and actually try to apply it. When we have something difficult whether big or small happen to us we often push away the pain and/or blame others, instead of processing it and using this energy to spur ourselves forward. It isn’t easy, but the more we practice working with our struggles in our career and life, the more we can find the opportunities that can change our lives for the better.