Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success.
– Thomas A. Edison
How can you make a quick, noticeable change in your life? Something that will make you feel better, maybe help you cope with some bad luck, get over a failure or tragedy and give you the strength to move on to the next big thing. Have you felt this urge to change things about you after a failure/ underachievement/ heartbreak? I did, and I have come to believe that change sometimes is the only way to cope with tragedies, disasters or a surge of negative feeling that you suddenly find has crept into your life. Change. Reorganise. Alter a few things around you. Feel better, and jump back into the fight.
Think of a boxer who could not perform well in his first round – he was taken by surprise. He has a brief period after which he is going to face the same opponent – what do you think he will be looking for?
He will look for a change that works in his favour.
Change in his opponent and situation is not under his control, so he must change something about himself.
There are certain things he can not change about him in the short term – like stamina, strength, skill set.
There is something that he can, however, change that can hugely affect his performance– his mindset. He can decide to be more cautious, or he can try some more risky moves. He can decide to inspire himself by getting very angry, which often brings out the maximum potential performance. He can also calm down absolutely and try to pick up technical points one by one and not make any further mistake.
He will certainly go for some kind of change, but what change is going to work for him is something he must take a call on.
Now let’s assume the boxer lost the match. There’s a rematch in one month. He will again want a change is a situation. Again the same rules decribed above will apply, only this time he can change more things about himself, and he will try to change those to his advantage. Change is almost inevitable – he would not find himself in the same situation in the next match. It can get better, or it can get worse. There will be newer variables in play. The only thing that he can do is to change himself for better.
We find ourselves in the same position as that of the boxer many times in our lives. Beaten, caught by surprise, defeated.
What should be our priority then? The answer is clear: CHANGE. You do not just wait around for the situation to get better, or someone to rescue you if you have an opportunity to change. This is the most natural and rational thing to do, still a lot of us resist change instead. Sometimes it is a moral dilemma: I was not at fault, I am not the bad guy, something bad happened to me, maybe by chance. Why should I change? At other times, the confusion is about the ways to change things.
Why should you change
First, when your psyche has recognized a failure or a tragedy, it is painful to remain in that psychological state. The first self-preservation technique that is triggered in our brain is the instinct to change. The catch is that there is no particular dimension this change is necessarily going to follow…your psyche could very well do a nosedive into depression rather than creating any positive change. The job of an alert and educated person is, therefore, to channel this immense psychological momentum into the positive track. To channel it right is to harness your mental strength and launch into a potential bounce back into success.
From accepting to crafting change:
Let’s get into the specifics – what could you possibly do?
- Embrace the need of change – there can be a phase when you have accepted the failure or tragedy but have a moral objection to change. Why should you change? It was bad luck, or bad people, or bad timing, whatever! Does it justify a change in you? Well, you need not be wrong or bad to need a change – we are changing all the time anyway. You just need to strategise the change now – you need to be in control of how you change. And you are going to fast track the process to reach a vantage point suited for your current situation.
If nothing else, a bit of change in your life will enable you to look back objectively and know what went wrong. We feel vulnerable until the true reason of a failure or a tragedy is understood and addressed if addressing it is possible or reasonable. You truly close the chapter when you look back and say, well that was why things sucked, but it is not going to happen again.
- Run lean, drop the baggage, optimize – when we are doing well, there would be high resistance to change. During continuous success, our competitive edges get blunt, our creative risk-taking instincts are suppressed by our need to rebel at the moment and maintain status quo. Remember how you are opposed to taking ‘unnecessary risks’ when things are going right? It’s like superstitious refusal to drop a member from a continuously winning side – even if it is a member who has not performed particularly well.
Once you have lost, once something went wrong, that excuse of a winning combination is gone, and you must begin the witch hunt. Who, why, where? Ask questions. Do you need that extra office space? Is the executive manager of any real use or can you do without him? Is your aggressiveness doing more harm than good? Is there any point spending time writing your blog or building a fan base on twitter? What is not needed, what is underused, what is creating too much stress? Identify, discard, organize the rest like a fighter jet. Streamlined, nothing but the raw power to propel forward.
- Add new skills/abilities: Once you find success, keeping it is a full-time job. You stop adding new weapons to your arsenal, and the armour is not as well maintained as it could be. Well, now you are going to war again, so get ready. Learn new skills, experiment with your existing ones, introspect to find the strength in you. Adding the extra edge is going to give you the confidence to think hard and work hard again. Do not stop until you discover what you have been packing but did not realise the potential of, for there must be something. Get that setup and set out searching for leverage.
- Make the best of your pinnacle of creativity – Not everyone is creative in equal measures. There’s something about a disaster though. It can draw the most and the best of your creativity. Failures and tragedies teach us things that nothing else could. In the ensuing waves of change, often the blocks that frustrate our creativity are swept away. Once you have embraced change and are crafting it rather than just letting it happen, you should be at your creative best. This is the time to get cracking and make the best of it.
#3 Perfect Ways To Let Change Take Place Without Hurting You:
- Travel: Removing yourself from the usual scene is a great idea. Get away from all of it, give your body and mind time to ease into the changing process. Removing yourself from your natural environment can also be a great away to kickstart those faculties and instincts that you kept shut away to focus on the work at hand.
- Play: Another great way to sharpen those instincts and strengthen those emotions that help you in the transition is to pursue any physical sport. Competitive team games or combat sports give you a lot of scopes to be on your feet, feel adrenaline rushes and prove your worth to yourself all over again by invoking your fighting spirit, skills, ability to adapt and respond quickly. You will fight to win, and that gives a whole new direction to your energy and mindset. A lot of people, however, prefer other sorts of sports and physical activity that involve skill, stamina and determination – like running, ice skating, gymming, activities that put you under physical challenge, which is to be overcome with determination and stamina. Running works great for me – particularly a good mix of long-distance running and sprinting. A lot of opportunity for introspection, soaring adrenaline that comes with the sprints, and an ego boost when I achieve a new goal which seemed very nearly impossible to attain.
- Help someone- voluntary work: You think you are distressed? I bet there are millions of people worse off. Bring a positive change in their lives, even in one life. Help someone with your expertise. Mentor someone young and enthusiastic, raring to scale the heights. We are usually more methodical and rational in solving others’ problems. Rationality is a habit. If you can solve another’s problem, there is no reason you can’t deal with yours.