Whom do you want to be in crisis? The one that everyone turns to for strength, or the person who makes life miserable for others. It is all about our mental attitude which will reinforce our tenacity regardless of the outcome whether in a particular circumstance or in general. A frame of mind that reflects hope or perseverance is not rooted in naivety but looking into the abyss, trusting that with knowledge, one can face fears and extreme challenges. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 led by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton is an excellent example of rising above suffering and grave dangers. His ship trapped in pack ice, the crew escaped by camping on the sea ice and with lifeboats in extreme environmental conditions of Antarctic ocean reached Elephant Island and then the inhabited island of South Georgia. All of them survived.
“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have and step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of the two will happen to you, either you’ll find something solid to stand on or you’ll be taught how to fly!”
The point is that there is always an opposite to a condition. Problems – solutions, adversity – opportunity and the list goes on. Having a healthier outlook in life means transcending stagnation and despair. Fine, disappointments, intense adversaries or distressing conditions happen, what can we do? We can contemplate for hours, days or even years blaming situations, people or even ourselves for being cut off at the knee, drowning in bitterness and resentment or disassociate with negative feelings and shoulder responsibility to get out of the dark pit.
Like Dory in “Finding Nemo” befittingly remarked “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” Agreed, so how do we embark on shifting our frame of mind and capitalise on our possibilities?
Revisit your goals or set up a new set of goals and purpose – Knowing that your path towards them will not be on a straight line and you might need to reorient yourself at times, but eventually, the winding road will take you to your intended aspirations.
Change your inner monologue, make sure that they support your goals, make a positive argument against a negative thought that slithers into your mind. A good practice is to look into your mind as a detached observer to search for what sets you apart from your true potential. Slice your line of thinking and actions to parts. Which one of these parts is more aligned with your abilities, intellect and motives? The part that regularly criticises, argues, is judgmental or the part that listens, learns and knows that life is full of challenges and is tainted with difficulties still it has the nobility to rise above with an admirable footprint. As humans, we are capable of thriving under stress and problems. Why? Because our core being is built to support our transcendence from the stage of apprehension to what we want to be. Hence, stop using half-hearted vocabulary. Your words matter, conscious use of positive talk will bring out your inner courage to pursue goals.
Recognise that as an intelligent being you can identify your shortcomings and build on your strengths – the idea is to be better than who you are. You can transform and face undesirable insightfully. Just as you go to the gym to attain your physical fitness goals, the same mentality can be applied to support your positive outlook. You start a fitness program with the belief that with discipline, practice and determination the plan of action will realise your resolution.
You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.
Work on having a problem-solving mind – rational thinking is about progress, well-being and awareness that life has setbacks and difficulties however knowledge gained through scientific findings, reason and humanity will enhance our perspective to seek solutions and flourish.
Believe that progress is real. As humans, we have come a long way to improve our quality of life from life expectancy to human rights to increase in leisure time, and the list goes on. Zoom in; personal growth is tangible. This belief is not fiction is a fact.
Keep in mind that stationary conditions to seek security while you have a spirit of a fighter will only lead to boredom and boredom in turn to spite and malice. To fight against the negative emotions as such, to go forward in life and fulfil the ethical duty to create a meaningful life and reach the best version of ourselves is the recommended motivation.