To be able to take all of the challenges that life has to throw at you in stride is an immensely valuable skill to develop in one’s life. This is the essence of responding to the situations in life as opposed to reacting to them and it is the key to overall life success.
Life will inevitably provide many obstacles, challenges, and difficult circumstances to every single one of us. It us up to us and how we handle these situations that will determine what kind of results that we will get and what path we will send ourselves down.
Obstacles → Opportunities For Growth
There is an essential re-frame that needs to take place if you want to become an unstoppable force within your life and this re-frame consists of changing the associations of an obstacle to the association of an obstacle being an opportunity to grow into a stronger version of yourself.
The word “obstacle” can have many associations that hinder an individuals psyche as opposed to lifting it up so that it can rise to the challenge that is presented. For example, here are some possible connotations that come along with the word:
“A wall that cannot be climbed.”
“An extremely difficult task or achievement.”
Instead, we can shift these types of connotations to ones that are more growth oriented such as:
“A growth opportunity.”
“A time to step up to the plate.”
“A wall that can be climbed, dug under, walked around, etc.”
By changing the type of frame that you have associated with the situations that life presents to you, the experience of life that you will have will be much more positive even though it will still be difficult. You will come out healthier, wealthier, stronger, faster, smarter, sharper, so on and so forth by taking on this mindset of growth and who doesn’t consciously want that?!
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Let’s examine this powerful quote and how it practically relates to your every day life.
Firstly, notice that this is the exact opposite mindset of a victim. A victim thinks that life is 100% what happens to the individual and that the individual has no power over the situation at all.
Instead, this is the mindset of a creator and someone who takes full responsibility for themselves and the circumstances in which they find themselves in. They understand that the things that happen to them in life is only a tiny fraction of the bigger context and that they have the majority of the power and ability to guide their circumstances to something that they would like or find ideal.
Let’s take a look at some examples of how this would play out from both perspectives — the victim and the creator:
Situation: The victim gets a parking ticket for parking in a red zone illegally.
Reaction: The victim blames everyone and everything except themselves for getting this parking ticket and they react in a very negative way which results in suffering.
Situation: The creator gets a parking ticket for parking in a red zone illegally.
Response: The creator blames him or herself from a place of compassion and decides to take it in stride and move on. They separate the emotional aspect from the actual situation and have the ability to control their response as opposed to react negatively.
Situation: The victim gets constructive criticism from one of his or her coworkers about how they can improve workplace productivity.
Reaction: The victim fundamentally takes this as an attack on their personal character and immediately starts a heated argument with his or her coworker.
Situation: The creator gets constructive criticism from one of his or her coworkers about how they can improve workplace productivity.
Response: The creator chooses to take the constructive criticism and view it as an opportunity to improve and grow. He chooses to thank his coworker for his feedback and immediately gets to work on a potential solution to the problem.
These are just a couple of practical examples of how each mindset differs and one can see how big of a difference there is between these two mindsets — the victim vs the creator. Choosing either one of these mindsets will yield you exponential results down the road whether healthy for your life or not.
How Are You Reacting?
I urge you to take an objective look at how you’re reacting to the situations that life offers you whether “positive” or “negative.” By doing this, you will develop the art and skill of awareness and that alone will yield you an immense amount of benefit within your life.
Start with asking a few questions to get an objective look at how you’re reacting:
“How do I typically react to a perceived obstacle?”
“How do I others view my reactions?”
“In what area of my life can I improve my reactions the most?”
These questions do a wonderful job of cutting through any deception that your ego is more than happy to provide.
There are also a lot of other potential questions to ask yourself so start contemplating on your top two or three questions that will get you the best results!