In my last post, I spoke about unwanted surprises in life and how the human mind usually deals with them. In this part, I will share some guidelines that will help retain focus in tough situations. As I said before, I am no authority on this subject, but I will share what I learned (the hard way) & feel.
1. Stay in control
You will often find yourself in a state of shock when you experience something that you never thought of. The sooner you release yourself from this lock, will you find yourself with the capacity to deal with the situation. Motivate yourself to live life and tackle this situation.
- Do not loose control of your mind, else you will find yourself being too dependent on others.
- Do not make a compromise or you will find yourself slipping into a dream world, that you will never want to leave in the fear of reality.
- Do not leave things to time or just dream that someday this will fall in place, or you will repent later for not having tried enough.
2. Don’t mix the past and the current situation & think fresh!
Introspection is the key to dealing with situations. It is always worthwhile going back in time to see what happened, and try to determine factors that must have given rise to the current situation. But it is not at all necessary that those factors alone triggered the situation. Hence, it is as important to deal with these two information elements (learning from introspection & info about the current situation) separately, as important it is to understand them.
Don’t let the model in your mind cheat you; every situation is different. Don’t get bogged down by statistics, or results thrown by your mind (based on the learned model) or keep questioning the occurrence of the situation in your life (e.g. why did this happen? why me?). These will only waste valuable time. Instead think fresh – set yourself in the context of the situation, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at the problem. Focus all your energy on dealing with the situation and trying to make it better, rather than dreaming about outcomes. If you overdo the dreaming, you will realize that you are challenging God’s ingenuity to work out a solution; at the end, you will always see a result beyond your imagination.
3. Take a stand & don’t lost faith in people or yourself!
You can hardly ever predict the outcome of a situation, but you can always take a stand when dealing with it. Extrapolate past experience with those involved to arrive at an image of theirs. If you really trust them, then continue to have faith in them. You will be struck by several moments of emotional overflow that may hamper your confidence or self-belief; have faith in yourself. If you are the one who is guilty, do not hit extremes: either reject all allegations or find yourself at fault for everything. Try to reason your behaviour. It is always the situation that makes the person what he/she is.
Take time to set your expectations and take a stand:
- If there are too many of them, order them.
- If they include some that are compromising in nature, prioritize them.
- If they are conflicting in nature, group them so as to be able to prioritize & cut-down.
And once you’re done, stick to your stand. Don’t change your stand and opinion too soon or every time you receive an input; you will find yourself only running from pillar to pole. Use your stand to motivate yourself.
4. Dealing with people
Talk to a lot of people to be able to leverage their intellect & experience. On the way, people will tell you all sorts of things, biased by their experiences & ideologies. Know clearly what to take from whom. Rate your information sources, understand their stake (read bias) in the situation and accordingly absorb information. More often than less, you will realize that everyone has their selfish interest in solving the problem. But as long as it is part or a milestone in the outcome you expect, don’t be worried. It is this selfish interest that will bring along their commitment to stay involved and solve the problem.
5. Agility helps
You will always develop multiple plans in your head to deal with the problem. As in pt 3 above, you should stick to your stand, but not to the plan. Do not marry yourself to one, no matter how much effort you put in, or how fool-proof you think it is. Uncertainty does not only occur during creation of the situation, but keeps showing up all through its life-cycle. Keep assessing your plans and be open to changing course as required by the moment (but not too often), while remaining aligned to your final goal.
6. Don’t compromise virtues
One should identify virtues that strengthen their own personality. These could include integrity, honesty, humanity, etc. Whether you are the central object, a stakeholder or a fence-watcher in a situation, never compromise your virtues. Honesty is the essence of leadership. And you are the undoubted leader in your battle with the situation and somewhat, the battle with yourself. Never cheat conscience or make dishonest suggestions to yourself or others. If something makes you feel guilty, probably you are – listen to your inner voice.
7. Ending it on a good note
Situations will involve some or the other people (unless you’re having a 1-on-1 with God) and the outcome may not always be what you expected. But when it comes to taking a final call & resolving the crisis, end it on a good note. What that means is do not carry unnecessary baggage such as misunderstandings, hatred, jealousy, anger, etc. for anybody or anything – it will only trouble you. Take time out for one last straight talk to resolve any misunderstandings. Maintain talking terms with the persons involved; you never know when you need them. And if possible, do your best to retain the trust, respect & love for those people.
Really pray that I make sense. Hope it helps you & me!