Doing Business | Personal Effectiveness

July 06, 2013

A 4-Step Plan to Deal with Even the Toughest Challenge

Everything in life is perception. How you perceive life depends on the things and people that have influenced you: school, society, friends, family, TV. So, you may think something is bad or good, but in reality it is neither. You were taught to perceive it the way you do.

One person might see money as the root of all evil, while another might see it as something wonderful that can be used to help others and create opportunities. Two different perceptions of the same thing that are only based on what they have been taught to believe.

What does this have to do with dealing with problems, you may wonder? Well, the way you react to problems has also been taught to you. And by changing the way you perceive them, you will be able to deal much more efficiently with any problem that comes on your path.

A New Way of Dealing with Challenges

This “new” way of looking at challenges is actually thousands of years old and was taught by great masters such as Lao Tzu and the Buddha himself. By learning this technique you’ll be able to deal with the most difficult challenges, while at the same time not letting them affect your inner peace.

This technique will also increase your level of happiness and confidence, allowing you to live a good and joyful life, regardless of your circumstances.

The 4 Steps for Dealing with a Difficult Challenge

1. Accept and let go.

Accept your life as it is now. It doesn’t matter how many or what kind of challenges you are facing. See them as opportunities for growth. This way there is no point in feeling bad about them anymore. They are here to help you.

Accept yourself as you are now. You may have flaws, you may have made mistakes that have contributed to the situation you are in now, but that is not important. Let go of your past and forgive yourself. All that counts is what you do in this moment!

Let go of your fears, stress, and frustrations toward this situation and the people involved, even if you think someone else is to blame for your situation. Feeling anger or hatred toward this person will only (negatively) affect yourself.

How do you accept and let go of things? With a simple exercise called meditation. After four years of daily meditation I can vouch for the fact that it is a very effective tool for getting rid of stress, negativity, frustration, and anything else that is not serving you. Learning to meditate is the biggest gift you can give yourself.

2. Observe and decide.

Observe the situation without letting your emotions take over. You are now able to analyze the situation by just looking at the facts. (This is a lot easier than it sounds when you have a regular meditation practice.)

Decide what the best approach is for this situation and create a plan of action.

3. Face your fears and take action.

Tackling your challenges usually includes facing one or more fears. You can try to avoid facing your fears, but at some point they will circle back into your life and you’ll have to face them again. You can ignore fear, but you can’t escape it.

Learn to be courageous and deal with it once and for all. Being courageous doesn’t mean you become fearless. Everybody experiences fear. It’s just that courageous people are the ones who are brave enough to constantly face their fears.

On YouTube there is a Will Smith interview in which he states: “If something frightens me, I have to do it. I will not let it control me!”

Taking action is the most important step in this whole process. It is also the step where most people get stuck. But by creating the right mindset this becomes a lot easier. Because the emotions that usually frighten you and maybe even paralyze you will no longer have any effect on you, or the effect will be greatly reduced.

4. Practice gratitude.

You may label problems as such because dealing with them takes you out of your comfort zone. Dealing with them in the correct manner means you are growing as a person. So, learn to be grateful for the challenges in your life, because they make you stronger.

How I Used This Mindset to Get Out of Debt

About five years ago I was a recovering drug addict with a ton of debt. As an addict I continuously spent more money than I made. I thought quitting drugs would solve this problem, but it didn’t. I actually kept getting into more debt. At one point it finally got so bad that I had to do something about it.

This was around the time I met my mentor, and with his help I learned to let go of the frustration and other negative emotions surrounding this whole situation. He helped me see things from a different perspective.

I realized that I had stopped using drugs, but that I had not dealt with the cause of my drug abuse. Because of that I had replaced my addiction with a bunch of new ones: fast food, alcohol, and other stuff that would make me forget about my worries.

He helped me see that a lot my problems were related to my relationship with myself. I blamed myself for all the misery in my life and I had such little faith in myself that I did not believe I could succeed at anything. After all, I had failed at so many things already.

Seeing myself slide down a downward spiral and not believing that I had the power to turn this around triggered a lot of anxiety inside of me. And that was why I had all these addictions. They helped me escape from the real world and gave me “instant joy.”

So, to get control over my finances (and my life) again, I had to let go of the anger, blame, and frustration toward myself. Daily meditation exercises are what helped me with this. Meditation helped me replace these feelings with love, confidence, and inner peace.

Once I started to love myself again, I was able to be grateful for all these issues I had been faced with. They had contributed to the person I was at that time and I liked that person. I was stronger and more confident than ever, and these things I first perceived as problems helped me get there.

In the next few months, I made a lot of progress and was able to quit drinking and overeating. I learned to manage my budget responsibly; I automated my monthly payments; and from then on, didn’t even give my financial situation a single thought. I just focused on my abundance and my inner peace instead. It took me years to pay of this debt, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying my life!

This is a process that takes some time to learn. I didn’t get it right the first time either. Some things are easier to deal with than others. But if you take the time to get in the right mindset and learn to let go of the negative things in your life, you will be able to live a life of happiness and joy, regardless of your circumstances.


Text by Tiny Buddha

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