One of the most stressful situations you can be in is when there are decisions being made that affect you, of which you have no control over. When things don’t go the way we want them to, it feels unfair and we tend to point fingers and blame other people for how we are feeling about the situation. However, it’s important to remember that when you’re pointing a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.
“Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.” Charles R. Swindoll
I did a workshop with a team I’m working with where the theme of the workshop was “choices”. (It’s funny how sometimes I’ll do a workshop with a team and it just so happens that the topic I am presenting on is something that I need to hear myself!)
I had three boxes, one labeled “good”, one labeled “bad”, and one labeled” ugly”. Together we brainstormed challenging and stressful situations in which they might find themselves feeling frustrated or upset. On 3 x 5 cards they had to write down what an example of a “good” response, a “bad” response, and an “ugly” response.
For example, situations like:
- You don’t get a starting position
- You don’t get as much playing time as you would like
- Your teammate makes a mistake
- You get injured
- Your coach makes a bad decision
- The ref makes a bad call
- Your training partner flakes on you
- You get a flat tire on your ride
- You forget your workout clothes
- You have to work late and you miss your workout
No matter what the situation is, YOU decide how these things affect you. We often react to these situations versus respond. How you choose to respond will impact not only how you address the situation, but also how you feel about yourself. When you’re reacting versus responding you tend to experience “irrational thoughts”. These “irrational thoughts” would be thoughts like viewing any of the above situations as the absolute worst possible outcome (this is the WORST thing that could have ever happen to me). Or it could be over-personalizing any of the above situations as if you are the only person that is ever faced with hardships (these things ALWAYS happen to me). These types of thoughts can cause extreme anger, angst, and anxiety. These are exaggerated thoughts that are not only untrue but also hurtful, both to yourself and sometimes to those around you.
So try it out. Think of a situation that has you feeling upset or angry and write out your own possible choices of how to respond. For each one you can also ask yourself, “If I respond this way or take this action, how will this choice make me feel in one hour? One week? One month?”
It’s your choice. You choose whether you want to respond good, bad, or ugly. You choose how you handle the situation. You choose to see the good, the bad, or the ugly in others, in yourself, and in life. Know someone facing a challenging situation? Share this post with them or share your comments here with each other on how you’re choosing to view your situation as good, bad, or ugly!