How to rise above your challenges | Anne-Funmi Fatusin

Changing your mindset and thinking creatively can transform a setback into a comeback, says Anne-Funmi Fatusin.

There is an economic global recession which unfortunately has had an adverse effect on the credit rating of some countries in the Western World. In other parts of the world, there is uprising and even in my own country, Nigeria, we have our own issues with which to contend. With all these challenges at different levels – global and national and local, one could start to believe that the whole world is heading for total freefall as one battles various individual challenges.

What are the challenges you face? Is it to do with a divorce, barrenness, singlehood, repossession of your home, collapse of a business venture, ill-health, bereavement, pressures at work, an unruly child, spousal abuse, unemployment, sibling rivalry, the break down of a relationship? Whatever your challenges, you should not perceive yourself as a failure. Failure is an individual’s interpretation or perception of a situation. We are different individuals – what one sees as a problem, may be what another sees as an opportunity. A gap in the market for scarcity of a product may just be an avenue for a business opportunity.

The fact is that every person will, at one time or another, experience the missing of a mark, a failure in achieving a goal, a disappointing conclusion, a downfall. Whatever the situation, failure is never final. By re-orientating your mindset and taking few creative steps, a setback (or challenge or whatever name you give it) can be transformed into a comeback. It is pivotal to remind yourself that failure is not the finish line. It should be reviewed for what it really is – a setback, a temporary event and ultimately, a situation that can be regulated, rectified, remedied, repaired and risen above.

Life is a journey full of hopes, dreams, promises, challenges which are meant to be overcome to make you a better person and encourage others who at some stage in their lives will walk through the same path. The following key factors will ensure that you rise above your challenges.

Look for the lesson.

Experience is the best teacher. What has your experience taught you? Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss contains lessons to be learned and how to improve next time. A popular Japanese proverb says that ‘Failure teaches successes. Elbert Green Hubbard, a writer, says that the only true failure is the person who does not learn the lesson from the experience: "A failure is a person who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience". A good way to begin the process of learning from the experience is by analysing your circumstances. Ask yourself the following questions (as appropriate to your situation):
How did this happen?
Could I have done anything to anticipate or prevent it?
Are there any flaws in my approach that need correction?
Was I working in the wrong environment for my style and interests?
How can I use this experience to a positive advantage?
Where can I improve myself as a result of this experience?
Simply and objectively look back at the experience to gain insight and then decide on how to do things differently.

Turn a crisis into a coup.

As soon as you experience the challenge, resolve to transform the adversity into an advantage. Every event, no matter how initially distasteful and disappointing it feels, can be helpful if viewed that way. Defeat can create greater resolve; endings can open doors to new beginnings. There is an adage which says that "if one door is not closed, another cannot be opened". Make your challenge work for you, not against you. In the midst of adversity, there lies an opportunity.

View the challenge as one of life’s hurdles to overcome.

"Do not allow distractions – fear and doubt – to creep into your brain, because that is what ruins you up there". Those were the words of Erik Weihermaye who has engaged in series of trivial pursuits and other dangerous sporting activities. Yet, what makes him special is the fact that he has been blind since the age of 13 when a degenerative eye disease destroyed his retinas. Being blind has not prevented him from embracing all life has to offer. He became the first blind climber to reach the top of Mount Everest, the tallest challenge in the world for any mountaineer. He said he just kept his focus once at the peak of the mountain. So, next time you are feeling discouraged about a personal, business, or professional setback, consider the hurdles Erik has overcome in the twenty years he has been blind.

If you fail once, try and try again.

Just keep on trying until you achieve your goal. Richard Branson, owner of the ‘Virgin’ brand is an example. Simon Cowell, the brains behind the global ‘X-Factor’ show, was once declared bankrupt.

Protect your mind.

Do not be seduced by the idea that a single failure means that you are a complete failure. Avoid blaming yourself unduly. Protect your mind by monitoring what you think. Accentuate the positive and modify the negative. Engage in positive thinking, no matter how bad the situation may be. Be cautious when offering help so as not to engage in a ‘pity party’ which could be very emotionally draining.

Speak in a way that empowers your mind.

The words we use when describing ourselves or the situation we are in, have a tremendous impact on our quality of life. Some words diminish and destroy us while others expand and empower us. Choose to think and speak with words that move you from a victim to a victor, zero to hero, obscurity to popularity.
Here are some examples
Rather than say I hope, say I will.
Rather than say, it is hopeless, say, I will find a solution.
Rather than say, it is my fault, say, I am responsible.
Rather than say, it is a big problem, say, it is a big opportunity.
Rather than say, life is a struggle, say, life is an adventure.
Rather than say, this is terrible, say, this is a learning experience.
Rather than say, I should, say I could.
Rather than say, this is a bitter experience, say, I want to learn and grow from the experience.
Rather than say, why me? Say, Why not me? Perhaps, God wants me to use this experience to encourage other people going through the same situation.

Re-commit to your goals.

Do not allow yourself to be in a time warp because you have experienced a challenge. This is so easy to do. So, rise up, re-commit to your goals and go at them again. A failure is not someone who has tried and failed. It is someone who has given up trying and resigned him or herself to failure. "It is not a condition but an attitude", says Sydney J. Harris. Those who see their dreams come true are those who renew their dedication to their goals. This is so true for Dr Laurence J. Peter, an American writer who submitted his manuscript on The Peter Principle: Why things Always go Wrong. An editor wrote back to him to say that there were no commercial possibilities for such a book and thus he could offer no encouragement. Peter went round several publishing houses and, each time, he faced rejection until he had an offer. His book was such a phenomenal success that it was on the New York Times bestseller list and was later translated into 38 languages.

Food for Thought

It is pivotal to remind yourself that failure is not the finish line. It should be reviewed for what it really is – a setback, a temporary event and ultimately, a situation that can be regulated, rectified, remedied, repaired and risen above. Whatever the situation, do not be discouraged. There might be times you want to isolate yourself but make sure it is a positive isolation – this is where you later emerge stronger and more determined to make a positive change to your circumstance. This might mean moving out of your comfort zone or an environment that brings constant remembrance of your challenge and associate with people who would have a positive impact on your life. A negative isolation is such where you withdraw from everyone one and emerge worse than ever, with a feeling of hopelessness.
The tendency is always there, after a perceived failure, to withdraw from people because they are seen as totally unsupportive or because of shame. Do not let depression come into your heart, for it enters in a subtle way and if you are not careful, before long it will have dug a deep hole. The unfortunate aspect of depression is that you may look good on the outside, but inside your soul there is so much hurt and pain which no man can see. Then, the mind becomes a battle ground of mixed emotions. There is no situation that is happening to you now that has never happened or will not be experienced later by someone else.
The Holy Book says, "no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1Corinthians 1013– NKJV).
You might wonder that the situation would overwhelm you but remember, the Lord said that "He will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten the crawling locust .......... and then you shall know that I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people will never be put to shame" (Joel 225 -27 - NKJV). All what you have lost could be restored within a short period of time if the right job, spouse, business opportunity comes along. The child that was once on drugs could soon be rehabilitated for good and strife amongst siblings will turn into love, marital breakdown into marital bliss, ill-health will be a thing of the past and a country previously divided by itself becomes united – once again enjoying its natural resources and enriching the lives of its citizenry. BE FOCUSED AND STRONG IN THE LORD. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED.

Source: reconnectAfrica

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