A week ago when I decided to brainstorm and start writing, I took down some notes and structured what I wanted to write. However, it was not the time. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions combined with new experiences in my professional and personal life, which all served a purpose of learning new things about myself, especially as it relates to strengths and weaknesses I was unaware of. Various moments during these two weeks, I tried to force myself to post a story on my blog. I was trying to prioritize everything by not really prioritizing anything. The two main tasks that I had to accomplish for work were successfully completed on time, but unfortunately without the full attention they deserved. Perhaps, that was the adequate attention they deserved. Sure, in retrospect, looking at the end result, things turned out quite well. As I got on the red-eye to Boston Monday night, my presentation was not fully finalized and I was not ready to get in front of my colleagues for the first time to lead a full session.
We are sometimes our own toughest critics, which can lead to a vicious cycle of constant non gratification and dissatisfaction. It’s important not to lose sight of the accomplishments and successes that are also menial and self-serving. The biggest lesson I learned was that even with the setbacks life presented my way, it was important to persevere and move towards the bigger picture. That bigger picture is also self-defined. Deep inside I knew everything would turn out well and whether or not I am saying that in hindsight, I believe there is some truth to it. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Setbacks can come in various contexts. Whether it is a marriage or relationship that did not go the way we planned, a project that took the wrong direction or the day just not panning out the way we thought it should have, setbacks are important to remind ourselves of our imperfections as human beings. As I try to define the word with examples, I also google it. The dictionary definition is not important. Setbacks tend to be annoying. The word in and of itself carries a negative connotation. They tend to ruin our day, our week, or perhaps our month. Yet, how we respond to these negativities is how we shape our future realities. Just as I mentioned in my previous post about mindset, setbacks have the ability to define and redefine our fixed or growth mindset. If we let the negativity consume us, then guess what, we are stuck in a fixed vicious cycle of perpetuating negativity. We are all guilty of it as much as we are aware of its unhealthy mental consequences. The opposite can be more beneficial. We can choose to take a negative experience and grow from it. Again, most of us do know that this would perpetuate positivity and productivity, but we might, for whatever the reasons, decide to let the setbacks do just that, set us back.
So, how do we perpetuate positivity and productivity when presented with a setback?
1. Recently, I found a motivational wall art which I have visual access to every single morning when I leave my apartment. It says: Do Something Great Today! By doing something great every day that you can be proud of, it will help you overcome the negative setback(s) that you encounter. Likewise, by concentrating on “something great”, the setback won’t have the ability to get to you. You have set a higher intention from the get go. Stick to that.
2. Pack Your Mat !!! I am the king of procrastination. One of the ways I procrastinated on the weeknights I actually should have worked after pulling many hours at the office, I avoided work by packing my mat and going to my yoga studio. We can choose to procrastinate in ways that serve us or ways that do not. Doing a physical activity which will get the endorphins going and bring mental clarity is a good use of procrastination time. Don’t you think? Many nights I would get started on the report I had to do, but I looked for ways to not really get to it. So as I would start going into the world wide maze of iPhone apps, I would redirect my fingers to my studios schedule. An hours worth of yoga would give me the clarity that IT IS OK TO NOT GET ANYTHING DONE AFTER A LONG DAY AT WORK, eradicating the anxiety that also came along with the presence of multiple to-do’s on my list. Some nights, I even came back with a renewed energy to cross some items off that list. Either way, physical activity became a productive and positive use of time during those moments of uncertainty.
As I mentioned above, the way we respond to setbacks will set the course for the rest of our day or our week. Even though it’s easy to victimize ourselves and fall into that trap of “I’m the unluckiest person in the world”, let us empower ourselves by responding positively and productively. So the next time life presents you with a setback, you kick it right back to the curb. Learn from it, move along and remember that challenges are part of the human condition. There is nothing more rewarding than strengthening ourselves by being aware of our weaknesses.
Finally, it would be really empowering to share a story of how you’ve responded to a recent setback. Please feel free to comment below. Verbalizing it might help you and others alike.
Thanks for reading and Namaste Bitches,
P.S. I can not believe my body folds like that.