I was watching a movie with my wife last night (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – which was actually good – just not…funny). There was a line in the movie after shit went sideways, and a soldier that had every reason to be bitter, offered some serious wisdom. “You embrace the suck. You move the fuck forward. What other choice do we have?” Damn. Yep.
Look – everyone has difficulty in their lives. Why is it…check that…How is it that some never show the signs? You ever watch Ray Donovan? This is about a man who lives in the worst possible life – by his own choosing, sure – but what draws me in is his amazing ability to accept and adapt to the destruction happening to him and around him. And before you say anything about it being a TV SHOW…just know that there are people in your own life that are probably very similar. You know who they are. Family members that have big problems…the family members and friends that suffer in silence. Yet…they survive…and thrive. These are the folks that we might look at and shake our heads…asking ourselves… ‘how the hell do they function?’ It’s a hard and simple answer. They embraced the suck. They move the fuck forward. What other choice do they have?
The funny thing about choice is that people always seem to say that ‘they don’t have one’. That’s simply not true. There is always a choice…and that is where the SUCK is. Invariably – when we find ourselves in a difficult situation…there are decisions…choices…to be made. When something bad happens…we have to choose how we deal with it. What was going well…is now bad. The SUCK is the choice you have to make to deal with it now…and it usually results in an unknown outcome. That’s scary. For people who like things nice and tidy…that SUCKS. People living in that reality will have a hard time finding happiness.
Embrace the reality. Accept what has happened, and resolve to do something about it. The alternative is what? Do nothing? Does anyone really believe that doing NOTHING is the easier choice? Take it from me…that is not the answer. Doing nothing only prolongs the pain. It’s actually worse, because the fear of the unknown result will cripple you. It becomes magnified until the WORST thing to happen is ALL you can imagine. This is a cycle that can only be broken through acceptance. Fine…it happened. Now what? Get productive.
Dale Carnegie wrote about this in his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” It deals with tactics for liberating yourself from nagging anxieties that make you less happy and less productive. One of the things he helps you focus on is The Law of Averages – like, what are the chances that the worst will happen? The reality is…MOST of the time, the worst that can happen, doesn’t. It’s never as bad as you think…and often, it opens up an avenue to something great.
Look at your life right now. There are things happening that are causing you some distress…requiring you to make a decision you don’t want to make, because you are uncomfortable. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you are dealing with a health issue. Money problems. It doesn’t matter what it is. What does matter is that you choose to accept whatever reality you are in, and that you take action to deal with it. Massive Action. It’s important to realize that Massive doesn’t mean Hard…or even A Lot. It’s just more than you are doing right now…and right now, you are likely doing NOTHING.
Ways to Get Rolling
Quit holding on to what was. Say goodbye to before, and face what’s next. You have to accept that nothing will feel as bad as it does RIGHT NOW. There is a future. Your goal should be to get there…quickly, and with purpose.
- Understand the Truth: Get all the details. Learn everything you can. Compare the facts to your worst fears. Trust that what is happening is ultimately good for you, and that there is something to learn from it.
- Step Away: You need time to absorb…process…and think about it. You need a little time to shut off. Coming back with fresh eyes almost always helps you see another way.
- Focus Only On What Can Be Changed: You can’t fix everything…you can only handle 1 major thing at time. So focus on the major thing. If you still can’t see a way to fix it…focus on changing the way you THINK about it.
- Own It: Ray Donovan the hell out of it. No visible emotion…no complaining. Part of what makes me root for Ray Donovan is because you WANT him to find a way out on his own. Own your problem. Solve your problem…and do it quickly…with no excuses. And by the way, just because he never complains…doesn’t mean he doesn’t ask for help. Ask for help…just don’t think you have to explain yourself to anyone.
- Focus on Yourself: If the situation has anything to do with how YOU are…then fix you. You know what your issues are.
- Do What Scares You: I can’t say this enough. You are in hell because of what scares you. Eliminate the pride that is holding you back, and take a chance to do something you think you CANNOT do. Listen to Dale Carnegie…what are the chances that the worst will happen?
- Do The Work: You can plan all you want…but the plan won’t solve your problem unless you do the work.
Bad Things Happen
I’ve heard people say ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’. I call bullshit. Bad things happen. Period. Nobody out there is immune to uncomfortable. So embrace the idea that you WILL encounter shit in your life. Just don’t dwell. Nothing is permanent. Today may be the worst day of your life. And it will be that way until isn’t.
Shift your view.