How do you describe an elephant?
By Andres Lara
Mr. Lara is an international-selling author and sought-after motivational speaker who speaks to companies and groups from all walks of life on the psychology of how to move forward when you feel like quitting. Connect with him at www.TheCubanGuy.com
You’ve probably heard the ancient story of the 3 blind men trying to describe an elephant. One touches the tail and describes the elephant as a snake. Another stumbles against the side and describes the elephant as a wall. Yet the other touches the leg and describes the elephant as a tall tree.
The point? Perhaps the issue in front of you is not of as much significance as the angle you are experiencing it from. Learning to position yourself at an advantageous angle can make the difference of whether you experience the best or the worst of your current circumstances.
There are millions of things you can do to position yourself on the right side of a stressful situation, but here are four simple mindsets that you can adopt today regardless of the obstacle at hand:
- Nothing in life is permanent, not even you. So if you are impermanent, how can your problems be permanent? While this might sound negative, understanding that everything in life is transitory will give you an empowering viewpoint in regards to your current challenges. Reminding yourself that whatever turbulence you are experiencing at this moment is temporary will encourage you to keep elevating yourself in search of that perfect cruising altitude.
- On the other hand, even when things are perfect, embracing a temporary mindset can be very helpful. You see, people’s zest for life is frequently killed not by misfortunes but by their inability to appreciate what’s already great around them. Therefore, if you begin to remind yourself that this moment, no matter how perfect, will too come to an end, you will start appreciating all of the positives in your life that you have been taking for granted.
Failure is a prerequisite. Your failures exist for one and only one reason: to make your future successes possible. Instead of complaining and asking life to stop throwing things at you, start recognizing your current dilemma as building material. Life tosses bricks to all of us; it’s up to you to build an artistic masterpiece or to end up with a pile of rubble.
Keep this thought in mind by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Be thankful even for failures, for they are an indispensable piece of your success puzzle.
- Find the silver lining. Constantly ask yourself one simple question: what great opportunity can come out of my current circumstances? Asking this question will direct your energy to look for the hidden positives that lie within your challenges and keep you from wasting it on complaining about the negatives.
Once you start seeing the silver lining in every incident, your challenges will cease to be the heavy blocks that previously burdened you; for they will now become stepping stones from where you can stand just a little taller. It’s at this point that you will experience a new height regardless of the negatives thrown your way.
- Trust the bigger plan. You no doubt have big plans. But understand that however big your plans are, the universe has much bigger plans for you. When you are discouraged and things are not working according to your plans, realize that there’s something else out there guiding you; and that which you perceive as a detour might be the actual road you must travel on.
Don’t get so caught up on the way things should’ve been, could’ve been, or would’ve been because looking from where you stand you will never be able to comprehend the magnitude of the grand plan that’s in store for you. Trust that you are where you are because that’s where you need to be; then you might get a glimpse at how insignificant your initial plan was and how grandiose your current one is.
Call to Action
Everyone says in life you have to be positive if you want to get somewhere. The question is how can you become positive when negative things keep happening to you? Just like anything, being positive is a habit that can be developed. All you have to do is for the next 30 days when you are faced with a challenge adopt one of the 4 mindsets by reminding yourself that (1) Whatever is troubling you is temporary, (2) Your current setback is an indispensable part of the success puzzle, (3) There is a silver lining or a great opportunity within every challenge and (4) No matter what happens, you must trust that you are part of a much bigger plan.