The ability to hope for the best when things are not going right is essential in navigating life’s ever-changing nature. Life is a roller coaster of challenges, trials, tribulations, vicissitudes and constant changes. It is extremely tough to stay optimistic when we are faced with the enormous strains of life, such as losing a loved one, losing a job, divorce, health & financial issues, and career not going as you want it to; it seems you are going from one storm to the other, you want to smile but a sigh is all you could muster, worry and anxiety is all around you; I know that feeling. We’ve all been there, no one lives a problem-free life; whatever would go wrong would eventually be wrong, but when things go wrong as they sometimes would, don’t go wrong with the present challenge you are dealing with. Don’t let success get to your head and don’t let failure get to your heart.
Your journey in life is going to get tough at some point; giving up might seem like an option but Don’t give up yet. The sun will rise tomorrow, this too shall pass, everything will be alright, and what you learn from the ordeal will make you a stronger person with character. When you are going through trials and tribulations, self-doubt and constant anxiety, it does not feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel but there is.
Regret is the emotion of wishing one had made a different decision in the past because the consequences of the decision were unfavorable. Regret is a negative emotion predicated on an upward, self-focus, counterfactual inference. (Gilovich and Medec 1995). Regret feels bad because it implies a fault in personal action: You should have done it differently, hence self-blame is a component of regret (Connolly & Zeelenberg, 2002).
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Nothing moves until you move; if you want a different result in life, you would have to take a different approach. Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Most of us wish to achieve our goals, but we hardly do anything about it. The difference between high achievers and non-achievers is that high-achievers decide, commit, and relentlessly execute their goals consistently.
There is a riddle I recently heard that perfectly describes the difference between deciding and taking action. There are five frogs sitting on a log, and one decides to jump off the log, how many frogs are left? The answer is not four frogs but five. Why? There is a huge difference between deciding and taking action. Most of us decide to go on a fitness regimen, read more books, save more money, listen more, and achieve our set goals. We do not follow through because we lack the commitment and self-discipline to take action consistently in executing our goals.
We all have a choice in life whenever something unexpected happens to us: you can become bitter or get better, get the message or stay stuck with the mess, let it lessen you or learn the lesson, become a victim of your situation or take agency for your life. Life is a roller coaster of challenges, trials, tribulations, upheavals and crises which, if not handled well, would create further chaos. Motivational speaker Les Brown often says: “If you don’t handle it with grace, it will stay in your face.” You are not a victim, you are not helpless, you are not a tree, and ultimately, you can handle any situation you find yourself in. Life can be extremely tough at times, and you want to call a pity party, you focus on the windows instead of the mirror, and blame everyone but yourself for what you are going through.
I started learning how to swim in late 2021, and like most new activities, the learning curve was steep. I started in a YMCA swimming pool nearby, and the life guides kept telling me, “To go fast, you need to go slow.” It did not make sense to me then, but it makes total sense in hindsight. Just like in swimming, as in life, sometimes you might need to go slow, reassess the situation, pace yourself and relentlessly execute afterwards. Getting a time out is necessary in most situations, rest if you have to, go on vacation, take a nap, sleep and re-assess the situation afterwards.
We live in a high-paced world with everything at our fingertips; we are constantly rushing to fill our to-do lists, busy for busy sake, and we hardly have time to introspect, think or slow down to smell the roses. As leading American Transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau once quipped, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
Self-love involves prioritizing your needs and caring for your body, mind and soul. By nourishing yourself first, you have enough to give to others. It is often said, “You cannot give what you do not have. ” Self-love is about acknowledging the need to take care of our needs, not our wants, and to work towards self-betterment instead of sacrificing our needs to prioritize the happiness of others.
Reading is a high-level way of sourcing ideas, and ideas are the currency that makes the world go round. Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” Reading is a pastime that is generally on the decline due to many factors, such as our collective inclination for screen time and low attention span. We would rather Netflix and chill than read a good biography, we read more Facebook timelines than a good book, and we would instead read a tweet than get wit through curiosity.
It might not seem so right now due to all the challenges, trials and tribulations you are going through. Even though you are not married yet, still expecting to conceive, broke, divorced, laid off, failed the exam multiple times, depressed, sad, and you don’t know how everything will align; you are enough. You are wonderfully made, and you have all that is required to unleash the greatness inherent in you. Most of us are so ugly that the only thing we have is beauty; we are so ignorant that the only thing we have is intelligence, and we are so poor that the only thing we have is riches. Enough is being content with what you have, giving gratitude and being at peace with yourself. Most of us feel getting more riches, status, and material possessions would make us happy, but we eventually find out it does not.
A crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. The word crisis derives from late Middle English (denoting the turning point of a disease): medical Latin, from Greek krisis ‘decision’, from krinein ‘decide’. The general sense ‘decisive point’ dates from the early 17th century. 1 The Chinese word for “crisis” contains two characters: The first character wēi (危) mean “dangerous” or “precarious”, and the second character jī (机; 機) mean “change point” which is a component of the Chinese word for “opportunity”, jīhuì (机会; 機會). As American talk show host Oprah Winfrey once said “You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some people will call them failures but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” It’s just an experience, just an experience.”
A crisis is an an opportunity for rebirth, a wake-up call
Everything worthwhile is uphill, the climb is steep, the journey is the reward, and success is not guaranteed, but the struggle is. To achieve any goal worth achieving, you must sacrifice, endure, persevere, commit and relentlessly execute. To climb uphill is usually challenging as it requires asserting energy and persisting hence most of us would not attempt the climb. Everything worthwhile in life takes time; overnight success takes approximately ten years or 10,000 hours of relentless execution of your goals. There are three types of people: Those in the game, on the sideline, and those in the stands watching. The climb uphill will require everything in you; you must dig deep inside to reach the summit successfully.
Your “comfort zone” is a psychological, emotional, and behavioural construct. It’s what’s familiar to you and what feels safe—your regular habits and routines. When you’re in your comfort zone, you experience low stress and anxiety levels. In your comfort zone, there’s little to no risk.
White defined a zone where we perform at our best and Is often outside our comfort zone. He referred to it as the Optimal Performance Zone. He noted that, provided there is no change in the ‘anxiety’ or skills applied, the level of performance will remain constant. Equally, if there is a change in the ‘anxiety’ or the skills applied, then a change in performance will result – either upwards or downwards.
Since a performance-boosting increase in anxiety is, in performance management terms, a good thing, we can define this state of arousal as being the ‘optimal performance zone’, while we would define a level of anxiety that causes deterioration in performance as being a bad thing or a ‘danger zone’.
Our natural state as humans is homeostasis – the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, primarily maintained by physiological processes. We tend to move towards the path of least resistance, and we strive to avoid pain and discomfort. In your comfort zone, you do the least required in school, work, gym, association and how you live life. Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
Locus of Control 1 is a concept develoved by American psychologist Julian Rotter in 1954. It refers to an individual’s perception about the underlying main causes of events in his/her life. Rotter observed that behaviour was largely guided by “reinforcements” (rewards and punishments) and that through contingencies such as rewards and punishments, individuals come to hold beliefs about what causes their actions. These beliefs, in turn, guide what kinds of attitudes and behaviours people adopt. 1 There are two types of Locus of Control:
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent? Those were the closing questions in John Hall’s Poem “At Day’s End.” Everyone is going through something you know nothing about – a sickness, divorce, loss, grief, anxiety, worry, financial woes etc. You never know how far your kind words or deeds can go in uplifting someone through a challenging period.
I ran my first full marathon in 2013. I had just lost my closest cousin and was looking for a distraction to deal with the grief. I stumbled on an advert in the news about an upcoming Milo Marathon in Accra, Ghana; I participated in the marathon and finished with a time of 6 hours plus. That was how I got hooked on running long distances, and I have since run marathons in the following cities (Accra(3), Cotonou, Lagos(2), Nairobi, Toronto (4), Vancouver, Ottawa(2), Edmonton, Montreal, Hamilton, Fredericton, Halifax, Calgary and Winnipeg). I have since participated in over 20+ 42.2 KM marathons in 14 cities.