See The Positive In All Situations

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Learn to look at every difficult situation as a present; the gift within is the possibilities it holds. To open the gift you must find the "possibility". To overcome any issue find the possibilities.

When you are in a difficult or a stressful situation, reflect on the following four questions:
1) Could it be worse?
2) Are there lessons I can learn to avoid a similar situation in the future?
3) What good can be realized?
4) What am I going to do about it?

Could It Be Worse
In the majority of cases, there is always a worse situation we could be in. By reflecting on a worse situation, it helps put the current situation into perspective. One failing of many, many thousands of people who live in a western democracy is that of thinking that materialistic possessions is a right and the absence of what is seen in different social medium must be the norm. In other words, many people take for granted that which they already have and complain because they want more and more. This attitude is no more than the belief in materialism. Is your concern one of wealth and possessions, or is your concern more for the well-being of your life and for those around you? The question here is whether you really have a legitimate complaint?

Are There Lessons I Can Learn To Avoid A Similar Situation In The Future Every situation, problem, issue, obstacle or dilemma that one faces has opportunities for development and learning. Nothing that happens is void from the life cycle of learning or utilizing an experience that can aid you in the future. If you are not the one who can use past experiences and the knowledge that you have gained, you can certainly pass this learning onto someone else who is experiencing a similar problem or issue. Sometimes, you may have to wait for several years before you are required to help someone else through a difficulty but, in the long run, your life will benefit from what you have experienced as long as you turn it into a positive learning journey and not seen as a loss.

How does the process of learning from experience transpire? First of all, you need to look at the situation. Ask yourself whether or not what has occurred could have been avoided. If you determine that the situation or issue could have been avoided, don't go beating yourself up for not realizing this previously. Learn from the situation. Mistakes are our greatest teachers! No sense dwelling on the issue. Recognize and think of ways for the future to avoid a similar situation and then move on! Remember you can't change the past, but you can change the future!

What Good Can Be Realized?
All parts of life have their valleys and hills. Life is not a smooth path or a continuous journey of all things good. To expect that you will not face challenges, hurts, pains, problems or issues is being totally unrealistic. All of these adventures of life are really a gift. Rather than focusing our energy and thoughts on the negative of the situation, look for the positive. Sometimes you have to look hard, sometimes you don't even realize until later. But in every situation, there is positive, you just have to find it! By focusing on the positive you are helping to reduce your stress levels!

What Am I Going To Do About It?
In my opinion, this is the most critical! What are you going to do? Often just by taking action, by doing something about the situation can relieve the stress and help correct the situation. The greatest weapon to conquer fear that comes as a direct result of problems or issues is to take action. To be action oriented is to move forward. Otherwise, you will remain stuck in the issue or problem or circumstance. The act of taking action means that you are not stuck in the problem but, instead, means that you see a solution. This aspect is very similar in your professional career as well. For those people who remain focused on the problem rather than being focused on a solution means simply that no progress is being made.

On the other hand, if you focus on the positive when you experience difficult situations, YOU CAN positively change your outlook, reduce your stress, and use your energy to concentrate on achieving things that otherwise may not have been possible.

Read these examples to help understand how you can apply these questions to real life situations.

Example 1 -You have lost your job.
Could it be worse?
You bet. You could have lost your health and without your health you could not obtain any type of work. To lose a job could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Why is this? It may just be the chance you need to search for a job that you always wanted but didn't feel that you could leave your current job. Sometimes people need a little encouragement to move beyond where they are; they may feel, without verbalizing their inner feelings, that they really wanted to leave but couldn't. The fact that they now have no other choice but to find a new occupation may be the catalyst to action that was required for a long time.

Are there lessons you could learn?
Depending on the circumstances, you could absolutely learn valuable lessons. Did you bring value to your company, (suggesting ways to improve company profits, continuing your education, etc.) or, did you see the situation coming but did nothing to further yourself. If you have taken the initiative to further your skills, you now have a chance to put them to good use by joining another company that may appreciate your zest for continuous development.

What good can be realized?
You can look for a job in an area that you have an interest in where you may find a better opportunity. The fact that you have additional skills means that you are of more value than you were in the past. By joining a new company or organization, you have the opportunity to excel and possibly for future promotion.

What am I going to do?
Start looking for another job! Take action. Do not stay stuck in the past but embrace the future. You do have a choice; a choice to move forward or to stay stuck.

Example 2 - I don't have enough money to buy Christmas presents.
Could it be worse?
You bet! You could not have enough money to pay your rent/mortgage.

Are there lessons you could learn?
Possibly. Could you have started your looking earlier taking advantage of sales; could you have made your own gifts; etc.?

What good can be realized?
Look around you and be thankful for what you have, appreciate life. Sometimes a note to someone just telling them what they have meant in your life is worth more than anything money could buy. Great suggestions you say, but what if the gifts are for my children - they don't want a note. In these cases, ask for help. There are times in all of our lives we need help from others. I truly believe what comes around, goes around. The day will come when your circumstances will be better and you will be able to help a family.

What am I going to do?
Rather than sit and feel sorry for yourself, take action, ask for help!

Example 3 - Feeling Overwhelmed
A simple everyday example is a situation I found myself in last week. I was behind in my work, major projects were overdue. I was creating stress for myself just thinking about everything I had to accomplish. I stopped for two minutes and asked myself the four questions:

Could it be worse?
Yes, I could have no job, no income.

Are there lessons I could learn?
Yes, I need to set more realistic deadlines, and to employ better time management skills.

What good can be realized?
The realization that I was overwhelming myself to the point I was wasting time. Rather than thinking about it, and shuffling the paper from one pile to the next, if I broke the projects down and focused on the smaller task I could have them done by the end of the week.

What am I going to do?
I prioritized and started working with a focus, rather than an overwhelming feeling.


Remember, see the positive in all situations, it could change your life!

Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"To change your negative attitude you need to take a 180 degree spin and start focusing your thoughts on solutions rather than problems." Janice Davies, Attitude - Positive Thinking Creates Success and Happiness

"When we are stressed out, that affects every other part of the quality of our lives." Tom Meitner

"A life that is never willing to change is a great tragedy - a wasted life. Change is a necessary part of a growing life, and we need change in order to remain fresh and to keep progressing." Rick Warren

          Read more Inspirational Thoughts

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