Almost a decade ago, my boss at the time said something about me that changed my life. “Matt thrives in chaos,” he said. “When others are paralyzed by the stress to the point of inaction, Matt is focused and gets results.” That one statement forever altered the way I look at stressful events.
His words came shortly after a particularly stressful 48 hours in our company. Our only server had crashed and for the next two days, our developers, my boss and I survived on virtually no sleep. There was no guarantee that we’d recover the data from that server. Second guessing and finger pointing were in abundance.
It didn’t feel like it at the time, but I was in my comfort zone. I was standing out as a leader.
Bad news: Your brain is probably less powerful than you thought.
If you’re like me, you thought your brain could do just about anything. That it was infinitely powerful.
But it’s not…
That’s the bad news. But there are two gigantic silver linings to it. Stay tuned…
“It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.” -Andy Andrews (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
Your brain: the single processor
If you were born prior to 1995, and my most recent reader survey suggests that 97% of you were, you remember single processor computers. The other 3% of you will have to use your imaginations for this illustration. A single processor computer is r-e-a-l-l-y slow and does not allow you to have 37 programs open at the same time. In other words, you can’t IM on Facebook while tweeting and hosting a Google Hangout, all while listening to Pandora. Any attempt to do so would most likely result in the “blue screen of death.”
Think of your brains the same way.
Yesterday I wrote:
Helplessness is learned. We learn it from our own experiences and from others. It’s not something that is ingrained in us. There is a way out. What separates those who react well from those who don’t is their conditioning. The good news is you can recondition yourself. You can overcome your learned helplessness.
That’s what I told Grant after he came to me at the end of his rope.
So how do you recondition yourself to handle adversity? How do you overcome helplessness and use problems as catalysts rather than allow them to be dead ends?
There are six steps that I shared with Grant that I am now sharing with you. They will recondition you to make most of difficult times.
Champions in sports, in business, and in life use adversity to their advantage. Find out how. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
Grant had his list of things that made him feel helpless ready when we met again. (Remember, I had asked him and you to make your list. Did you? If not, stop now and think through that.)