Overcoming Setbacks

I recently read an article entitled 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow and inspired me to write this piece on overcoming setbacks, unexpected obstacles, and misfortunes. 

I’ve had my fair share of annoying things happen to me; getting in accidents, my engine and transmission failing, breaking my iPhone screen, loosing money at the bar, having to pay for an unexpected dentist bill, etc. These incidents usually happen when I have close to $0 in my bank account. It’s frustrating as hell and very stressful, but I have to give myself a  pat on the back since I’ve been beginning to cope better and better each time on these things happen. I used to freak out and be stressed for weeks…

Now I take a deep breath, take out my visa and move on.The ever so trendy quote, “Keep calm and carry on” has become my new mantra for dealing with these types of situations and it really works! Say for instance, my car breaks down and I have to get it towed back to a mechanic for $300. Then who knows what else I’ll have to pay for..A new engine? A new rad? A new car?? Yikes..What the hell am I going to do?? Life for I know it is over. I won’t be able to ever buy a house, send my kids to college, buy groceries next week…I could go on. Notice how I jump to the worst possible outcomes? Shockingly, it kind of helps me deal with those types of situations. How ridiculous do I sound right now? It helps me realize that it is not the end of the world and this happens to others ALL THE TIME. Then I can go back to dealing with the situation at hand.

I should mention a bit of background about my slightly older self. If things don’t go exactly as I anticipated and the plan takes a little detour, I tend to get really pissed. My newer self has gotten better, mind you, but I really don’t like when the world fucks with my plans. I’ve come to realize that it’s just life though. everyone goes through this and you have to just keep calm, think okay..how bad can this really be? Will it even matter in a week? A month? A year? 15 years? 99.9% of the time the answer is no. 

Life throws you proverbial lemons almost every damn day. Those that know how to deal with them in the most cool, relaxed way, wins. They win low blood pressure, a sense of accomplishment, independence, and a healthy mind. Those that loose their cool and throw themselves into a whirlwind of negative emotions end up very upset and bitter with the world around them. In psychological terms, they have an external locust of control. The world and external circumstances controls them.

I pride myself in moving towards a ‘internal locust of control’ mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t control everything in the world..But I can, however choose to control my emotions and how to handle challenges and setbacks that come my way. Trust me, it’s a better way to live.

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