You won’t always be successful, but more often than not you’ll achieve what you wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m talking about trying to rise above whatever frustrates, annoys, infuriates or holds you back.
It’s so easy to look at what seems unfair and unjustified and give up. Worse yet, some people put an enormous amount of energy into building up their own barriers; they complain and seek out others who sympathize with them and support their own negative view. Sad but true is the fact that if all that energy was redirected into trying to change things around and work towards a positive solution, moving forward would come easier and stagnating would be a thing of the past.
Setbacks happen to everyone. Whether it’s being turned down for a job you really wanted, an unexpected expense that you didn’t budget for, running late for the big interview; the world isn’t conspiring to work against you. Let me modify that statement; the world isn’t conspiring to work against you unless you view things this way. Then I absolutely agree that the way you view things, the world is turned against you.
Some people see the good in everything; the glass is always half full. To others, the negative is where they go instinctively; the glass half empty. But can’t you always just fill up the other half of the glass and make the discussion of whether things are half full or half empty a moot point of discussion? And sometimes a half empty glass is what you want – as in the case of that awful stuff they give you the night before a colonoscopy to empty your bowls. Who wants a full glass of that stuff!
Working on daily basis to rise above the petty stuff that you might be going through is a good practice. Little things like your child wanting a ham sandwich instead of a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Why squabble over the issue? Rise above it once you realize their digging in their heels? It’s a sandwich; relax, no big deal. Now you might say that rising above a squabble over a preference for one sandwich over another is pretty minor – and I agree it is. The same principle however applies to the bigger things.
Take running late for that interview you want so much. Running late is never a good thing, but at some point its essential you a) realize your late b) consider what your options are and c) act. Instead of scowling with stress and taking dangerous short-cuts or speeding risking a long delay with a policeman and a fine, consider your options. Maybe you can call the interviewer and reschedule, advise your running late but will arrive shortly and apologize, or you might even find an alternative route that gets you there on time. Rise above the situation.
It seems to me too many people seem to be hitting the panic alarm too frequently and quickly these days; making much ado about situations which in the larger picture aren’t really all that huge. Are we losing the ability to be confronted with problems and deal with them sensibly and rationally?
I bet you can think of a few people who react with tremendous drama when faced with problems. Instead of sitting down and thinking about how to resolve the issue, they go around telling the problem or situation to people all over the workplace. They tell the same story, emphasize the same points, expect you to react with, “Oh you poor thing!” and if you do, they labour on even longer telling their tale. Give them a, “That’s too bad, want a suggestion?” and they roll up their nose and move on to a more sympathetic audience. They don’t really want solutions after all.
When you learn to rise above the small stuff in your life, you are better equipped to use the same solution-based thinking to deal with the larger issues. Earlier I mentioned being rejected for a job you really wanted. Well you can get down on yourself, wallow around and empty the ice cream container in the freezer while you curl up on the couch in a fetal position and feel sorry for yourself. Conversely, you can rise above the setback, proactively seek out some feedback from the interviewer, apply in earnest for more positions, and move forward. The sooner you do this, the less you dwell on the job you didn’t get and start investing in other opportunities you may actually be better suited for.
The same goes when you suddenly find you’re in the middle of a gossip session. You can participate and engage which is juicy and delectably fascinating, or you can rise above the situation and tactfully remove yourself or re-direct the conversation. When you do so, you show good judgement and you rise above instead of being sucked into something unhealthy and unproductive.
Be careful by the way in learning to rise above situations. There is an inherent danger that you may just become a more productive person; become empathetic instead of sympathetic, and you may just achieve more than your used to. Such is the way of people who rise above situations.
Start by seeing things for what they are, not what you imagine them to be. Determine courses of action from which to choose and then act as you see best to be successful.