There are many debatable outlooks and ways to deal with life and the day-to-day issues that we may experience. For some folks, life is simple and without too many issues and complexities. Regular routines and schedules are adhered to or followed, positive support systems and safety nets are in place to break a fall, and it can seem like some folks live a problem-free life with less chaos and little to no worries.
For others, life can be figuratively and relentlessly cold-hearted, savage, and unforgiving. Some of you may or may not be familiar with the classic 1991 movie “Silence of the Lambs”. In a nutshell, it’s about a top FBI training academy student, Clarice Starling (played by actress Jodie Foster) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by actor Anthony Hopkins), a clever and violent psychiatrist and psychopath serving life behind bars for murders and cannibalism. Clarice Starling is recruited by an FBI official to interview Hannibal Lecter with the hunch that Lecter may have knowledge about a case.
I won’t go into further details about the movie, “Silence of the Lambs” for those who have not seen it and plan to see it except to say that “Silence of the Lambs” reminds me of how life can figuratively devour and eat you alive and even physically threaten to kill you via stress if you do not do things like methodically prepare, be strategic, wise, mentally resilient, emotionally intelligent, and skillful. Being empathetic, kind, and caring are essential as well.
I really liked the movie, "Silence of the Lambs" when it came out and have learned some invaluable lessons from it. As a college psychology minor, I am fascinated by human behavior and the mind and how psychology pertains to life and why people do or don’t do things.
I am not a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, but I would like to share with you some excellent facts to consider when dealing with life. I don’t care who you are, what you do, where you’re from, your race, religion, political views, social status, how much money you have, don’t have, or are striving to get, who likes you, loves you, are in love with you, and/or hates you, be willing to consider and process the following:
Fact#1: Sh*t Is Going To Happen.
There are not too many ways to get around this fact. If you are unwilling to consider this fact, then you may be ill-prepared and possibly setting yourself up for failure and disappointment when sh*t does happen.
I am not telling you this to encourage you to be pessimistic, but to help prepare you (mentally) for when sh*t does happen. The bottom line is that unfortunate things are going to happen in life and may happen repeatedly or occasionally. Time is going to keep ticking whether you tick with it or not. Change is going to happen whether you adapt or panic, act or stay stagnant, care or don’t care, and/or realize this fact or stay in denial.
Do not allow this fact to scare or paralyze you into inaction. Sometimes, we must figuratively look life and fear straight in the eyes and decide that we are going to go the distance, rest if we must, and get back into the marathon of our life when sh*t happens. It can make your life easier with less worries if you anticipate this fact, prepare as best you can ahead of time, and spring into action while still finding time to enjoy life in the present moment, smile, laugh, and keep pushing when sh*t happens.
Just about everyone experiences problems to varying degrees. A problem that seems like a mole hill to one person may seem like Mount Everest to someone else and vice/versa. Regardless of the degree or severity of a problem, you have the choice to be self-aware, admit that issues exist that need to be dealt with, choose to address and deal with the issues, and create solutions to get the results you want. It’s even more beneficial when you can solve a multitude of related issues not just individually, but simultaneously. It’s like solution streamlining. It can be hard work, but well worth it.
Sometimes, we don’t even have to re-invent the wheel to create solutions. Someone who has already been down the road that we are traveling has already paved the way for us to make our journey easier. Sometimes, you can simply put a twist to what has already been done.
Being prepared with knowledge, know-how, and skills can help to alleviate worrying and anxiety about one's future. What I find helpful is to seek out and find (proven) remedies or solutions to solve problems, take all of the necessary steps that involve applying the solutions without cutting CRUCIAL corners, seek expert or experienced help when uncertain, and/or getting innovative in creating solutions (within acceptable guidelines that are not going to jeopardize your life, health, and/or freedom or put others in harm’s way).
I learn continuously by reading, researching, and doing my own due diligence when presented with new information. It’s okay to delay making hasty decisions when sh*t happens, but do not become paralyzed by fear and overcome any fears by repeatedly practicing the action(s) that scare(s) you.
What I have learned and found to be extremely helpful overall is to be prepared by acquiring relevant knowledge, testing it out by running experiments, making any needed adjustments, monitoring and measuring my progress, doing consistent positive things that push me toward my goals despite any negative circumstances, and rinsing and repeating successful actions and results.
Fact#2: People Are Going to Make or Not Make Sh*t Happen.
Throughout history, there have been a myriad of atrocities and misdeeds by mankind – wars, famine, pestilence, etc. As a species, we have shown that we are capable of the best, worst, and everything in between. During times of crises, we have shown that we can pull together to help each other (i.e. during the aftermath of September 11, 2001) and act against each other (i.e. Black Friday sales crowd stampede injuries and deaths).
It’s also possible for some folks to idly sit by and do nothing in times of need out of panic, fear, or for whatever reason(s). It’s easy to say what one may or may not do until one is placed in an actual situation and “put to the test”. That is when the defining moment arrives, you are faced with a decision when your life can flash before you, and you are in your own or someone else’s eyes as neither hero nor coward, but simply just human. The outcome may not just be whether you can live with your actions or inaction, but if you can grow beyond what you think you know and/or transcend that one defining moment into a lifetime or lifestyle of creating meaning and purpose in your life or the life of others during the short time we are alive.
Be (mentally) prepared for some folks to (constantly) rain on your parade and even ignore, sabotage, not support your efforts, discourage, and/or disappoint you. In fact, it is not uncommon for others to expect you to lose. While they may believe that they can win, they are not taking any consistent actions to “win” so they end up projecting and displacing their own sense of self-doubt onto you.
Furthermore, let’s be clear. Some folks just may not give a darn about what you are dealing with when sh*t happens because they have their own grappling issues to contend with. Some folks may not help you even if they can. Some folks just don't care, regardless. Therefore, you must see to it that you make things happen when others can’t or are unwilling. Once folks see you winning, they may resent you or jump on the bandwagon. Either way, you must decide that it is up to you to make things happen whether you get help or not.
If you get genuine help from others, consider it a blessing. If you don’t get any help (initially), look at it as an opportunity to learn all aspects of your project(s) or business so that if/when you do form a team, you will already know the ins and outs of what you are working on. It may take a little longer to achieve desired results when you don’t have help when things happen, but positive end results can still happen.
I encourage you to define what constitutes a win or loss for yourself because if you solely leave it up to others, then you may find that you may not agree with their determination and/or be disappointed. It’s also possible that once others see you winning, then they may ruthlessly resent your success. They may not not necessarily and personally resent you, but they may resent the (temporary) failure that they are experiencing and subconsciously assigning to themselves.
It can be frustrating and disappointing if that happens but realize that you must adequately and wisely protect your mental fortitude “by all means necessary” and not allow their issues to impact your willingness to persevere. Some folks believe that it is their job to be mean and hurtful. They may be wounded from their childhood or adult years and unfortunately, it may make them feel better to subject others to what they have been through and felt.
So, decide that you can and will allow it to become your job to not allow yourself to become convinced that you are powerless to smile, laugh, love yourself, and not allow the negativity to permeate your mind, soul, and being. In this case, it has helped me to gracefully deal with mean and hurtful folks by using humor or making humor out of a bad situation.
For example, when someone does or says something to try to ruin my day, I may just smile and tell them to have a nice day or when I am met with an unwelcome demeanor, I may just greet them with “It’s a great day to have a great attitude!” and they usually change or adjust their negative demeanor towards me. Now, I don’t do this to be passive aggressive, but to not allow them access to my inner peace.
I admit that there have been times in my past where I didn’t always handle negative conflict aimed at me well. But as time goes on, I am more self-aware and I focus on self-mastery. I learned my mental and emotional triggers and decide to be in the driver’s seat with them because others may not responsibly handle them with care. Now, there are some folks who may annoyingly test the waters and push your emotional buttons and sometimes, you may have to draw a hard and deep line in the sand and let folks know your position. However, I realize that staying in control of my thoughts and emotions is ultimately my responsibility, which brings me to my last point.
Fact#3: You Have To Take Charge and Be Responsible For Making Sh*t Happen.
If you do not have a learning disability or valid and legitimate reason, then who or what is stopping you from learning or increasing your knowledge? Is it you? We are living in the age of information in the U.S., information is literally at your fingertips with the Internet, cell phone, and/or mobile device with Internet access. You can learn how to enroll into school, college, take classes, learn new skills, watch video tutorials, etc.
Typically, progress involves process and process involves time. We typically must take the time to go through stages of planning, researching, completing paperwork, following up and following through, and not quitting to achieve solutions and results. If you are not rich or wealthy and cannot afford to hire someone to do these things for you and you are unwilling to do it yourself and/or seek help, then it will be difficult or impossible to make anything happen except things like failure, complacency, stagnation, etc.
Stay on top of things that are within your control. Do all that you can when you can because when you can no longer do it, you may wish that you did. Constantly seek knowledge not just about what you like or are working on, but what others like and are working on because taking an interest in others can make the difference in getting an extra boost when you may need it from someone you took an interest in helping even if you don’t look for anything in return. Do what is within your power yet do not just limit yourself to what you may be able to do. Assertively push pass what you think are your limits (within reason and as long as it doesn't put you or anyone in harm's way). When all else fails, pray if you’re spiritual or religious, and/or seek expert or professional help.
Acquiring relevant and useful knowledge and taking effective actions have helped me to make good things happen. Maintaining my focus and at times, having laser-like focus have helped me to make good things happen. That meant not partaking in pettiness and being a part of trivial and mundane and irrelevant distractions that serve no real purpose in meeting my goals.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have time for entertainment that is different from partaking in being petty. I love stand-up comedy. I love to laugh and laugh hard. I choose to be happy for the most part. It's okay to "play" and be light-hearted, but know when to get back on track and to business.
Practice smiling and laughing more and soon you will find that it will come naturally. You are not faking it until you make it or being phony when you do this so long as you are not being malicious. You are re-learning good habits and it’s been said that practice makes improvement.
Develop strong coping and life skills and decide to become more resilient and resourceful. Choose to take care of yourself REGARDLESS of what issues or problems are on your plate. That means that I get up out of bed if I set my alarm to go off early in the morning (even if I don’t feel like it), do things that are conducive to me meeting my goals (even if I don’t feel like it), and overall, do things that I don’t feel like so that I can ultimately do what I feel like when I want. I do not do what I do for a living solely because of money and rewards, but because I genuinely enjoy helping others and what I do.
So, you now know that sh*t is going to happen regardless of whether or not you are prepared or not. So, what are you going to do about it? Because if you do nothing, you reap nothing, stay stagnant, and risk failure or defeat.
If you decide to do something about it, then start with acquiring useful knowledge, learning the steps you need to take to create solutions, and take the time to execute and work on achieving solutions and results. So, what are you going to do? I guarantee you that if you do nothing and something must be done that you may take an already bad situation and make it worse.
Due to the factors that we may contend with in life such as health issues, others being mean, hurtful, and non-supportive, financial issues, and things of nature beyond our control, we can still genuinely and consistently try and keep trying to succeed. Once we try and keep trying until we succeed or learn from our errors, then we have won. Some other tasks left are to maintain, grow, and help others.
If you are alive, it's safe to say that good, bad, and indifferent things are going to happen. It’s better to work on making things happen and fail (or even fail big and get better, if the risk is worth it) than to not try at all. We lose only when we do not genuinely try and keep trying. Success is simply failure turned inside out and we never lose if we decide to learn the lessons within the failure. Plus, even if we temporarily lose on the short term, we can decide to start over and again and try until the day we die!
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