When All Else Fails, Use These 4 Techniques September 27th, 2016

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.     ~Marcel Proust

The way we look at life determines the value we get out of it.  Too often we are driven by a self-imposed sense of failure.  We forget that failure is an event, not us.  There’s a story that I first read in Bandler and Grinder’s book on ReFraming.  You can find it here.

The story is of a Taoist farmer living in a poor land.  His neighbors would praise him for being able to own a horse.  He would only comment by saying “Maybe.”  One day his horse ran away.  The neighbors expressed how unfortunate it was that he no longer had no horse.  The farmer responded “Maybe.”  It was when the runaway horse returned with more horses, that the neighbors rejoiced.  The farmer replied “Maybe.”  The farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses, but was thrown off and ended with a broken leg.  The neighbors were saddened, and the farmer replied “Maybe.”  Then, officers came by to take all the young men in the village off to war.  They could not take the farmer’s son because of his broken leg.  The farmer replied “Maybe.”

This shows how there are different ways of seeing.  Wayne Dyer says it well:

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

Here’s how to see difficult situations differently:

1. It’s not about you – Usually our first reaction is to take bothersome situations personally.  Actually, one’s behavior says more about them than it does about you.  The best strategy to take when unclear about a situation is to ask for clarification.

Anais Nin said: "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are". 

2. There’s usually a situation where what seems disturbing can be appropriate in a different context.  Everything has a benefit in a different context, even when we don’t understand it.  We become angry when a reckless driver pulls aggressively in front of us, yet what we may not know is that he is on the way to the hospital where his child was in a serious accident.

3. Find the positive contexts for your situation                                                                           What seems as a mistake or a failure could be a sweet victory.  It’s how we learn.  It’s how we grow.  You say something to someone and later regret it.  Years later, you learned that the statement changed their life.  The farmer in the story above was quite a model for the villagers who saw things differently.  Search for another possible meaning to the message you are perceiving.

4. Change your core belief                                                                                                           Changing core beliefs can be difficult to master.  The longer the belief was held, the harder it is to change.  Sometimes it can be even difficult to discern what the core belief is. Spend time looking for where the emotion of the belief comes from.  This will give a clue to the source of the belief.  For more information, read this dynamic article for how to change core beliefs.

In this Ted Talk video, see this heart-warming story of how a mother changes her perception of her child with Down’s Syndrome.  

Master the art of looking at things differently.  Believe that what does not go well may have some unknown benefit to either you, those around you, or even to mankind.


Walk a New Path

Wood Bridge


"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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