What is a circumstance or event that affected you? We all have one of those defining events in our life that we look to and we turn to or sometimes from. What was yours? Do you have that moment in mind? I would like for you to think about that particular event, study it in all its ugly glory. It may have been a time you experienced abuse by someone you trusted, or it may have been that discovery that you were good at wielding and you actually felt complete when you were joining two pieces of steel together.
We all have one of those defining events in our life. So many people talk about how those events are good or bad. I want to take this time to address these life-changing circumstances, and hopefully, I can help you change how you view those negative events and possibly shining a different light on them. I want to expose you to a completely different approach to looking at those events both good and bad and hopefully turn them into growing experiences.
Events are not good nor bad
What?! How can I say that when you know for a fact that you have been to hell and back and you have the t-shirt to prove it. If I knew the mental anguish that you went through fighting in Iraq. So many of your friends died or were wounded in some of the most gut-wrenching ways. You would know that those events were bad. There is no gray zone about it, it was a horrible ordeal to go through. With that, I would agree. You viewed that experience correctly. The event you experienced and conquered was bad in your eyes.
Look at the people on the other side of the battlefield. I bet every time they killed people who they thought was the enemy they celebrated. The same as to when one of their men was killed they were devastated. You can look at this in every event. Was the event good or bad? All events are neutral until you apply thought to it. After you have an event happen to you, then are posed with a choice. You can take the event as a growing experience or as a victim experience. It is the whole Fixed or Growth mindset.
If you were to be robbed at gun point, you could look at it as a victim, I was just minding my own business and out of nowhere this worthless POS shoved a gun in my side and said empty my pockets. Then he shot me and took everything.
Then again you take that experience and learn from it. You now know don’t walk in the area of town after a certain time of night, especially if you are unarmed. You could also claim responsibility for your actions you were walking in the “bad” part of town. You argued with the guy. Maybe you even tussled with him. While all of those are choices were made by you. You can still take that experience as a good ex part of town. You argued with the guy. Maybe you even tussled with him. While all of those are choices were made by you. You can still make that event a good event if you choose. There are several different examples of People being robbed befriending their robber.
Another example is not as traumatic and that is when you are your friend go to a movie. You walk out thinking that the movie was the greatest piece of cinematic art ever made and your friend that is was alright. You saw the very same film at the very same time but you have two different outcomes.
So, events life-changing or otherwise are not good nor are they bad. They are completely dependent on what you think of them. How you think affects whether you want that event to be a learning experience or a traumatic experience. Yes, you read that right you can make that experience mean what you want. It is your choice.
Events Are Learning Experiences
You can view an event as bad or good. We now know that it depends on the type of thought you apply to that circumstance. How did so many Jews make it out of the death camps in Germany and Poland and still overall have a positive outlook on life? The survivors of the Dustbowl were known for always looking to the future. What thought was being applied to your latest experience? What circumstance did you have that you were faced with a choice?
There are two different types of mindsets. Some folks call it an abundant mindset while others call it a Growth mindset. However, you slice it you have the ability to look at the bad side of the event or chalk up the experience as an opportunity to grow. You are able to become a better person, a more interesting person, especially when you take an experience and you examine it with curiosity and learn from it.
Your Ability to respond or Response abled
Do you react or do you respond to the circumstances? Many people simply react. That knee jerk reaction that is associated with something bad. Perhaps you respond to an event. You acknowledge it happened you understand how bad or tremendous it was. You then extrapolate all the important bits and learn from that whole experience.
How you respond to a circumstance it is your choice. Many people don’t want to even acknowledge that an event happened and whether they understand it or not they are making a choice. You are capable of responding. In fact, you are response abled. I have plagued my kids with the analogy that responsibilities are a lot like a bull. You can dodge your responsibilities all you want. Eventually, that bull will catch up to you and you will get a horn. It is better to face a responsibility head-on and learn from that event is better than suppressing it. Letting it fester and build up. If you don’t face it and learn from that experience you are causing other problems. If you take a victim mindset to an event you are dodging your responsibility to learn and grow. That bull will manifest itself in other ways.
People suppress these events in many common ways. Either they become a dipsomaniac or turn to drugs, overeat or develop anxiety. In suppressing the growth and learning these other forms are actually worse off than the original event. You are destroying your liver, your mind, Your body or even your soul. To get out of the victimhood and start learning all one has to do is take responsibility for their actions. To do that is easily said tough to master. When something happens, own your dirt.
I had a coworker who at one time accidentally put a large amount of sand on the ground because the bin he was unloading into was full. He was new, so we helped him to get shut down and told him to let the sand coordinator know that he was putting the sand on the ground. This guy actively refused. I flat out said no I am not going to get in trouble because of the Sand Coordinators screw up.
I told him he was right so that is why he needs to tell the coordinator. He wanted to just finish in another bin. Me and other guys told him not to. So as the other guys kept him busy one of the other guys went and told the coordinator the problem. When the coordinator showed up and let a new guy know that the bin he was unloading into was for completely different sand. Our new guy took offense of use bringing the coordinator know. He wanted to be the victim in the event when in reality he made himself out to be the wrongdoer because he refused to take responsibility. So he got in trouble and was not destined with the company for much longer.
So how do you change your outlook on an event?
Even if you were playing the victim with a particular event in your life you can always change. You can have mindset shifts and decide that you want to grow from your experiences. You can actually have Post Traumatic Growth instead of Post-Traumatic Stress. The key was mentioned before, you first have to take responsibility for your actions and your involvement in the event. Are they always in your control? Well, it depends on how you look at it. It can be yes or no. The results are entirely your choice. Yet if this is your first time trying to change how you look at an event, here are 3 ways tips on changing how an event affects you.
Look at the bright side.
This one is tough but doable, especially if you are often viewed as a pessimist. You will have to fight against the habit of being a Debbie downer and practice looking on the bright side. Anytime something you view as bad happens to make a list. List everything that is good about that event. If that is too tough then try a gratitude list. Write down everything you are grateful for about that event. You can’t stop till you have 3 items written down. Don’t worry about how dumb they may sound to you. You want to take baby steps. You are not going to be the Dali lama overnight. It is a lifelong endeavor.
Eventually, you will start getting to the point that you will see the positives before you see the drawbacks. Once you do that you can teach me how.
Ask yourself Quality questions
Ask yourself quality questions. We often will ask useless questions like why am I so fat or why am I such a doofus? The reason these are useless questions is that your brain is designed to find answers. So when you ask yourself why you are always fat, you brain will go to work telling you why you are fat.
So instead ask quality questions.
- What lessons can be learned? – There are always lessons that can be learned
- What could have happened? – Is there anything you could change? If not, then let it go
- What is the worse that could have happened? – This is a great way to look on the bright side.
- How can I see this in a better light? – Let your mind run free.
You don’t have to have the answer appear right away but if you are being troubled by that event ask yourself one these questions and then go to bed. Let your brain figure out the answer.
Take Full Responsibility
This is by far the best way. Take full responsibility for your actions. Yes, you had a choice to walk down that dark alley. Yes, you chose to walk into that club. It is easy to shrink back to your old ways of feeling sorry for yourself and wanting to blame others. So you have to gently redirect yourself back to the truth, which you had a hand in what happened.
The way you take responsibility is first you refuse to ever blame anybody else. You own your dirt. Many people have a scarcity mindset of taking the blame for your part. Yet when you take responsibility and at times fall on your proverbial sword, the people you answer to often will give you a lot more leeway. They know that people mess up. They make the wrong choices. As long as you learn from those events you grow and your bosses like that. Fessing up to your mistake also builds trust with people. If you are late you could blame traffic or you could say I was late. You have more respect if you are truthful and honest.
You can do this by saying I am responsible. It was my choice.
Events are just those events. How you view them is what makes all the difference. So if you want a better life change how you view the different events in your life. The events are there for you. Take them to use them as fertilizer and grow because of them.
So what was the defining event in your life? Are you brave enough to share it in the comments below? How did it define you? Was it viewed through the lens of a victim or did you acknowledge that it was your own doings? How did you have a hand at setting the chain of events off that lead to that life-defining moment? Share with us in the comments below.