Having a positive outlook on life is great in theory, but unfortunately, life happens to us all of the time. Disappointments, miscalculations, and even just random acts of annoyance are sent our way every day to try us. We can’t get away from it. But what we can do is prepare ourselves to deal with daily setbacks, so that they don’t become daily disasters.
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The first port of call in overcoming daily setbacks is to evaluate the situation as they happen. Here are some useful questions to ask yourself:
- What is the problem?
- Is this an issue for more than just me?
- What’s the worst that could happen?
- How will this impact me/us/them/the world?
Once you’ve taken a closer look at the issue, you might already start to feel better.
Vent the feelings
In today’s world, we’re taught to embrace the good emotions. The problem with this though is that it can lead us to bottle up our not-so-good emotions. This is never a wise move. If you want to move past feelings of anger, frustration, hurt, etc, you need to let them have their five minutes of airtime.
But, after you’ve let them out, you need to let them go and move on. Hanging onto these negative emotions will mean that you are stuck obsessing over this daily setback for far too long…perhaps forever.
Confront your emotions
Right, you’ve let your emotions out to have their moment in the spotlight. It’s time to inspect them before you ask them to move on. This can be done in a few different ways, depending on what works for you.
Some people keep a journal, which helps them work through things. Perhaps you meet with a life coach or therapist or even lean on a friend to discuss these things with. Some people like to talk to themselves in the mirror or write a letter to themselves or their problem. Do what feels right.
Take a break
If you’ve ever had your computer crash on you before you hit ‘save’, you’ll understand the value of taking a break from the situation. Whether it be going for a walk, making a cup of tea, or even shifting your focus to a different project, taking a break can help you to not only work through the above points but also give you time to cool off.
Get to the root cause of your emotions
We’ve talked about dealing with feelings that are an indication of a bigger problem before (see this note on patience). You have to inspect your feelings and use the questions you answered during the evaluation of the setback to help you pinpoint the root cause.
Am I angry about this because it will negatively impact other people’s perception of me? Their ability to love me? Is this frustrating because it will mean I let people down? Does this setback mean that my life’s purpose is in jeopardy?
Take some time to figure these things out. The result might be that it’s not as big a setback as you originally feared.
Create an action plan
Now that you’ve dealt with the emotional aspects of your setback, you can begin to allow your brain to take back control of the situation. How can you rectify the situation? Does it mean a change of plans? Or perhaps a deadline to be pushed out?
Knowing what to do next to move beyond the setback not only makes you feel better, but also allows you to regain power. Part of the frustration of daily setbacks is that you can be made to feel powerless and as though things are out of control. Taking the time to change your plan can do wonders for not only the outcome but also your self-confidence.
Learn from it
Is there something you can learn from this setback? If so, that’s great news. There is nothing quite as annoying as running up against the same brick wall multiple times. If you don’t change the way you run at it, you’ll keep hitting it.
I know this seems like a long process, but the more mindful you become, the faster you can move from feeling anger and frustration to pivoting your plans.
Eventually, you’ll come across a setback, and be able to have a new plan within minutes! What are your best tactics for dealing with daily setbacks?