Are you sucking lemons or making lemonade?

by | Sep 16, 2018 | Change | 0 comments

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances” Victor Frankl

Coming though stressful circumstances stronger and more able to deal with the future comes seemingly naturally to some people and is a struggle for others. Stress is after all a balance between how challenging we perceive a situation to be and how equipped we perceive ourselves to be to meet it. 

While 50% of happiness is said to be influenced by our genetics, only 10% of our general happiness is down to the circumstances we find ourselves in (it really isn’t going to miraculously change long term if we buy that new car). The remaining 40% is completely due to how we react to life. Realizing this small fact, has changed the way several of my clients lead their lives.

Trying to control situations that you have no influence over is a sure way to increasing your blood pressure. However, identifying what you can control in any given situation is a useful task. 

Here are five things that are definitely under your own control.

What you eat

A healthy body, really does lead to a healthier mind. Take a good look at your current diet, is there anything that could change to give you more energy and improve your wellbeing? 

Your reactions to events

Are you taking things too personally? Are you open to listening to other opinions? Are you taking life too seriously, or not seriously enough? If you find you are dismissing another point of view before you have looked at all the possibilities, you may be missing out.

Imagine you have never seen a peacock and a friend tells you how beautiful they are. You have the opportunity of seeing one in real life but it has its back to you. What you see is this:

Now you have two choices – take what you see as the only point of view and dismiss your friend’s opinion completely, or take the time, making the effort to look at it from a different angle to see what others see. 


How much effort you put in

On the subject of effort… Will putting in a few more hours in the short term mean that project will be finished on time? Will the gains be worth that extra time or energy?

Only you can work out what is needed to achieve your goals, be they set by others or your own personal dreams. This is heavily linked to the next item.

Your priorities

I have heard so many people say “I know I need to to this, but I just haven’t got time to do it” when what they mean is that they have prioritized other things. Ask yourself, are you prioritizing short term pleasures over longer term gains? When life is full or our wallets are empty, we can often think we don’t have the resources to do something another way, but in reality we may just need to work out what we can do differently to achieve what we want from life.

Change, by definition, means that things will not be the same. There may be compromises to be made. One thing is certain though, if you do not prioritize your goals, and make the changes you need to, achieving them is far less likely.

What you believe

We have all heard of the placebo effect: that patients can get better just by believing they will. Self-belief is a key factor determining how much effort people will put into pretty much everything – whether they can improve their time running a lap of the track, or whether they  get their next promotion at work. If you tell yourself that you can’t do something, the chances are that you won’t. However, if you believe that you can, even if it is not today, but when you have practiced, learnt a new skill, put that extra bit of effort in, you are giving yourself an immediate boost. 

So how can you change your attitude to life for the better?

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