I saw an interesting quote from Tony Robbins recently. He said, “Make a decision today that can immediately change or improve the quality of your life.”
It reminded me of some recent conversations in which the people concerned felt stuck or trapped in difficult situations either in their businesses or personal lives.
The main problem is that the sense of ‘stuckness’ typically doesn’t derive from the situation itself but rather from the thinking around actions that we believe we need to take in order to get out of it and, crucially, the projected or imagined consequences of taking those actions.
You know what I mean; the task seems too big, the action seems too drastic, the difficult conversation will be a major confrontation. And the perceived consequences are that the partnership will break down, the business will collapse, the family relationship will end, you will invite confrontation and aggression, legal action will be a certainty, the marriage will be over, someone else will be upset, and the list goes on. The result is that you stay stuck because it is seemingly easier for you to ‘suck it up’ and accept the pain and discomfort, rather than encounter one or more of these situations.
The fact is that when our present level of pain is less than the imagined level of pain potentially caused by doing something to address the situation, we do nothing.
I will say that again:
“When our present level of pain is less than our imagined level of pain potentially caused by doing something about the situation, we do nothing.”
This results in a scenario whereby, for many of us, we only take action when we are forced to and usually, by that time, the actions are too late and ironically, the consequences that we feared actually occur.
But there IS a different way, the way suggested by Robbins in the quote above.
If you take the pressure off yourself and stop trying to solve the situation in one go and just ask yourself what is the smallest thing I can do to change or improve it, you will come up with something because there are always things that you can do.
It could be something as simple as talking to someone about it, because sharing a problem can, in itself, create or reveal a solution, as well as just getting it out of your head. Journaling has a similar effect. Asking someone’s advice can be helpful, be it a friend or a professional, such as a coach or mentor. Researching the topic, be it on the internet or reading a book, can add value and clarity to the mix. And there are many other things that you can do if you take the pressure off and give yourself the freedom to think and come up with just one small thing.
You might say, “What’s the point? I will be no better off. Those things don’t fix the problem.” And you might be right. But neither does doing nothing about it other than worrying, stressing or complaining.
But I would argue that these small actions do change things ever so slightly. They mainly change your perspective. Your knowledge of the subject, your awareness of how others might have dealt with it, your understanding of what causes the situation and perhaps other insights all contribute to a different outlook.
The coach, Steve Chandler, references the philosopher, Colin Wilson, in many of his writings when he talks about the Ladder of Consciousness. At the bottom rung of the ladder, Wilson says that we see things from a low down perspective, it’s like we are in a maze and cannot see our way out, given the low vantage point.
Once we move up even one rung of the ladder, by taking some of the small steps mentioned, we see things slightly differently. We are looking down on the obstacles and problems and the shift in our perspective can show us a clear route to the exit without having to bulldoze our way through the impediments and create the trail of destruction that we imagined and feared and kept us stuck in the first place.
So there is no need to continue being in stress and pain and there is also no need to do anything drastic to change it.
There is a way through by following Tony Robbins advice. Make a decision (a small decision, I might add) today that can immediately change or improve the quality of your life.
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