September 13, 2010.
"He who keeps his cool best wins." Norman Cousins
You're at work. Doing what you do. With things going pretty much the way you want. When, all of a sudden, trouble strikes. Things start to go wrong.
You're at home. You're spending some quiet time with the family. Or maybe watching TV or surfing the web. Feeling relaxed. No real worries or concerns. Then, without warning, a big-time problem rocks your world.
You're out and about, enjoying the day. Perhaps you're doing some shopping or grabbing a bite to eat. When, out of the blue, something unexpected occurs. Something you wish you didn't have to deal with pops up. And it knocks you for a loop.
When something goes wrong, when something's not right, how do you respond? When things start to unravel, do you unravel along with them? When things start to fall apart, do you fall apart too?
When trouble strikes, do you react... or respond to the situation?
"Keep cool and you will command everyone." Justinian
When problems happen, most people have a knee jerk reaction. And automatically revert to their preconditioned default setting. If that setting is losing it, they lose it. And lose it quickly. If their setting is going to pieces, they fall to pieces lickety-split. On the other hand, if they have conditioned themselves to keep it together regardless of the pickle they're in, they keep it together. And start looking for ways to make things better.
What's your default setting? What are you programmed to do when things go wrong? Do you fly off the handle? Lose your cool? Go into a tailspin? Maybe even hit the panic button? Or do you keep your wits? Keep your cool? And maintain your composure no matter what?
Let's be honest; if you're used to getting mad when things go wrong, you get mad. If you're accustomed to getting hot and bothered when problems crop up, you get hot and bothered. If you're used to yelling and screaming when you start feeling the heat, let the yelling and screaming begin. You react the way you react because you're used to reacting that way. If your first instinct is to react badly, you need to change your default setting.
And change it now.
"Every great player has learned the two Cs: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure." Byron Nelson
Here's a quick test to determine your default setting.
When troubles erupt:
Do you stay positive? Or tend to trend in a negative direction?
Do you instinctively start looking for answers? Or automatically start looking for excuses?
Do you like your chances, regardless of the odds? Or do you immediately expect the worst?
Do you remain optimistic and upbeat? Or do you impulsively start griping and complaining?
Do you keep your wits? Or do you lose your temper, lose your mind; basically lose it altogether?
Do you stay in control of your emotions? Or do you go into full blown meltdown mode?
If you don't like your answers, you'd better reset your default mode.
You need to condition yourself to default into a POSITIVE setting, no matter how badly things may appear or may be going. And that takes work. And a great deal of commitment. After all, it's easy to get mad when you don't get your way. It's easy to become fearful when the roof caves in all around you. It's easy to allow your emotions to get the best of you, especially in times of extreme pressure and duress.
DON'T TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT.
Condition yourself to do better, to be better; to take control of your emotions. And take charge of your life once and for all.
"Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always COOL and unruffled under all circumstances." Thomas Jefferson
There's only one sure fire way to get better. And that's get better. And make things better. You've got to rein in your emotions when problems occur and focus ALL of your energy and attention on getting back on track.
The next time difficulties arise, make sure your default setting is a positive, optimistic, I'm going to make it work mode. Don't waste one minute flailing around or going into a tizzy. Figure out what you need to do. Then get busy doing it. And keep doing it until you get the job done.
The Bottom Line: Expect the best. And you'll have it.
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