“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”- Theodor Seuss Geisel

You are either living a storm, going through a storm, or entering a new storm. Whatever would go wrong would always go wrong (Murphy’s Law). Life happens to all of us. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: ” The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”- Viktor E. Frankl

Life is a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, twists and turns; sometimes you are down, sometimes you are up, sometimes you want to smile, but the tears come rolling. At one point in our lives, we are going to be faced with challenges and tribulations. There is no trouble-free life, life is in seasons, and whatever is happening to you right now, it has not come to stay; this too shall pass.

The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red light called Enemies, caution lights called Family, You will have flat tires called Jobs, but if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, a driver called willpower, you will make it to a place called Success.

It might be losing your loved ones, losing a job, getting a divorce, losing a pregnancy, waiting to get pregnant, failing an exam, feeling stuck in your career/life, feeling depressed, and all the baggage that life always throws at us. Anyone can stay motivated when things are going great, the ultimate test is where you stand in times of stress, tribulation and challenges.

Don’t let success go to your head, nor let failure go to your heart. 

American psychologist & Author, Dr. Martin Seligman, in his great book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, writes about our explanatory style, he studied how we handle setbacks. He writes about the 3 dimensions to our explanatory styles which he called the 3Ps of resilience: Permeance, Pervasiveness, and Personalization.

Who Never Gives Up?

HOW DO you think about the causes of the misfortunes, small and large, that befall you? Some people, the ones who give up easily, habitually say of their misfortunes: “It’s me, it’s going to last forever, it’s going to undermine everything I do.” Others, those who resist giving in to misfortune, say: “It was just circumstances, it’s going away quickly anyway, and, besides, there’s much more in life.”

Your habitual way of explaining bad events, your explanatory style, is more than just the words you mouth when you fail. It is a habit of thought, learned in childhood and adolescence. Your explanatory style stems directly from your view of your place in the world—whether you think you are valuable and deserving, or worthless and hopeless. It is the hallmark of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.

THERE ARE three crucial dimensions to your explanatory style: permanence, pervasiveness, and personalization.

Permanence

  • PEOPLE WHO give up easily believe the causes of the bad events that happen to them are permanent: The bad events will persist, will always be there to affect their lives. People who resist helplessness believe the causes of bad events are temporary.
  • If you think about bad things in always’s and never’s and abiding traits, you have a permanent, pessimistic style. If you think in sometimes’s and lately’s, if you use qualifiers and blame bad events on transient conditions, you have an optimistic style.
  • (John hates me and will never be my friend again” vs. ” John is angry with me today”; “I’ll never be good at math”). 

“Optimistic people explain good events to themselves in terms of permanent causes: traits, abilities, always’s. Pessimists name transient causes: moods, effort, sometimes’s.”

  • People who believe good events have permanent causes try even harder after they succeed. People who see temporary reasons for good events may give up even when they succeed, believing success was a fluke.

Pervasiveness: Specific vs. Universal

  • PERMANENCE is about time. Pervasiveness is about space.
  • Pervasiveness refers to the tendency to generalize so that negative features of one situation are thought to extend to others as well.
  • People who make universal explanations for their failures give up on everything when a failure strikes in one area. People who make specific explanations may become helpless in that one part of their lives yet march stalwartly on in the others.
  • (“I’m stupid” vs. “I failed a certification exam” or “nobody likes me” vs. “Tom didn’t invite me to his party”). 

The optimist believes that bad events have specific causes, while good events will enhance everything he does; the pessimist believes that bad events have universal causes and that good events are caused by specific factors.

Personalization: Internal vs. External

  • Personalization refers to whether one tends to attribute negative events to one’s own flaws or to outside circumstances or other people.
  • When bad things happen, we can blame ourselves (internalize) or we can blame other people or circumstances (externalize). People who blame themselves when they fail have low self-esteem as a consequence. They think they are worthless, talentless, and unlovable. People who blame external events do not lose self-esteem when bad events strike. On the whole, they like themselves better than people who blame themselves do.
  • Low self-esteem usually comes from an internal style for bad events.

People who believe they cause good things tend to like themselves better than people who believe good things come from other people or circumstances.”

It is extremely tough staying motivated and persevering when times are tough, we as humans tend to overestimate how long bad times would last and we tend to think that good times would not last forever. One of the keys to staying motivated is to have an internal locus of control which is the degree to which you believe you have control over your life.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”- Viktor E. Frankl

The moment you take personal responsibility for your life, you realize that no one is coming to the rescue. We get demotivated when we have an external locus of control, which is the degree to which you believe others and external forces have control over your life.

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” – William James. 

I know what you are going through; I can feel your pain. I have lost a parent, lost a cousin, felt sick, lost a job, been really down; it is tough. I know that feeling: When times are bad, we forget that they will be good again, and when times are good, we forget that they would be bad again. The key is always to have perspective, give gratitude in whatever situation you find yourself, keeping pushing and always remember this too shall pass.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion,

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