Changing Yourself to Deal with Difficulty

As leaders, but even just as workers in the “real” world, we all experience difficult situations that make us react negatively. Is it as easy as think positive thoughts to deal with those situations?

Blogger Tony Schwartz wrote today on the Fast Company leadership blog about the ways we can change ourselves in order to deal with these inevitable occurrences.

Our core emotional need is to feel valued and valuable. When we don’t, it’s deeply unsettling, a challenge to our sense of equilibrium, security, and well-being. At the most primal level, it can feel like a threat to our very survival.

Tony offers three ways that we can try to look through a different “lens” on our reality.

The Lens of Realistic Optimism. Using this lens requires asking yourself two simple questions when you feel you’re being treated badly or unfairly. The first one is “What are the facts in this situation?” The second is, “What’s the story I’m telling myself about those facts?”

The Reverse Lens. This lens requires viewing the world through the lens of the person who triggered you. It doesn’t mean sacrificing your own point of view but rather widening your perspective.

The Long Lens. Sometimes your worst fears about another person turn out to be true. He is someone who bullies you unreasonably and seeing it from his perspective doesn’t help. She does invariably take credit for your work.

Thinking of how the situation affects you and listening to the other person to try to find out why they are acting the way they are can be very enlightening. It may require time and patience, something most of us have little of, but it is definitely worth a try.

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