A Nobel Laureate was once asked what he attributed his success to the most. Tongue in cheek he replied, ‘Learning how to fail’. And whilst emerging from lockdown might not win us any Nobel prizes, the skills needed for both are exactly the same.
As we found when we went into lockdown, relieving our anxiety meant changing our priorities and learning to keep things in perspective.
Coming out of lockdown, now gives us the opportunity to forget all we have learned about the importance of adapting and once again go back to trying to control everything around us.
Remember, none of us will ever give up our irrational behaviours as long as there is any chance that we can make them win for us.
However, if we want to be successful in emerging from lockdown, Adapting will mean once again giving up trying to be in control and to do that, we must first learn how to fail.
Most of us like to think we are in control of our lives. When faced with situations, our first reaction is usually to try to change our circumstances. However, if we find that we can’t change our circumstances and are forced to adapt, most of us struggle.
Because bad things don’t happen all of the time, we are able to plan aspects of our day. Achieving our goals, gives us a sense of stability, providing us with an illusion of security which has a ripple effect throughout our lives
When things go the way we want, we don’t feel anxious, which leads us to mistakenly believe that we are in control.
However, this is a fallacy. As we all found out, life has a nasty habit of pulling the rug out from under our feet. As we emerge from lockdown, we must once again learn to adapt rather than try to take back control.
I remember been told one time that we have only three fears in life
- We will lose what we have
- We won’t get what we want
- People are going to find us out
As we all all emerge back into the world, most of us will go right back to demanding that things must be the way we want them to be, 100% of the time.
Once again, we will end up reacting to everything that happens in our lives, trying to get it the way we want it to be. And that is just not possible. We may succeed from time to time because that’s the nature of life, not because we’re in control.
What’s worse, the more control we look for, the less control we find until eventually this is all we can see. Infiltrating through most of what we do during the day, until eventually we feel our lives are out of control. Driving our anxiety and making us miserable, once again.
Is there an alternative??
However, imagine for one minute I created a world for you, where in order for you to feel that you are ok, you didn’t have to control anything, What would it be like? Now don’t fall into what we call the dichotomous trap. That is, it’s either black or white, where you believe that either you are all perfect or all failing, with no in-between.
You see the knack of living is NOT achieved by getting things the way we want, The knack of living is accepting the imperfections of life WITHOUT GETTING ANXIOUS.
My experience over the years has been, that if you practice coping with life as it is, rather than how you demand it should be, then the better your quality of life shall be. And the better you get at it, the more your anxiety looks after itself.
For some reason much of what bothered you before, just doesn’t seem to bother you as much.
So as we emerge from lockdown, we have a choice. We can go back to worrying about all those things that we worried about before, and that never came true OR we can practice accepting life as it is, changing the little we can and practising adapting to the rest .
Grow has a wonderful slogan which states.
‘We need to accept been discontent in lesser things, in order to be content in greater things. So, we learn to be content to be discontent in many things’
Learning to cope with the lesser things is where we need to start. This means putting up with many of the minor frustrations in each day, without trying to change them.
It’s important to start with these little things as if you don’t have the skills to deal with these, then you won’t have the skills to be able to cope with the greater things when they go wrong.
So try a few exercises before you are let loose on the world again.
- Put a big dob of butter and jam on the kitchen table and leave it there for 48 hours
- Slow down on the road and don’t pass out any cars
- Toss a coin over many of the little choices you have every day
By introducing these simple exercises into your life, you will gradually start realising at a very deep emotional level that the less control you try to exert over your life, the more control you actually feel you have.
By not trying to control everything, you can focus all your energies into influencing the few things you need to influence. Feeling IN control without having TO control.
So, if you want to make a successful transition from lockdown to life again, learn how to fail and practice not sweating the small stuff.