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Dear Lifelines: Giving Up

Dear Lifelines,

I feel like such a failure. Everything I do just doesn’t turn out right and I feel like giving up.

Giving up

Dear Up,

Sometimes, if you look at life as a series of lessons or mini experiments, it helps you get through those times when nothing seems to go right. Some are big lessons, some smaller. Sometimes we get the largest lessons from seemingly insignificant situations or bumps in the road. When you do something and it doesn’t give you the result that you were expecting, just look at it this way: you just learned how not to do something. You never have to relive that situation because you tried that experiment with those particular variables and it didn’t give you the result you wanted… so, next time you can try a different technique with new variables.

If you look at it that way, you are able to de-personalize the situation and not blame yourself or the circumstances or anyone else for that matter, but instead look at the result as feedback. The key is to remember what you did to get that undesirable feedback and then move forward and trying something new so you get a more favourable result. Odds are, if you keep getting the same undesirable result, you are likely using the same technique and need to get creative. Take risks and try something new.

An example might be when you constantly seem to be late for work. Not only might it be annoying to others and result in a poor work evaluation, but you also feel rushed and frustrated in the process. So you try getting up earlier, but that doesn’t work (first negative feedback), then you try setting your clock 5 minutes fast and that doesn’t work (second trial), so then you get even more creative and set the oven timer to make sure you can be alerted to get out the door leaving you enough time for a coffee run. If that works, you have just resolved that one issue and can move on to another experiment!

So when you are in that space of being disappointed about something that’s happened in your life, look back and analyze what steps you specifically took to get yourself there. Make a mental note of those steps, because now you are going to avoid taking that same pattern of steps or you will find yourself with the same negative results. You can’t expect to get great results by using the same methods that messed things up time and time again in the past. Do you get the picture? It’s time to grab hold of your life and take a new direction by trying different strategies. Life is more in the planning than in relying on good luck to get you by.

“You cannot change the outer event, so you must change the inner experience. This is the road to mastery in living.” Neale Donald Walsch


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