Overcoming Challenges Real & Imaginary

Overcoming Challenges Real & Imaginary

Overcoming Challenges Real & Imaginary

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the secret to overcoming challenges & difficulties and The Worry Buster Technique.

First a quick update:

“Who told you that you can succeed?”
Do you believe you have what it takes to succeed? Even more importantly, do you believe you are allowed to succeed? Do you believe that you deserve success? https://www.patrickwanis.com/who-told-you-you-can-succeed/

“7 Steps to finding joy after loss”
Vashon Marie Sarkisian is author of “Finding Joy After Loss: My Seven-Step Journey of Transforming Grief into Joy.” Watch the video.

Now, let’s talk about the secret to overcoming challenges & difficulties and reveal the Worry Buster Technique.

No matter what advantages one has in life, there will always be difficulties and challenges. The key to overcoming them lies in the mind.

“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” – Theodore N. Vail

The above quote, from Theodore Newton Vail, a 19th century U.S. telephone industrialist, serves to remind us that there are 2 kinds of difficulties – the real ones and the ones that we create in our minds. The latter difficulties (the imaginary ones) create more problems and exacerbate the existing problems.

When we imagine difficulties, obstacles, problems and challenges, we create stress, worry, doubt and fear. We can argue that the act of imagining difficulties also stems from worry, doubt and fear. Thus, it quickly becomes a vicious cycle.

Worry is simply negative imagination. It is the use of our imagination to create (visualize) a painful or negative outcome.

We constantly and often unconsciously use our minds to imagine outcomes.

What outcome do you imagine when you think about a vacation, meeting, job interview, or some other future event?

Is it a positive outcome or a negative outcome?

Do you see yourself winning or losing?

Athletes and successful sports stars imagine winning; they see themselves actually winning and they mentally rehearse the act of winning.

When we create negative imaginings, not only do we create stress, doubt, fear and worry, we also set ourselves up for failure.

The use of negative imagination is similar to sending yourself a message to expect failure which then, adds the emotions of fear, doubt, worry, nervousness and anxiety. In turn, those emotions impact our performance – they impede our mental and physical responses and capacities, thus almost guaranteeing a bad outcome.

It is also true that based on studies, 96% of what we choose to worry about is actually irrelevant:

  • 40% of what we worry about never actually occurs
  • 30% of what we worry about already occurred in the past and therefore we have no control over it
  • 12% of what we worry about are about health and needless
  • 10% of what we worry about are petty things
  • 8% of what we worry about are actually substantial, and only 4% of those were out of their control

The act of worrying prevents us from using our full capacities and capabilities. It is one thing to say, “What is the worst thing that can happen? Let’s be prepared and prevent that from happening.” And it is another thing to say, “I expect the worst to happen, so why bother anyway? Why even try?”

The first step to overcoming imaginary difficulties is awareness. Become consciously aware that you are using negative imagination to visualize the wrong outcome. Remember, too, when a person expects a painful response, he will automatically look for a way out (avoid the pain) and will often choose to take no action. Thus, if you are planning to approach someone (for a date or a job opportunity) and you expect failure (rejection) you will approach it with tainted emotions or you will simply decide to do nothing to avoid pain.

Do you actually have control over the outcome? Yes, you do. However, depending on the actual event, you might only have limited control. Can you control what the other people involved will do? Probably not. You can control your thoughts, responses and behaviors. You can control only what is within your realm. If you focus on trying to control the others, then you will create more worry, anxiety and stress.

Once you are clear about what you can and cannot control, focus on what you can control and break it down into small steps or small chunks to make the task easier and less daunting or overwhelming.

Focus Positive
You recognize that you were using your imagination to visualize a negative outcome. Now, choose to consciously imagine a positive outcome. Remember, positive imagination only becomes fantasy if you choose not to take the right steps to build and realize a positive outcome. When you combine positive imagination and visualization with appropriate action and effort, you can achieve the desired outcome. Focus on the solution.

Given that there will always be unpredictable events in life, here is another conscious approach to neutralize worry: The Worry Buster Technique.

The Worry Buster Technique involves four simple steps:

1. What
What are you actually worried about? Define your worry clearly in writing.

2. Outcome
What is the worst thing that could happen? Determine the worst possible outcome in writing.

3. Acceptance
Be willing to accept that the worst might happen, and resolve to accept the worst possible outcome should that occur

4. Action
Take action. Begin immediately to set in place steps and action to prevent the worst from occurring. In business, this is called the Minimax Regret Analysis (minimizing the maximum regret)

This technique is effective because the worry is no longer vague – it is specific and you are able to respond with calm thought and strategies because you have accepted that you will be OK even if the worst happens, and, you are taking concerted, planned action to prevent the worst from happening. Now, you are back in control of what you can control.

Remember, only you are in control of your mind and thoughts. Use them wisely!

If you need assistance to overcome an issue, gain confidence or free yourself from a past event, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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