Boxer Rubin Carter “Huricane“, at the height of his career in the mid-1960s, was falsely accused of triple homicide. Amazingly, he was sentenced at the end of his trial to 3 life sentences.
Instead of cracking as many would have done in this situation, Carter knew that he kept what they couldn’t take away from him, even though his physical freedom was being taken away from him.
Even though he was angry and angry about what had happened to him, he understood that his anger was not constructive. He refused to break down, to get angry in his corner, to despair, and he didn’t let it get to him. He refused to accept visits, refused to wear the uniform, refused to apply for parole or refused to work in the stewardship to reduce his sentence.
His sole purpose and all his energy was reserved for his court case. He took the opportunity to learn by reading history, philosophy and law books. He was going to come out of prison not only free and innocent but better.
After 19 years and 2 trials, he got out of prison without claiming damages but simply resuming the course of his life.
He had made a choice about how he would perceive it and how it would affect him.
We have seen the pandemic, the bursting of two financial bubbles, the collapse of entire industries and the disruption of many lives. Unjust situations where people are annoyed, angry, afraid and discouraged. But are they right ?
Not necessarily ! It is possible to perceive things differently and to stop seeing “problems” in an absolute way.
We can learn to see things as they are
We lose sight of our goals because we often react emotionally. By letting certain unnecessary ways of perceiving things invade your mind, you become confused and allow your mind, reason, actions and will to be constrained.
Even if the obstacle doesn’t seem so impressive, we quickly decide that we’re screwed! And if it all falls apart around you when you can’t take it anymore, ask yourself these questions :
- Should we ignore it ?
- Should I look down ?
- Should we pull ourselves together and refocus ?
- Do I try to dispel this bad impression ?
The more you panic, the more mistakes you make. From then on, you disregard the rules by ignoring them, you ignore the systems and you deviate from your original plan. When you stop thinking clearly, you become indifferent.
It’s the same thing when you have to address the crowd and you’re paralyzed by stage fright. When you have to face a customer and your heart is pounding. No matter what kind of dangerous situation you find yourself in, stress will potentially release your basic fear instincts.
A lot of things happen to us involuntarily. There is always someone who will try to intimidate you, evaluate you, shake you up, put pressure on you. Someone who wants you to think and act on their own terms. Are you going to let him do that ?
What story do you tell yourself in the way you perceive things ?
Our perception is the way we perceive what is happening around us and decide how important these events are. It can be a strength as well as a weakness. If we are subjective, emotional with a lack of long-term vision, we risk amplifying our problems.
It is a great advantage to see things simply, straightforwardly, as they are. That is, neither good nor bad. While others may be overexcited or frightened.
Where some see a problem, others see an opportunity. Nothing forces you to lose control, to remain in despair, to live in fear and to remain powerless. All these are just functions of your perception. Others see reality with objectivity.
We all have some kind of biological baggage. Our brains have evolved to adapt to a very different environment than today. We’re always ready to detect dangers that no longer exist. Think of the cold sweats when you find yourself stressed out by your finances…
Click HERE to find out which manager you are “In your relationship to money, which manager are you ?“
Also, you may want to get your claws out or run away when your boss admonishes you. Even if you sometimes feel like it, there is little chance that violence will get the better of you, that you will starve to death. Indeed your safety is not really threatened.
For each situation, we have the choice to crack or to resist. No one can force you to believe or abandon a desperate or impossible situation.
Our perception is the factor that we have total control over
No one can control our thoughts, beliefs and reactions even if we are thrown in jail, deprived of our possessions. We are never completely powerless. Even deprived of almost everything, we still have a space of freedom because our mind always belongs to us.
Our perception leads us into an arbitrary choice to judge events as good or bad. A situation may not be negative for one individual but positive for another.
There is no right or wrong unless one’s opinionSHAKESPEARE
We are complicit in our perception of creation as well as in the destruction of our obstacles. It is only the story we tell ourselves and its meaning.
2 possibilities are open to you :
- either you take advantage
- either succumbed to anger or fear
Nothing prevents you from not approving when your mind tells you something terrible, unexpected and negative. Even when the situation seems desperate, it may not be.
We decide what story we’re going to tell each other or if we’re going to tell each other a story.
Checking your perception for opportunities
To avoid being overwhelmed by your environment, you must learn to moderate your passions to limit their impact on your life. It takes discipline and a certain talent to :
- avoid falling into misperceptions
- know how to distinguish lures
- filter out preconceptions, expectations and fears
All our lives we are confronted with obstacles whether they are just or unjust. But each time the most important thing is how you perceive them. So your reaction will determine how you will overcome them because you will have kept a cool head.
We keep the choice of the answer to this or that situation :
- Either you allow yourself to be blindly led by your baser instincts
- Either you can try to understand them to learn how to filter them
The discipline of perception clearly leaves room for advantage and action to deal with your problems without fear or panic interfering.
You have the super-power to be able to control, channel and understand your signals. On the other hand, you risk remaining a slave to your impulses and instincts, which you will never question.
You must perceive an opportunity in every disaster to turn this negative situation into a learning experience.
Any event presents an opportunity to move forward, even if we didn’t anticipate it.
You should keep in mind the following, when an obstacle seems insurmountable to you, you should try :
- to control your emotions
- to see the bright side of the problem
- to be objective
- to stay calm
- to come back to the present moment
- put into perspective
- to focus on what you can control
- to ignore what limits or disturbs others
Click HERE to find out how to react to the criticism “Criticism – how to react to it ?“
Thus, you will use your process based on self-discipline because you already have this logic. All you have to do is put it into practice.
By changing the way you perceive things, it is a chance for you to see through the defenses and learn a lesson that can only be learned through experience.
Experience becomes training
No one says that in the challenge of acceptance will be easy. Even if the stakes are high, there is a path for all those who are willing to take it. This implies for you :
- prepare you for the realities of your situation
- to keep your cool
- to do your best
- to toughen you up
- Eliminate negative elements as they arrive
- to persevere in the effort as if nothing had happened
- to practice not to panic even though it’s not easy
In everyday life, obstacles make us emotional. The only way to overcome or survive them is to keep control of our emotions.
To keep your cool you can say to yourself :
I can’t afford to panic
And if you’re still worried, ask yourself :
- What am I choosing not to look at right now to get a clear head ?
- What am I going to miss after I succumb to worry ?
If you need to take a moment for yourself, do it ! No one forbids you to cry. You shouldn’t pretend your emotions don’t exist. Your strength lies in your ability to control.
By deciding for yourself, according to your own criteria, you have much more control over your lifeNASSIM TALLEB
Does this obstacle prevent you from acting with generosity, justice, self-control, mental health, honesty, prudence, humility and frankness ?
2 answers to this question :
- No, because I’ve trained to deal with this situation and I can keep my cool
- No, because I pulled myself together and I realized it’s not constructive
Now that you know how to perceive your opportunities, you can get back to work 😉
To go further…
Ryan Holiday In : The Obstacle is the Way: The ancient art of turning adversity into opportunity [Online] Paper book format available on : < https://amzn.to/38AUc8q >