We face new challenges everyday, both big and small. Your boss gives you a new project with an incredibly short deadline. You can’t find a parking space at the mall. Bad weather knocks your power down for a few days. Regardless of the event, the natural response is to feel crappy and eat Häagen-Dazs until you pass out.
I’m no different from anyone else, and my typical response is to follow the boo-hoo-why-me protocol. But all that is changing with a few mental tweaks.
Creating Productive Rituals
Lately I haven’t been accomplishing the lofty goals I have set for myself. Blame it on moving to the beach, or lack of motivation, or a million other things. At the end of the day, it comes down to habits. I’ve created a series of unproductive habits, and I have put in place a plan to create new, productive daily rituals (thanks to Tony Robbins for this term.) One of these rituals is to write for an hour each night. Another is to drink three liters of water each day. These are small changes, but I believe the benefits will be massive. But I digress…
My latest ritual is forcing myself to find a silver lining in all of life’s grey clouds. Here’s an example:
Recently my town was hit by Hurricane Sandy, leaving hundreds displaced, distressed and down right depressed. I lost my house, my car, and many of my possessions. Clearly, this was a shitty situation. So how did I apply my new ritual? I was probably paying too much for rent anyway, so this gives me a chance to find a more affordable housing option. My car was a lease, and the comprehensive insurance coverage allows me to get into a brand new car with virtually no extra expenses. Finally, I am somewhat of a hoarder with old stuff (especially clothing), and this gives me a reason to finally buy some grown up clothes.
This works on a much smaller scale too. If your friends don’t invite you to the bar, you’ve just saved $50 for that new camera you’ve been eyeing up. Can’t find a parking spot close to the mall? Congratulations on your new commitment to exercise. Give it a try; see how many ugly ducklings you can turn into swans.
Transforming Rituals Into Success
There is a method to all this madness. My hypothesis is that with enough repetition, I’ll train my brain to see opportunities where others only see obstacles. My self imposed ritual will become second nature. The most successful people see the world this way. I want to see the world this way.
How has it worked so far? Its too early to tell, but the results look promising. I’ve noticed that positivity is contagious, and it can light a fire under the people around you. I also feel better about the future, because I know that each day will bring new opportunities (instead of just problems.) My stress levels have also dropped significantly, which reflect on my overall well being.
I encourage you to try this new ritual in your life. Its free, takes only seconds out of your day, and the potential gains can be incredible. All I ask is that you share your results in the comments, or with someone else in your life.