We are going over the 4th Principle – Falling Up, from The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor. The tagline is, ‘Capitalizing on the Downs to Build Upward Momentum’.
After reading through the chapter again, I’d summarize it by saying this is about experiencing setbacks, roadblocks, failures and any kind of adversity. After taking some time to adjust and reflect, you look for the positive and find a path that takes you forward or ‘up’. I believe most of us do this, but some of us may shift our mindset faster than others to a recovery. Because if you don’t recover, the alternative is staying unhappy.
In other words, we are rewriting or reframing, in our minds, what has happened in order to grow and go forward. In times of adversity or crisis, there are 3 paths (paraphrased from the book):
The Path Up
1. Keep circling where you are and make no progress
2. Tell yourself things won’t get any better and will probably get worse.
3. Find a way to rethink your situation and resolve to grow and even succeed.
“It’s not the adversity itself, but what we do with it that determines our fate.”
Thankfully, not many of us have experienced true catastrophes, affecting us physically or economically, but we probably know someone who has. Living in Oklahoma, I’ve seen many torn up communities caused by tornados – houses that were torn off their foundations. I’ve worked cleaning up property that was tornado ravaged and it’s amazing to see a fence picket driven through a wall next to some dishes untouched by the storm. After the initial shock, communities and people bounce back, rebuilding and coming closer to their families and neighbors because they’ve gone through this tragedy. Somehow, they found something positive or motivating and they rebuilt.
Nick Vujicic is a man who was born with no legs and no arms. He is now an inspirational speaker that shares his life story with whoever is willing to listen. He has turned his situation into a positive and can relate and motivate others to look at the glass half full. This link will take you to his Ted Talk. This is a powerful example, isn’t it?
Finding Your Path Up – Suggestions
1. Change your counterfact. I don’t know if Achor coined this word, but to define it – it’s when you invent something that explains or resolves a situation to your brain. It’s really just taking something negative and looking for something positive out of it.
2. Change your explanatory style. This is how we choose to explain past events. Most of us have probably lost a job in our past – I know I have. At first, it’s devastating and I needed time to process what and why it happened. After some time, I could see some positives and saw an opportunity to try something new. I selected a new path.
3. Define your ABCDs:
- Adversity-the facts of what has happened
- Belief – our reaction to the event, why we think it happened and what we think it means for the future
- Consequence – do we think the result will be a spirling downward or can we find something positive to bring us back up
- Disputation – it’s when we dispute or challenge our beliefs. If we believe a situation is just horrible and we’ll never recover, then we should dispute or challenge it. When the despair hits, give yourself some ‘pity party’ time, but then give yourself a talking to and tell yourself that although things may be bad now, how will you feel about it in a year, in a few months?
Achor says, ‘The human psyche is more resilient than we think”. I believe this to be true. How many times do we sympathize with someone who’s going through a tragedy and we say to ourselves, “I could never handle this”. The reality is that most of us can handle what life throws our way – what’s the alternative if we don’t? I believe some may recover faster than others – that’s where our personal beliefs and faith comes in. For me, I rely on scripture to help me though tough situations…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
James 1:2-3 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Can you think of a time where you overcame by using some of these techniques? Leave a comment. If you think someone could benefit from this article, use one of the sharing buttons below to easily share!