Turn it around

When British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was asked what the greatest challenge for a statesman was, he replied, “Events, dear boy, events. The same is true for most leaders, organizations but also for ourselves.

Events happen to us, are part of life. Some are wonderful, others hurt. Life can be turned completely upside down. We always have a choice as to how we deal with this. What touches you during this event? What helps me is the following question, “Is the event that happens to you a situation or a problem? Indeed, by asking this question you can begin to see your annoyance differently. 

Problems have solutions. The two belong together. If we experience enough trouble we can find a way to solve a problem, it may cost more money, require more effort or involve more risk than we would like. If we identify what is causing the actual problem, then you can make that problem go away.

When a problem affects us, we can use what bothers us as fuel and find the energy needed to deal with it. We can turn the moment into curiosity and solution-focused attitude.

Situations have no solutions. That's why we don't call them problems. It may be that what causes the situation makes it impossible to do anything about it. You simply have no control over it. You can only mitigate the damage. With damage control, you can attempt to minimize the direct and indirect damage through an appropriate response. In short, you are involved in the situation but you have no direct influence on it.

And if you find yourself in a situation that affects you tremendously? Completely off balance and with the necessary negativity? Dealing with it this way is a choice. If this attitude helps you, you certainly don't have to do anything with it. If you do suffer from negative emotions, looking at the situation differently is something that definitely helps. Because getting irritated or other negative feelings are based on expectations and the stories we tell ourselves. We can always change our story if we try. Every situation that happens to us teaches us again and again that we have no influence. What you do have influence over is how you react to a situation. So focus mainly on the things you do have control over and with everything else tell yourself the other story.

PS: with the free Eisenhower Canvas you can quickly gain insight into what really matters. 

Ruud Olijve

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