Rise to the Occasion

When you face a challenge in life, you more often than not have the choice as to how to react. You can stand in awe, crumble in futility or rise to the occasion. In my experience, life’s difficulties are better met with gusto than distaste.

Every difficulty successfully met tends to produce: 1) some new element of understanding, 2) a new reserve of character and/or 3) an aperture into a new level of consciousness. Even failures reward you with a measure of personal growth. The nature of the circumstances is irrelevant; the way you carry yourself in them is paramount.

Most people are so busy reacting to their circumstances that they overlook the lessons to be learned as they pass through them. I’ve found, for instance, that crisis situations teach you a lot about the people around you. Crises throw into relief a man’s strengths and weaknesses and if you are concerned as I am to uplift all that you touch, such information is invaluable.

Your reactions are more a matter of habit than a foregone conclusion. They can be shaped over time, so if you don’t like how you tend to react to challenging situations, know that you can change your approach. It may take time and you will likely progress by fits and starts, but don’t give up…it can be done.

The first step to making such changes is to be honest with yourself about the way you acted or are acting. Ask yourself: “Which feelings am I giving the most weight to?” and then “Which constructive feelings could use more of my conscious attention?” Once you’ve made this determination, give it your best shot. Take new ground and don’t look back.

The second step is to hold fast that which you’ve gained in the process. Don’t squander your victories. And if you do waste them through petty reaction, absentmindedness or some other foolish splurge, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, pick yourself up, wipe yourself off and move quickly in the new direction you’ve set for yourself after reading this post.

And don’t forget to share your experience with this process in a comment or an email! I’d love to hear about it.

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4 Responses to Rise to the Occasion

  1. Carmen says:

    Upon thinking about what you have written above, I realized that I act in situations from a formed pattern, which must have at one time been thought necessary for my believed survival. The only way that I thought I could react. So that I set that way for such a period of time, that the reaction became a habit, but only that. I had totally forgotten that I am no longer that person, in that original situation, that I now have different paths to chose from. And the important thing here for me, is that I realize that I have a choice to be different, to act or response in a more beneficial way for my self, and who ever shares the event with me. The choice is mine to make always. May I learn now to chose the higher behavior!

  2. Isabelle says:

    excellent advice, thank you

  3. Zach says:

    I find that the habits built within myself during the everyday times really sets up for how I will react during a time of crisis. While it is hard to fully replicate a critical point during a noncritical time, you can use everyday circumstances as a kind of test scenario that might have less ramifications if something is done wrong. For instance, if you have the habit built that you should start working on a problem immediately rather than get paralysis by analysis in a small problem at work, chances are that some of that habit will reinforce other skills if there is an emergency in that area.

    This is why it is important to never stop challenging ourselves. In life, there is no cessation of movement. Either you are getting better or you are giving in to entropy.

  4. Coco says:

    One of the attitudes that I find helpful when facing challenges is to act as if you’re the one the success will rest one, even if you are playing a seemingly smaller part. We really don’t know the significance of any part, so play it like yours might be the linchpin. Better to really never know how vital your part is than to find out because you failed to do it. Great post Gregg, thank you.

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