When Life Knocks You Down

What to do when life knocks you down.  Time to get back up and thrive.Life has a way of knocking us down.  Every single person.  Life hits hard sometimes, and softer sometimes.  But life will knock us down.  Not once.  Not twice.  But many times.

Many people get stuck trying to figure out what it means.  I am more focused on what we do.

How do we keep moving forward?  How do we find our balance again?  How do we face another day?

But there it is, right there.  There will be another day.  The sun will rise again tomorrow.  Which is why we have to decide how we are going to respond when life trips us up and knocks us down.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I discuss how we can thrive through the tough times (even because of the tough times) and find a path through life, even when life bumps us and trips us… even knocks us down.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
Dealing with Depression
Stuck in Loops
Finding Calm in Chaos
Book:  Thrive Principles

 

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Does everything happen for a reason?In recent days, I have been with people in the middle of horrific losses.  Inevitably, someone steps up  and in an attempt to comfort, says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

That comment is rarely comforting in the painful moments.

But deeper than that, is it even true?

Many people default to this as a reaction to something that happens and is outside of our capacity to understand.

Sometimes, we want to think that there is something behind it — not just some random event.  But what does that phrase mean?  Does it mean that some force is trying to teach some lesson?

For many people, the answer is yes.

But does that make it so?

Does everything happen for a reason? Given all that is going on these days, this question seems particularly important.

Let’s chat. . .

RELATED RESOURCES:
Moving Through Grief
Living The Big Stuff with Kristine Carlson

Growth Mindset In The Pandemic

Coping with COVID

2020.   ¯\_(?)_/¯  Am I right?  And we just keep stretching on into 2021.  The pandemic isn’t over, the virus isn’t gone.  And here we still are.

Having a growth mindset in the midst of a pandemic.Thriving?

Stuck?

Research psychologist, Carol Dweck, says that there are two mindsets we can have:  fixed and growth.

In the fixed mindset, we think we are just the way we are.  Our personalities and skills are just a part of who we are.  “A natural athlete/writer/salesman/comedian,” or whatever else.  We just are born with those skills… or personalities.

In a growth mindset, we can learn… grow and change.  We can get better in something we want to improve.  No, that doesn’t mean that anyone can be a world-class athlete.  But if I want to improve my abilities, I can.  If I want to shoot better free-throws, I can practice.  If I want to improve my writing, I can practice.  I can get better through, learning, effort, and practice.

It seems obvious when we look at it that way, but many of us accidentally fall into a fixed mindset, both of ourselves and others.  Experts change their recommendations, and we can either see that as a failure on their part, “wishy-washy” and up to no good.  Or we can see that they, too, are learning and sharing from what they are learning.  Fixed or growth.

And we can also look at how we, ourselves, are learning to shift, pivot, alter, and change our lives in the face of a pandemic.  When we get back to normal, it won’t be the normal of December 2020.  It will be different.  How will we shift?

RELATED RESOURCES
Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset
Podcast on Growth
Podcasts on Coping with COVID

Clean and Dirty Pain

Which one are you feeling?

CleanDirtyPainAnyone who tells you that you can go through life without getting hurt and feeling pain is either lying or hiding.

Life is rough-and-tumble.  Pain is unavoidable.

But there is a type of pain that we can leave behind.  That is more a result of our own thinking than anything external, any injury either physical or emotional.

Call it “Dirty Pain.”  Which is distinguished from “Clean Pain.”  Clean pain, that is the initial hurt.  When you hit your foot, it hurts.  That is the bodily response to the injury.  When someone says something to you that is mean and spiteful, your feelings are hurt.  That is the emotional pain.  It is initial.

But what if you chastise yourself about your being “clutsy,” or about your “stupid action” that led to that foot injury?  Or what if you made that hurtful comment about you, and not about the person who said it?  What if you kept dwelling about it?

Let me be clear:  it is fine to ask how you might prevent an injury in the future.  It is fine to listen to feedback from others, that might give you some insight into things you need to change.

It’s the next step after that.  When you keep berating yourself.  It’s when you take the next step… you attach to the pain.  Buddhism refers to that as suffering.  You and I can think of it as “Dirty Pain” (a term coined by ACT – a mode of therapy).  It is dirtied by our own mental state — not the cause of the pain.

What do you do about that?  We discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Life Is Tough
Letting Go
What You Can Control
The Forgive Process Book

How to Break Out of a Rut

Stuck in a rut?  How to break free in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.We all have times in life where we just feel… stuck… in a rut.  Life on repeat.  Another day, another week, another month, another year clicks by, same ol’ same ol’.

That is the definition of a rut, just moving forward on a path of least resistance, unable to change direction or shift focus.  A rut.

For many, this pandemic has been one big rut, stuck going forward, time passing by but little changing.

Can you get free from a rut?  Can you break out of a rut?

Yes, you can!

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I explore the nature of a rut, deciding if you are really stuck in a rut (or just resting), and how to break out of the rut.

Listen in below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Order, Disorder, Reorder
Changing Limiting Beliefs
The Thrive Journal

 

What A Year!

Coping with COVID Series

What a year it has been!  The effects of COVID on all of us.What a year!  It was one year ago this week that I was on my last business trip.  I was at an event with my publisher.  Already, we knew COVID was out, and knew it was gaining steam.  Other countries had already gone into lockdown… and the US was on the precipice.

While I was away, my wife and I were coordinating with our adult children, trying to make sure we could get them to our home before travel was locked down.  That weekend, both came home.

We thought it might be a number of weeks.  They were thinking two to three.  I was thinking a month or a bit more.

That ended up being months on end.  They spent more of 2020 in our home than in their own places.

The economy screeched to a halt, trips were canceled, schools were closed.  And our medical system started to strain, faltering under the weight of one illness closing off some areas, while filling others.

It seemed like every day, there was some new shift, new discovery, new point of vulnerability.  And in its wake, we, as a country and a world, strained to cope.  The grief poured out in anger and despair.  Some continued their grief in the world of denial.

And still, the numbers climbed.  Families lost loved ones.  Spouses lost partners.  The world lost citizens.  To the point that we could no longer truly comprehend the numbers.  Some people recalculated by throwing caution to the wind.  Others recalibrated to a life in isolation, hoping that was safe.

One year later.  What a year!

Oh, and it isn’t over!  Although there are plenty of places and people trying to move on, we are still in the midst of a crisis.  While there is a place, in the not-so-distant future, where we get back to a life much more similar to a bit more than a year ago, we aren’t there yet.

And we are also now seeing that the pandemic will not end equally.  It hasn’t impacted citizens equally, and the end will come just as unequally.  But it will come.  How do we get there?  I hope together, and I hope a bit wiser.

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I think about the shifts and impacts of this past year.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Coping with COVID Series
Finding or Building Hope
Moving Through Grief

Fears, Thoughts, Beliefs

When we have some fear, it seems to the person having that fear, that the fear makes sense.  If you have a fear, it would seem that fear is real and is valid.  But often — if not most of the time — that fear is at least overblown.  Sure, there are times when a fear is valid.

But since our system is designed to over-fear, we suffer fears that are neither logical nor valid.  Since some fears are legitimate, it is tough to decide what is fair fear and what is useless.

In fact, those fears aren’t just useless, they are limiting.  They keep us from moving forward with living.

David Wood, How our beliefs (often false) create false thoughts, leading to false fears.In prior episodes, we have examined how our thoughts lead to feelings and fear, that any emotional state can be tracked to thoughts you are having, independent of reality (although it may reflect some reality).

So, in this episode, David Wood returns to examine how beliefs affect and create our thoughts.  Which leads to the fact that our emotions and fears and their roots in our beliefs.  Beliefs that may not be true.

But how do you test a thought, to see if it is real?  How do you examine a belief, to see if it is valid?  David pushes the envelope with an example, and follows up with a clear protocol for testing beliefs and thoughts.

Listen in below.

RELATED RESOURCES
David’s Website
Tough Conversations episode with David
Playing for Real episode with David
My 4 Step Process to Change Limiting Beliefs

Beginning

Three years ago, at the age of 51, I walked into the jiu jitsu gym.  I wasn’t returning to some skill I learned when I was younger.  I was starting fresh.  As a beginner.  To be honest, I had some idea about what jiu jitsu involved… but I had no idea on how to participate.

I was a beginner!

The fact is, every accomplished person in every single field started the same way.  As a beginner.  It is an unavoidable part of starting anything and learning anything.  And at that point, you don’t even know all the things you don’t know!

Interview with Tom Vanderbilt, journalist and author of the book, Beginners.This is the first discovery of mastery.  The NOT knowing of everything.  So that you can start learning.  It is what the Zen masters refer to as “The Beginner Mind.”  It is the natural state of beginning, and a good mindset to nurture throughout life, even as mastery comes in other areas.

Which is why it is interesting that many adults hit a point in life when they are unwilling to start new, to become the beginner.  And unfortunately, that cuts off the path of growth.  It holds us back from new experiences and new learning.

My guest on this episode is Tom Vanderbilt, accomplished journalist and author, and intentional beginner.  His recent book, Beginnings, recounts Tom’s decision and path on learning some new skills and interests.  He decided to learn to play chess, draw, sing, juggle, and surf.  He even learned how to make a titanium wedding band to replace the ones lost learning to surf.

In this episode, Tom and I discuss the process of learning, the Beginner’s Mind, why we struggle to reengage with beginning, and how to do it anyway.  We also discuss the powerful advantage to the learning process, straight through adulthood.

Tom’s book is a must-read, since growth and learning are Thrive Principle skills for thriving people.

Listen in below.

RELATED RESOURCES
>>Tom’s Website and Book Info<<
Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
MORE Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
Even More Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
Still Even MORE Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
The Growth Mindset
Growth Mindsets for Tough Times
The Power of  a Challenge
Learn or Learn

 

From the Projects to Ping Pong

Profile in Thriving

Wally Green, world class table tennisHow does a young man from the projects end up playing table tennis in North Korea… on a diplomacy mission?

How he ended up there is not much different than how Wally Green ended up in Germany, becoming a world-class ping pong player, after leaving his gang past behind.

I “met” Wally on a Zoom call with lots of others and knew I needed to have him on Thriveology.  I wanted to talk with him because he had a  handle on thriving.  Not because he was making life look easy.  But because he was taking life on.

As a child, Wally was faced with domestic violence at home and gang violence outside.  Even though he threw himself into sports as an escape, he didn’t escape gang life.  As he noted, it was a matter of survival.

But guess was really saved Wally’s life?  Table tennis.

How did he get there?  Because he broke a stolen pool cue.  And he took out his frustration on someone playing table tennis.  One thing led to another… and there he was in North Korea.

Really, Wally is the one who needs to tell the story.  And he does, as I interview him in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  You can listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Wally Green’s Website
Your Resilience Muscle
Damaged, Resilient, or Thriving?

 

Ease <==> Dis-Ease

Finding your ease when the days are filled with scary stuff.  Don’t let the fear keep you from thriving.“So, I guess it is pretty tough to thrive these days, isn’t it?” a friend remarked.  He was assuming that, in order to thrive, life must be going well.  Everything in place, and everything humming along.

Sure, those are nice days.  And yes, they represent easier moments.  But thriving is not just about having things go well.  It is possible to thrive, in spite of what life is throwing your way.

Or maybe because of what life is throwing at you.

And wow, life is really throwing it at us these days, isn’t it?  Yesterday marked the one year anniversary since the first COVID case made it to the States.  We’ve been living with that virus now for a year.  Then throw in the economic struggles, thanks to the virus.  Then toss in a little political struggle, some social unrest.  These are challenging days!

And if we aren’t careful, we can let media (social and otherwise) keep us hyped up on fear and dread.

Or we can find our place of calm.  Our spot of ease.

In this episode of Thriveology Podcast, I cover the space between Un-Ease, Dis-Ease, and Ease.  How to make the shift.

RELATED RESOURCES
The Coping with COVID series
Dealing with Stress
Finding Calm
Better Breathing

Starting Your Day Strong
Ending Your Day Better
My Books on Thriving