Remember everything happens for a reason. Hitting rock bottom is an indication to self-reflect and an opportunity to rebuild yourself. You feel lost and there’s no way back, however the universe can work wonders and it is not over when you think it is.
The past 6 months were one of the hardest times of my life. Friendships that were false and toxic, a family relative passing away; it was a tough time for me and my family. Life took an interesting twist after I had just settled into a different city with a new job. With reasons beyond my control I found myself stuck in another city and so desperately wanted to come back.
It was at this point that I would describe as hitting rock bottom. I grew an attachment to people in the world that are going through much worse than me; my wake-up call. I learnt that even at the point where you feel your weakest things can change for the better.
I was able come back to my home city after gaining success. This is the iceberg illusion, that we all have a story deep down underneath, success isn’t what’s seen on the surface, it’s the lessons we take that defines our journey.
Here are some important lessons that I learned from hitting rock bottom:
1. Trust the journey
When you encounter failure, it is important not to bear regret. Don’t lose enthusiasm; your last chapter has not been written. It is ok to panic about big life decisions and yes visualizing the end goal is great, however attention must be given to developing a concrete understanding of acknowledging that it is ok to fail at times.
When I hit rock bottom it opened up so many questions. I began to question my ego, my purpose, my belief, is this the right path. Life had taken a new turn, an unknown force shifted my mind and I examined everything in detail and soon an opportunity came; a foundation to a new beginning.
3. You learn to let go
It is ok to say no. Don’t rush committing to a decision. When you’re young and hungry it’s very easy to be swayed a certain way. As you mature you learn so much and you’re able to let go of specific things as you know probably from the outset that it won’t add value to your journey. When you do let go it creates an opening to ideas, people, and hidden strengths and capabilities.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey
You accept responsibility instead of relating to excuses and negative attitudes. A maturity level is reached to accept outcomes, identify weaknesses and create a solution focused behavioral state to progress further. This provides you an element of control; you created this hole and now you can get yourself out.
5. Distance yourself from negative people
I began to see who really stuck close to me even during my tough times. You cannot expect to live a positive life if you’re hanging around negative people. Negative people affect your energy levels because doubts are planted in your head. Honestly, they don’t deserve attention, so focus on you and let go of toxic relationships. When you let go do not feel guilt do it gracefully. It is the guilt that draws many people back. The right people make you feel comfortable.
6. Inspires you to take action
In my experience, it triggered this profound fighting spirit to chase what I really needed. The irony in that when I was feeling the weakest that I became stronger. I accepted my situation and drew courage to take further action. However, this action seemed connected with the universe, it seemed right; the timing was right, I felt driven. There is nothing to lose, you’re in this and I can do it!
7. Life experience
Your outlook on life changes because you know what it feels like to experience tough situations. You know that life is a process and nothing comes easy and you develop wisdom and patience, which is a lesson to others. One of the powers I gained was to visualize success even when I was going through struggle.
8. Human connection and belief
I am human, I can make mistakes, we are not perfect. You are drawn to human needs. We all have struggles and this starts communication with other humans; shared stories, similar journeys, which makes us realize that the human spirit is unbreakable.
“Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.” – Barbara Bush
9. The only way is up
Every step is a “positive step”, even if you feel nothing is changing. Crawl, walk, fly, do what you must do. Every action counts for something. Don’t let people judge your downfall. Show them a reason that you’re the person that came through a storm.
10. Simplicity will help you move forward
Hitting a low point overwhelms you with compassion, humility and it makes you grateful for what you have. Little means so much more. Simple things like your good health, having enough money to be content are things to treasure.
Greatness will come with patience. You are great person. You have it inside you to take on all challenges. Let’s get ready to achieve more. Don’t you dare give up!
What are some lessons you’ve learned from hitting rock bottom? Please leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?
When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?
As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?
Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.
Let’s park this one for now and we will come back.
Categorization is essential to our survival
There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses.
The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.
An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.
In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.
When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting!
Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.
- lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin
- lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin
The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.
Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored.
This amazing skill has its drawbacks
As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.
Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)
Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.
This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.
Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.
The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people?
We can overcome unconscious bias
Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals.
Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms.
Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds.
The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals.
What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!
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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)
Decision and Failure: Deciding That Failure is Not an Option
Nobody likes wasting time, money or opportunities by making a bad business decision. We can certainly identify what “bad” looks and feels like, however we should be identifying what the “win” looks like too. Too often we focus on the bad, which puts us in victim mode that perpetuates a scarcity mindset which leads us directly into becoming frozen or stuck. (more…)
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