Connect with us

Life

4 Ways You Benefit From Going Through a Dry Spell

Published

on

Dry Spell

Whether you’re creatively blocked or your usual motivation or inspiration has left you, one day you will wake up and find yourself in a dry spell.  You’ll realize you’re wandering around in a metaphorical desert and have no idea how you became a worn out crispy critter trying to find shade under the nearest rock.

So once you’re in this desert, what signposts should you look for to point you back toward civilization?  How do you escape the anxiety that comes with being lost, forsaken, and feeling pressured by the pace of modern society to keep up and get back in the game?  You do it by embracing your situation and appreciating the benefits that every dry spell has to offer.

Here are 4 ways you benefit from going through a dry spell:

1. You build resilience

Tough times are an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve accomplished.  You didn’t make it to where you are now by accident; you’ve worked hard, gained wisdom, and have probably helped people along the way.  Now is the time to reflect on those accomplishments and congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come.

Resilience also allows you to gain perspective about your journey.  How has your outlook changed over time?  Where have you shifted your viewpoint as you continued to learn and grow?  Think about how this perspective shift has allowed you to live a different, and hopefully happier, life and where you’ve continued to succeed despite setbacks.

Lastly, time for reflection wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t also take stock of where you’ve stumbled.  Instead of beating yourself up for falling short, look at your stumbles as teachers.  How did you learn to regroup and regain your focus?  How can you continue to use that power to help you get through what you’re experiencing now?

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before.” – Elizabeth Edwards

2. You develop perseverance

One of the most important things to remember in a dry spell is that it may be trying to send you a message.  To go along with all the reflecting you’re doing, you may also need to learn how to better balance your energy and consider different ways of recharging your battery.  In order to come back strong, look at the period of drought you’re experiencing as a time to step back and gain some strength instead of pushing through.

To keep your forward momentum going it’s also important to keep doing the things you do well.  Doing these things will give you a sense of accomplishment, help keep your self -esteem up, and allow you to remain engaged, even as you’re struggling.  

Don’t be afraid to seek out support from friends and ask others for their thoughts on how you can approach your current challenges.  Take comfort in the fact that a dry spell is just that, a spell, not a forever state.  It too shall pass and you will feel better at some point.

3. You learn to adapt

Because dry spells don’t usually appear out of nowhere, by the time you’re ready to admit you’re in one, you’ve probably been wandering the desert for a few weeks or more.  Finding yourself in this new and inhospitable environment will force you to look at the big picture to figure out what may have caused you to go off track.  

Where have you lost sight of how you are rewarded in life?  Where are you out of touch with your bigger why?  How can you reconnect with what you need mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially in order to make peace with where you are and also with where you want to be?

Sometimes dry spells happen because you know you need to shift but you’re resisting the change.  Other times, you find yourself wandering and alone because something isn’t quite “right” but you can’t put your finger on it.  In either case, the message is always that you must change.  With change comes risk, but sometimes change is inevitable.  Your willingness to change is optional.

“The more you adapt, the more interesting you are.” – Martha Stewart

4. You learn hidden lessons

The ultimate benefit of being in the uncomfortable and often exhausting state of desert dwelling is the opportunity to learn hidden lessons.  The first place to start is by looking for illusions you have about yourself and your situation.  A dry spell signals a break; a break in your normal ways of thinking and being.  

Where are you adding complexity when you should in fact be simplifying?  Where are you making up rules for yourself when you should be letting go?  Where are you too unstructured when you should be thinking more linearly?  What message is your dry spell ultimately trying to communicate to you and how can you become a better version of yourself by learning the lesson and honoring this message?

By shifting your mindset to one of welcoming vs. one of shunning a dry spell you can help yourself not only survive but actually thrive and come out with increased awareness and knowledge about your situation.  

Instead of focusing on the frustration and discouragement of the short term, shift your focus instead to how this time can help you in the long term.  Being in a dry spell isn’t permanent, it’s an opportunity to rejuvenate yourself and gain a little wisdom along the way.

What did you learn from going through a dry spell and how did it benefit you in the long run? Leave your thoughts below!

Brooke Davis is a Certified Wellness Inventory coach and writer. She is the founder of Roots of Abundance, an online personal development company, where she helps mid-career women manage chronic stress, overwhelm, and burnout. Learn more about Brooke at www.rootsofabundance.com or on Instagram at @rootsofabundanceco.

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Joseph

    Nov 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    This article came to me at the perfect time. Currently fundraising to get my career off the ground as an entrepreneur and motivational speaker. Raised thousands of dollars and then stopped out of no where. I became complacent and didn’t know how to get out of my dry spell. I’m just now coming out of it and definitely see a lot of the lessons and roadsigns this article has pointed out. Great article and lessons to be learned. I know for my self, I didn’t chamge or leave my dry spell until I left my immediate environment. Change of environment challenged me and brought me much needed insight from my previous environment.

  2. Anthony

    Nov 17, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I really appreciate this piece of write up on managing and gaining from dry spell.
    These cardinal actions mentioned are very key and fundamental for one to attain an expected response to dry spell.
    It is generally believed in Nigeria that her economy is in recession, it is even in line with global business reports.
    Such situation is a dry spell for the country but my experience so far in dealing with the current realities of of recession has proven that these four actions can help one out of such situation.
    Such an external force that create stiff surving atmosphere for businesses and individuals alike is not under the victims control.
    These principles have provided a concrete platform for sustenance and going concern, in my experience as a retail store manager
    for a local telco company in Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values

Published

on

www.kellycatalfamo.com

Who am I? The ultimate question many of us try to answer. When I think of values, I think of Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, “Les’ Miserables”. In Hugo’s book, Jean Valjean, is used as a protagonist to highlight the power in redemptive love and compassion. Valjean goes into prison for stealing a loaf of bread, entering as a simple and decent man. His time in jail seems to have an unrepairable effect, where he emerges from the chain gang as a tough, bitter criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

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.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. 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!

Continue Reading

Trending