Overwhelmed by the threat of the ongoing recession?
In Africa, we have a lovely though terrifying expression.
When we up to our armpits in crocodiles, it’s hard to remember that our goal is to get to the other side
What do we do when we are surrounded by crocodiles? Ignore them ~ they’ll have you for lunch. Scream – a stress reliever that accomplishes nothing?
Threat captures 100% of our attention
The threats of job loss, business failure, mortgage default etc and boring etc have become very real. For everyone. These are the crocodiles. They grab our attention and we can think of little else. At best, we hope they will go away.
Well they won’t. Like crocodiles, they have found us. We didn’t find them! They are not going away unless we make them! And right now they are taking over our entire lives.
Reclaim your attention by labeling threats as threats (not goals)
The trouble with crocodiles, and recession-type threats, is that they are so scary, we completely forget our goals, and indeed that we ever had any at all.
The mental trick to claiming back our attention and capacity to think straight, is to label a threat as a threat. Neutralizing a threat is not my objective. Fighting crocodiles isn’t the goal (for most of us). Getting to the other side is our goal. We need only to neutralize the threat to getting to the other side ~ not neutralize the threat itself.
Go it? This is how it works. When we label a threat as an annoying distraction, we focus all our knowledge, knowhow and strength on sorting it out, and sorting it out quickly. When a crocodile threatens us, we get over our initial panic and we poke our fingers in the crocodile’s eyes . The crocodile is neutralized sufficiently and get on our way to the other side!
Pick our battle ground and have the battle it promises
It’s still a battle, of course. We could lose. We will get hurt. We are still frightened. So it is heaps smarter not to play in crocodile infested waters in the first place!
If we am going to, and sometimes we have to, sometimes we find ourselves there by mistake, then we’d be very wise to keep a sharp look out for predators and to be ready to paddle into the deep water they don’t like. The battle goes not to the swift or the strong, but ye who thought ahead and pays attention?
We must also be prepared to have a fight, win quickly, and not worry to much about it when it is over. There is no point in ranting and raving about crocodiles when they are a part of the very life that we have chosen.
They are there. Deal with them. On their own terms, not in terms of some fantasy.
Deal with them as threats to be neutralized sufficiently to be on our way.
On our way!
Which is . . . which way? We have been so busy fighting crocodiles that we have forgotten!
Do an elementary SWOT on the back of an envelope!
- T = Threats. You know those. That’s all you’ve been thinking about lately. The crocodiles that threaten to eat us up.
- W= Weaknesses. You know those. All the little things you’ve been angsting about. All our worries about crocodiles are bigger than us! The things that are out of our personal control.
- S=Strengths. You have a canoe and you know the crocodile hates deep water. You read books and it doesn’t! What have you got going for you? List every small thing at our disposal.
- O=Opportunity Where is the opportunity? Have you forgotten? Where is the opportunity in a crocodile infested river? Look around and spot it. Get there! Now!
And poke out the crocodiles eyes. You are bored with crocodiles now. They are just at threat. They are not our purpose.
Don’t forget your goal is to get to other side!
A long recession
This recession is going to go on for a long time. Live your life anyway. Get on with it! Pay the recession as much attention as it needs just as you pay the crocodile as much attention it needs. Then go on your way!
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