"Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” Kobe Bryant
I have heard over and over again that the times we are living in are like no other. And that’s true. We have never lived in this moment before. We have never experienced these EXACT experiences before. Global pandemics, yes. Racism and injustice, yes. Political unrest, yes. But there has been no moment exactly like this one before. In these “unprecedented times” we can feel overwhelmed with many challenges before us.
Every day we are faced with challenges. Some are expected. Some are unexpected. How do we overcome the current challenges we face, whatever they may be? This is a question we must ask ourselves, not only in “these times”, but every day. I believe we must first bring awareness to our thoughts. We have on average over 50,000 thoughts a day! And while we can’t notice every thought that crosses our minds we can stop from time to time and bring attention to our thoughts so that we take note of what tape we are playing.
As humans, we are wired with a “negativity bias.” Ever notice how you dwell on that one “criticism” that someone offered as feedback for growth instead of the ten positive things they said about you? Negativity bias. Ever notice how you latch on to the one thing you “failed” at versus the major accomplishments you achieved? Negativity bias. Knowing when you are focusing on negative thoughts is crucial to overcoming obstacles and challenges. And even though we are wired with a negativity bias we can rise above these limiting thoughts! As Earl Nightingale said, “You become what you think about.”
We will experience many challenges throughout our life. This is a fact. Knowing and accepting this fact can help us to find ways to bolster our strength, courage, and resilience and help us to reach deep within to find a power we did not know that we possessed.
When I look back at my 20’s I was in a failed marriage and a mother to my young son. I was miserable and felt like a failure for staying in a marriage that did not reflect who I was or my values. I was hopeless and afraid. And even though I knew that I had to leave the marriage I didn’t know how I would survive as a single mom, let alone be able to flourish. At first, all I could do was think about all of the negative thoughts that I had about getting a divorce. But then after some time of loving support and encouragement from my then sister-in-law and dear friend and family, I began to open my mind up to the possibility that I could leave my marriage and begin again. I started reading self-help books and doing work on myself. As I began working on myself my mindset shifted and I began to open up a well of personal power that I never knew existed. And one day I got the courage to leave. What happened next was not without challenge. In fact, things got worse before they got better. But with each passing day, I slowly began to focus my energy on positive thoughts, surrounded myself with people who believed in me, and started doing things that brought me joy. Looking back at this time in my life I can see all of the ways that I grew.