How NOT to Lose Hope in Difficult Times

 

Like it or not, there will be difficult times in our lives. You might lose your job, fail in your business, or have an illness. Whatever it is, it’s essential that you don’t lose hope. You must have hope that you will go through it. If you don’t, you will only drag yourself down. You will enter a vicious cycle where your negative attitude makes the situation worse, which makes you even more negative, and so on.

Don’t let that happen to you. Be prepared for difficult times so that you are ready when they come.

Here is how not to lose hope in difficult times:

1. Have faith.

Based on my experiences, to not lose hope you must have faith. You must believe that things will work out well in the end.

In my case, I believe that God is in control of my life and has a good plan for me. No matter how bad the situation looks, I’ve learned to trust Him, even if I don’t understand how things will work. Time and again, things turn out to be good, often in a way that I couldn’t understand earlier.

Just to give you one example, several years back I failed my Master’s degree at a local university for reasons that were beyond my control. It was a really bad experience, especially given how hard I had been working on it. But I learned to trust God in that situation. That gave me the faith to get through it. Long story short, I eventually got a scholarship at an overseas university that was of much better quality than my previous university. I learned a lot more there than I could ever otherwise.

Experiences like this strengthen my belief that having faith is essential in difficult times. In fact, I believe it to be the most important tip here, which is why I list it first.

2. Remember your “why.”

When you are in a difficult time, you should remember: why do you do what you are doing in the first place? What is it that you are after? Remembering your why gives you the strength to keep going because the cause will pull you ahead. As Viktor Frankl once said: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’”

There are two points here:

  1. Always have a cause in whatever you do. To put it simply, if you don’t have a why, then don’t do it.
  2. Always remember what the cause is. Keep it front in your mind so that you don’t lose sight of it.

To be effective, the cause should be bigger than yourself. A self-centered “cause” won’t work. It must be something that gives you inner satisfaction rather than external rewards. It must be inspiring.

3. Be around supportive people.

Going through difficult times is hard, but going through them alone is even harder. You need a group of positive people who can support you. You should become a part of a community that cares and encourages one another. If you don’t, my suggestion is to start looking for one. Don’t wait until you need it, because by then it will be too late. You need the community before difficult times come.

4. Help others.

An additional benefit of being in a good community is it encourages you to think about other people. It pushes you to help others and, therefore, think about other people. This way you shift your focus away from yourself. As a result, your situation won’t look as bad as it would otherwise.

Often the situation looks worse than it really is because we give it too much attention. Shifting some of your attention away will put the situation in a better perspective.

***

When you are in a difficult time, remember: don’t lose hope. Hope is essential; once you lose it, you already lose the game. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to not lose hope. You can make it as long as you don’t break it.

By Sonia Shrestha

41 Views0
Perseverance in Psychology: 4 Activities to Improve Perseverance

Ways to ImprovE Perseverance

Angela Duckworth argues that growing grit from the inside requires four essential ingredients:

  • Interest
  • Practice
  • Purpose
  • Hope

We must, first of all, follow our passion. That entails discovering what our core passions are. This process involves curiosity, trying new things, experimenting, and actively seeking to develop and stay with our interests.

Then, we have to practice. But we must practice deliberately, by honing in on our weaknesses and Achilles heels, setting challenging stretch goals, and incorporating feedback.

Purpose refers to our desire to contribute to making the world a better place and to helping others. It can be a core driving force for passion.

Hope, the fourth and final ingredient, is related to the belief that our efforts matter and that they can improve our future (Duckworth, 2016).

We can also try to foster perseverance from the outside. As parents, for example, we may wish to signal that we have high expectations and give all the support we can so that our children can reach them. This includes instilling in them a fundamental belief that they can live up to our expectations.

We should also encourage our children to do difficult things that interest them and stay (at least for a while) with the extracurricular activities they have chosen. In organizations, we can try to establish a gritty work culture that is based on similar principles: high expectations, coupled with increased support (Duckworth, 2016).

 

4 Helpful Activities

Resilience, perseverance and passionResilience

The Best Possible Resilient Self is an intervention that invites us to reflect on our best possible future selves.

In as much and as vivid detail as possible, we are asked to imagine that we have achieved everything we wanted after having worked hard for it.

Crucially, this strength-based intervention entails imagining that we have successfully overcome obstacles and bounced back from adversity. It instills a sense of optimism and competency, which helps us push through specific challenges.

 

Intrinsic values

We know that the pursuit of internally rewarding goals results in increased performance and persistence over time (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Sheldon, & Deci, 2004),

If we wish to pursue big, significant life goals, it is therefore highly beneficial to connect with our values and, in particular, our intrinsic values. If we are in touch with our values, they can be highly motivating forces and help us to persist with a challenging life goal.

The Using Intrinsic Values to Promote Goal Commitment exercise invites us to create a values vision board for a life goal that we are currently hoping to achieve.

This goal can be learning a language, gaining a degree, exercising regularly, buying a house, gaining a promotion, or quitting smoking. The exercise asks us to explore potential obstacles, list good reasons for wishing to pursue our aims, and then extract our values from these reasons.

 

Values and resilience combined

Using Values to Build Resilience is based on a similar premise. The exercise seeks to encourage us to manage a challenging life event by connecting with what is most important to us – that is, by connecting with our core values.

Here, too, we are asked to develop specific value-based reasons why we may wish to get through a particular challenge and remind ourselves of what matters most to us.

 

Valued living

Valued Living During Challenging Times, finally, asks us to investigate whether we may have lost touch with personal values in the context of current challenging life events. It encourages us to realign ourselves with these values by taking valued action.

Living in tune with our values – specifically during times of personal stress – is a way of cultivating resilience that makes us better able to cope with stress.

 

Article from Anna Katharina Schaffner, Ph.D.

13 Views0
How Not To Lose Hope In Tough Times

Tough times happen to all of us. No matter how strong or powerful or confident we are, tough times will come: viciously forcing their might on us, causing us to crumble. As mighty as we can feel one day, we can feel just as lost and scared the next. I don’t say this to cause fear, I say it because it’s the truth. The hardest part of tough times is not to lose hope.

I’ve felt trapped under miles of rock, no light seeping through, and the rescue workers weren’t coming to save me. It’s a feeling mixed with loss, fear and deflated dreams.

The amazing thing about life – and I’m never going to understand how – is that as long as you’re breathing, you still have a chance. I don’t care whether you think it’s God, the Universe, or a couple of alien civilizations playing games with us, you always have a chance.

Understand Why You Are Experiencing Tough Times, But Be Grateful For What You Still Have

Telling you to be grateful is almost starting to sound cliché. Everybody says it, yet not a lot of people take the time to do it. It’s easy to get lost in cluttered thoughts filled with decrepit hope and feel sorry for ourselves, so I understand why we generally don’t make the effort to be grateful. But being grateful helps.

 

It pulls you back into the present moment, allowing you to put your troubles on the back burner, even if it’s for just a short time. It doesn’t matter how you choose to be grateful. You can write out ten things right now you’re grateful for. You can sing to the heavens all the beautiful aspects of your life. You can take a big, giant breath, hold it for ten seconds, give it a powerful exhale and yell, “YA! I’M GRATEFUL FOR THIS BREATH.” I don’t care, just be grateful, period. If you’re struggling to come up with anything, remember you are, in fact, still alive. That won’t last forever, so take extreme advantage of it.

 

Remember All The Previous Tough Times You’ve Battled Through And How You Got Out Of Them

You’ve been through your fair share of tough times, am I right? I thought so.

What I find interesting is that you’re still here. You made it through your past tough times even when they probably felt a lot similar to the tough time you’re experiencing right now. Why should this tough time be any different?

Think back for a moment. What positively helped you through? Was it a book, friend, or a family member? Go back to what helped you through the last tough time. Was there something you did that helped? Revisit that.

Personally, James Taylor’s music has always helped me during my tough bouts. It calms me, puts me in a more hopeful mood. But I can get so lost in my struggles sometimes that I forget about Taylor’s music. It’s not until I’m proactive about my struggles that I tap into past sources of inspiration and guidance.

Be proactive and trust yourself, don’t let your tough times control your life.

Embrace Your Tough Times And Explore What Options Exist To Create An Even Better Life

During tough times you can’t give up, ever. Even during the toughest times you must keep your hopes alive by pushing through. Work on what needs to get done, try and build some momentum, and then build on it further.

That last thing you should be doing is quitting, which I slightly hesitate to say because there are some very good reasons to quit sometimes.

If you’re passionate about what you want to do, then don’t quit.

If you’re losing your life because of it, well, you don’t have to quit, but take a break from it and get your life back together.

One of my little secrets with my writing is that I write out of fear. I’m scared to death every time I type up an article or write a book. Am I going to make enough money to support myself, my wife, and my dog? Is anybody going to even read this? Is what I’m writing worthwhile, or is it hogwash? The list of insecure questions goes on and on.

The point I’m wanting to make is: Keep your head up, believe in yourself, and take life head on.

Your tough times won’t stand a chance.

By Daniel CJ Grant

53 Views0
The Science of Perseverance – How Your Beliefs Can Strengthen (or Weaken) Your Motivation

 

Persevere: To persist steadfastly in pursuit of an undertaking, task, journey, or goal, even if hindered by distraction, difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement.

First, the bad news …

When it comes to creating change in your life or achieving your goals, it probably won’t be easy. You may struggle. It’ll likely take longer than you expect. It’s almost certain that you’ll have setbacks and short-term failures along the way. Especially when it involves creating new habits, developing new skills or learning new concepts. This helps explain why most people fail to achieve their New Years’s resolutions.

Now, the good news …

Struggle, setbacks and short-term failures don’t have to drain your motivation. They don’t have to make you want to quit before you’ve put in enough time and effort to reach your goal. In fact, psychologists who study motivation and achievement say it could be just the opposite; as long as you adopt the right mindset.

 

According to decades of research, there are two fundamental belief systems, also know as “mindsets,” that determine how people respond to struggle, setbacks and failure when pursuing their goals. In one mindset, you’re likely to get discouraged and give up on your goal. In the other, you tend to embrace the struggle, learn from the setbacks and keep moving forward – you persevere.

Before I tell you more about these two mindsets, I want to share this inspiring, true story about a boy named Stevie.

How Stevie Became a Millionaire, Bestselling Author

His mother called him Stevie. He fancied himself a writer. He wrote his first story before he was old enough to shave. His mother liked it; said it was good enough to be in a book. A few years later, he sent one of his stories to a magazine, hoping to get it published.

Unlike his mother, they rejected it.

Stevie nailed the rejection letter to his bedroom wall and kept writing. By the time he was old enough to drive, he’d replaced the nail with a spike large enough to hold the ream of rejection letters he’d received since the first. Still, he kept writing.

Ten years came and went, along with many more rejection letters.

Stevie – now a struggling, 26-year-old school teacher with a wife and two children – receives a telegram from Doubleday publishing. They tried to call him on the phone, but Stevie and his wife were too broke at the time to afford telephone service. That was about to change though, because the telegram was not another rejection letter.

Doubleday had agreed to publish Stevie’s first novel – a horror story about Carrie White, a teenage girl with telekinetic powers. They paid him a $2500 advance for the book. Not long after, paperback rights to Carrie sold for $400,000, and Stephen King was well on his way to becoming one of the most prolific and successful writers of modern times.

What Ultimately Makes People Successful?

Image source: This is a Book by Demetri Martin

IMAGE SOURCE: THIS IS A BOOK BY DEMETRI MARTIN

I’m always inspired by stories of how successful writers like Stephen King started out. How they struggled for years. How they endured rejection after rejection, failure after failure, but kept moving forward. Kept honing their craft. Kept chasing their dream.

J.K. Rowling is another fine example. Depressed, practically broke and living on welfare, she was rejected by a dozen publishers before she finally found one to publish her Harry Potter book series. As you probably know, she’s now a multi-millionaire.

success-bookOf course, it’s not just famous writers who struggled their way to the top. If you study the background of any successful person in any field, you’ll often see a long road of struggle, setbacks and failure stretching out behind them.

Maybe these people were blessed with raw talent, intelligence, luck or other advantages the rest of us lack. Maybe they weren’t.

In either case, what ultimately made them successful was their choice to keep learning, keep working and keep moving confidently in the direction of their dreams, no matter how hard it got. What ultimately made them successful was their choice to persevere. As you’re about to see, when you adopt the right mindset, that choice becomes much easier to make.

“When we hear about extremely successful people, we mostly hear about their great accomplishments – not about the many mistakes they made and the failures they experienced along the way. In fact, most successful people throughout history are also those who have had the most failures. That is no coincidence. People who achieve great feats, no matter what field, understand that failure is not a stumbling block but a stepping-stone on the road to success. There is no success without risk and failure. We often fail to see this truth because the outcome is more visible than the process—we see the final success and not the many failures that led to it.”

— Tal Ben-Shahar from Choose the Life You Want

Do You Have a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset?

The Science of Perseverance: How Your Mindset Strengthens (or Weakens) Your Motivation

CLICK TO ENLARGE.
FIXED MINDSET VS GROWTH MINDSET
CREATED BY NIGEL HOLMES.

What do you believe about human qualities, such as talent, intelligence and creativity?

If you’ve adopted a “fixed mindset,” you view them as qualities that you’re either born with, or not, and there’s not much you can do to change it. On the other hand, if you’ve adopted a “growth mindset,” you see them as abilities that you can develop through education, hard work and practice.

How about character traits like self-discipline, grit and willpower?

With a fixed mindset, you believe traits like these are largely static and predetermined by your genes and upbringing – either you have them or you don’t. Through the lens of a growth mindset, you see them as malleable skills that you can cultivate and strengthen over the course of your life (science proves this to be true, by the way).

This distinction between the fixed mindset and growth mindset emerged from the work of Carol Dweck, Ph.D., and her colleagues. Dr. Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has spent her career studying motivation and achievement. In her bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she presents an airtight case that a growth mindset can help strengthen your motivation, even when the going gets tough.

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success; without effort. They’re wrong.

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work … This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

“Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.”

Dr. Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

How the Fixed Mindset Weakens Your Motivation

The human mind is a meaning-making machine. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re constantly monitoring what’s happening around you, interpreting what it means and deciding what to do about it. This is obviously an important process for your survival, but it’s also the main driver of all your suffering – especially when it’s shaped by the fixed mindset.

When you struggle or fail to achieve your goals, you make that mean something about yourself. In the fixed mindset, it means you’re simply not good enough, or that you somehow don’t have what it takes. For example, have you ever thought or said things like:

  • I’m not a math person.
  • I’m not creative.
  • I’m a procrastinator.
  • I’m not good with technology.
  • I don’t have any self-discipline.
  • It’s hard for me to lose weight.
  • I have no talent.
  • I’m shy.
  • I’m not athletic.
  • I’m not a writer.

It’s healthy to acknowledge your limitations and recognize where you can be doing better in your life. But that’s not what’s happening in the fixed mindset.

Remember, the fixed mindset believes that talent and abilities are largely fixed and predetermined – either you have it, or you don’t. If you have what it takes, great. If not, why even bother to try? You might as well give up, and move on to something easier.

Obviously, this is not the kind of thinking that helped Stephen King and J.K. Rowling become bestselling authors. It’s not the kind of thinking that generates motivation to persevere when the going gets tough.

How the Growth Mindset Strengthens Your Motivation

The growth mindset interprets challenge and failure much differently than the fixed mindset. Remember, the core belief of the growth mindset is that human abilities and talents are malleable skills that you can cultivate and strengthen over the course of your life.

The fixed mindset mistakenly views your limitations as permanent. The growth mindset understands they’re just a starting point – guiding stars that tell you where to focus your energy toward personal and professional development.

The growth mindset is an antidote to defeatism. It interprets challenge and failure not as a signal to throw in the towel, but as a natural, healthy part of human growth and achievement.

This may sound like good ole’ fashioned positive thinking, and maybe it is. The difference is these conclusions are based on 40 years of rigorous, scientific research – hundreds of studies that all say the same thing. If you want to strengthen your motivation, achieve your goals and lead a more fulfilling life, you’re best-served by a growth mindset.

Your Choice: Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset

As I’ve said many times, success rarely comes easily. Anyone who’s ever reached a level of success or made a change in their life had to overcome challenges, setbacks and short-term failures along the way. Some more than others, I’m sure, but ultimately, they all persevered. They all kept moving forward, regardless of the challenges they faced.

You now have a choice regarding how you interpret struggle, setbacks and failure. You can interpret it from a fixed mindset as evidence that you’re somehow not cut out to succeed. Or you can interpret it from a growth mindset as guidance for where to focus your efforts toward personal and professional development.

If you want to protect your motivation, and keep moving forward, always make the growth mindset choice.

 

Article By Michael D. Pollock
67 Views0
How Changing Your Perception Can Help You Achieve Your Goals Faster

How Changing Your Perception Can Help You Achieve Your Goals Faster

I spent a summer in college training in different warfare specialties as part of my Navy ROTC scholarship. One week during the training, my fellow cadets and I were invited to go out on one of the Navy’s crown jewels: an Aegis destroyer.

These extraordinary ships were the first of their kind. The technology of them is beyond the scope of my full understanding, but at the basic level, they work like this: When a missile fired from the ship neared its target, it was able to detect the scattered energy coming from that target and adjust both its trajectory and momentum based on this data.

This was called painting the target, and these ships could do it with incredible precision.

Why am I telling you this? Because painting the target is exactly what your brain must do anytime it wants to accomplish a goal.

Your brain is goal-oriented. When you set a goal, your mind subconsciously makes a number of assessments about how far away that goal is (proximity), how likely you are to achieve it (the size of the target), and the effort (thrust) it will take to get there. As you work toward the goal, your brain is constantly calculating and recalculating these three variables.

Creating more positive perceptions of our goals can dramatically increase our engagement, focus, productivity and motivation, and thus increase the speed by which we attain them. Here’s how you can start painting the target in your own life:

Strategy 1: Zoom in on the target (proximity).

Research has shown the closer people get to a target, the harder and faster they work. Write down all of the work you’ve done and all of the strides you’ve made so far. Reminding yourself of past successes will help your brain perceive that you are closer to the ultimate target.

Strategy 2: Magnify the target (likelihood of success).

The bigger a target appears, the more your brain believes you will hit it. Look at your current circumstances. Are there areas where you believe you could never hit a home run because the fences seem a mile away? Simply move the fences in so it seems easier.

Strategy 3: Recalculate thrust (energy required).

To achieve any goal, a certain level of energy is required. The lower the mental cost, the faster your speed toward success. Research has shown that by changing your perception of these costs, you can increase your speed toward your target by as much as 35 percent.

Content by Shawn Achor

32 Views0
Mentally Strong Kids Have Parents Who Refuse to Do These 13 Things

By Amy Morin

All kids have the ability to develop mental muscle. We just have to teach them how to exercise their minds.

In my 15 years as a psychotherapist, I’ve seen how many of today’s common parenting habits are robbing kids of mental strength. Giving up those unhealthy habits takes strength on the part of the parents, but doing so gives kids opportunities to grow stronger and become better.

Based on my book 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, here are 13 things to avoid if you want to raise a mentally strong child who is prepared to tackle life’s toughest challenges:

1. Condone a victim mentality.

Failing a math test or getting cut from the team doesn’t make a child a victim. Disappointment, failure and rejection are a part of life.

No matter how unjust or tough the circumstance, refuse to attend your kids’ pity parties. Teach them the importance of taking positive action rather than indulging in self-pity.

2. Parent out of guilt.

Backing down after you’ve said no or giving in because your child cries sends an unhealthy message to your kids that you’ll allow them to guilt you. They also learn that they have the power to manipulate you by preying on your emotions.

All good parents feel guilty sometimes. But it’s important to prevent those guilty feelings from impairing your parenting judgment. Hold firm in your choices, even when it causes you to wrestle with some guilt.

3. Make your kids the center of the universe.

While it’s important to make kids your top priority, making kids the center of the universe instills self-importance. And self-absorbed, entitled adults aren’t likely to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

 

Teach your kids that they’re important—but not the most important person in the world. They’ll grow up to become empathetic people who recognize the gifts they have to offer others.

 

4. Allow fear to dictate your choices.

Protecting your kids at all costs will spare you a lot of anxiety. But your kids will grow to believe they’re fragile.

If you want to raise brave kids, be a role model who encourages facing fears. Be a guide, but don’t become overprotective. Let your kids go out and experience the world firsthand.

5. Give your kids power over you.

Asking questions like, “Do you want water or ice water?” empowers kids. But asking whether the whole family should move across the country gives them too much power. Treating kids like an equal—or the boss—harms their development.

Show your kids that you value their opinions. But make it clear that you’re the leader. Establish a family hierarchy that gives your kids opportunities to practice taking orders and doing things they don’t want to do.

6. Expect perfection.

Kids will strive to meet your expectations as long as those expectations are reasonable. If you expect perfection, they’ll decide there’s no use in trying.

Teach your kids they don’t need to be the best at everything they do. Help them become a little better today than they were yesterday.

7. Let your kids avoid responsibility.

Countless studies show the importance of getting kids involved in household tasks. Yet, only 28 percent of children do chores.

If you want to raise kids who become responsible adults, give them plenty of responsibility. Let them pack their own lunches, assign daily chores, and expect them to take care of their own equipment for hobbies like sports or music.

8. Shield your kids from pain.

It can be tempting to shield kids from hurt feelings and hard times. But hardship is a part of life.

Kids need firsthand experience dealing with uncomfortable emotions like sadness, anxiety and embarrassment. With your support, they can gain confidence in themselves and trust that they can handle whatever difficulties life throws their way.

9. Feel responsible for your kids’ emotions.

Cheering your kids up when they’re sad, entertaining them when they’re bored and calming them down when they’re upset means you take responsibility for their feelings.

Teach your kids how to manage their moods on their own. They’ll grow up to become independent adults who don’t need other people to regulate their emotions for them.

10. Prevent your kids from making mistakes.

Whether you correct your kids’ homework or you double check their backpacks to make sure they haven’t forgotten something, preventing mistakes won’t do your kids any favors. Natural consequences are some of life’s greatest teachers.

Let them fail sometimes just so you can support them in bouncing back. Teach them that their mistakes are opportunities to grow wiser and become stronger.

11. Confuse discipline with punishment.

Punishment is meant to inflict suffering. Discipline, on the other hand, is about teaching kids to do better.

Don’t raise kids who fear “getting in trouble.” Use consequences that teach self-discipline so they’ll strive to make better choices.

12. Take shortcuts to avoid discomfort.

Although giving in when your child whines or doing your kids’ chores for them makes life easier right now, those shortcuts will backfire in the end.

Implement delayed gratification and show your children you’re strong enough to stay the course. You’ll teach them they’re strong enough to reach their long-term goals despite the temptations to take the easy way out.

13. Lose sight of your values.

Would you rather the teacher said your child was the smartest or the kindest kid in the class? It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day chaos that you lose sight of what you value most.

Make sure your priorities accurately reflect your values. Instilling your values in your kids gives them the strength they need to live meaningful lives.

It’s important to build strong mental muscles as a family. Mentally strong kids have mentally strong parents. So be a good role model and exercise your mental muscles regularly. Establish healthy habits, like practicing mindfulness and gratitude. And give up the unhealthy habits that are holding you back. As a family, challenge one another to grow stronger and become better.

280 Views0