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One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Author: D Anthony, D-Productions, 06/02

* Excerpt from the motivational and inspirational book,
The Nurse in the Delivery Room Slapped Me... Once *


Has a negative circumstance ever entered your otherwise happy and content world? Whether deed or happenstance, has that negativity ever left you feeling drained... frustrated... asking "why me"? And when you felt that way, did those feelings go unresolved?

The truth is we humans typically develop avoidance tendencies for things deemed difficult. As a result, we spend much of our waking hours consciously and subconsciously trying not to think about unpleasant things. Instead, at all costs, we endeavor to avoid ever encountering issues until forced to confront them.

While this 'see no evil' coping mechanism tends to produce a more upbeat perspective when things are going well, it provides no answers during rough times. Further, because so much cognitive energy is focused on ignoring the existence of problems, the shock of an occurrence, substantive or otherwise, can foster the perception of significant impact. More often than not however, nothing could be farther from the truth.

The reality is problems are seldom worthy of the stress they bring to our lives. Often so much energy is consumed by unproductive states such as denial, frustration, and self-doubt, that little remains for proactively addressing the actual problem.

But, what if problems weren't perceived as such a bad thing? What if there were a way not only to eliminate the customary reaction of getting upset - even more, to welcome each new problem as an opportunity? What if...

Some time back I experienced a problem in my life. The truth is I don't recall the particular situation. While addressing it however, I happened upon a simple, yet empowering, realization. If my attitude is positive I am immensely more effective resolving the issue. Thus the question became - how could I condition myself to have a positive response in the face of oncoming problems?

First, I reasoned that negative circumstances are going to happen - whether I like it or not. Thus, I could either accept that fact or... actually I just needed to accept that fact. But although some rain was destined to fall in my life, as W. Mitchell effectively emphasizes in motivational speeches - "It's not what happens to you that matters, it's what you do about it."

Thus, with acceptance out of the way, I needed to develop an effective plan of attack for responding to issues. As a result, 'One Step Back Two Steps Forward (OSBTSF)' was born. What's OSBTSF you ask... Simply put, OSBTSF is the practice of ensuring that for every significant problem which occurs, a timely, positive event of greater magnitude is introduced. In other words, stub your toe, take care of the pain - then buy a new pair of comfortable shoes... your manager irritates you, address the issue - then schedule and enjoy a magnificent vacation day.

Recently at work for example while diligently multi-tasking on the PC, I received an error. A minor irritation I thought, but nothing a good reboot wouldn't take care of... Instead, one replaced hard disk, days of lost functionality, and even a sacrificed music CD later - and I was still trying to recover. Worst as it turned out, a year's worth of calendar, contact and notes data was deleted.

After controlling my attitude and getting assistance to regain partial functionality, I identified my OSBTSF response. Recently I had considered acquiring one of the multi-functioned PDA's - so I made the purchase. With one well calculated act I enhanced my reality from concern with lost data to increased data security, access and mobility.

Beyond improved organization, (with reminders notifying me of appointments) - numerous other benefits include increased access to music, news, spreadsheets, documents and images. As a matter of fact, this article is being composed on the device. I carry less, have fewer data availability issues and I am considerably more productive during the course of each day.

Most amazing is it's unlikely I'd be experiencing these improvements if my data had not been lost. Because of the application of OSBTSF, a positive attitude and response yielded a positive result. Even better, my perspective on subsequent problems was even easier to manage. This is OSBTSF at it's finest. Since adopting the philosophy, numerous opportunities to test the theory have arisen - and thus far OSBTSF has stood up to each challenge.

Maybe the road to happiness is simply to accept what's beyond our control, while positively influencing that which is ours to change. If so, based on personal experience, the OSBTSF perspective provides an effective mechanism for accomplishing this.

With a paradigm shift and a little commitment, and believe me, you will likely also sing the praises of the OSBTSF philosophy. It can begin to make a difference for you... but first you have to truly want it to.

So, has a negative circumstance ever left you feeling drained... frustrated... asking "why me"...





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