Adding That Third Thing: What Nobody Tells Us About How to Handle Charged Situations
There is so much that we all take for granted when going through life.
One of the biggest assumptions that I have gotten caught in historically (and that I see a lot of people caught in) is the assumption that for any given situation, all you have to work with is you and the situation. If you can’t change the situation (which mostly you can’t, not directly anyway), and you can’t (or won’t) change yourself, you’re stuck and screwed.
If you’re unemployed, and you can’t seem to find a job, you may become more and more frustrated as you focus on the ‘got to find a job got to find a job got to find a job’, leading to less and less success: You are annoyed, you take that energy in with you to job interviews, it comes across in your interaction even if you try to hide it, you dont get the job, you get more frustrated, and on and on. Even if you get a job at that point, would you be happy about it? Probably not, with all that energy built up!
If you’re a business, and you are used to marketing through the use of big splashy events and Superbowl commercials rather than providing experiences that surprise and delight your customers, and suddenly your revenues are slipping and you can’t see why, so you keep doing what you’re doing to try to affect the marketplace and make them buy more of your product, spending tons of money on a new campaign with a celebrity saying how awesome your product is, and your share of the market continues to dwindle so you fire your PR people and demand a launch event that will go viral and spread across the internet and whatever Twitter is, and on and on.
The reality of the situation (and something that I don’t think gets taught to us at any point in most of our development) is that there is actually a third element within any situation: the relationship between us and the thing in question. The relationship is something that we always have the ability to look at and adjust. We can focus our attention at our relationship to our not having found a job, and choose whether to remain frustrated, or tune it so that our relationship is one that is more calm, accepting “I have not found employment yet, and that is okay, because it does not mean that I will never find employment”, and ultimately useful.
We often don’t get a chance to look at situations like this, though, since we are usually very quick to respond to a situation directly. The most important thing to take from this, and something I struggle with but am learning, is to slow down and pause before reacting. Take a second to look at your relationship to the situation rather than just focusing on the situation itself. Is an advertising campaign the best way to reach customers? Is frustration the best way to deal with your employment situation? Probably not, but until we learn to take a look at that third thing, we will be stuck there.
So, where are you stuck on things 1 and 2, where looking at the third thing might be useful?