Life happens. No matter how well you plan and prepare, you’ll constantly encounter challenges and obstacles. Sometimes it seems like one thing after another, until you feel like you’ve reached a dead end with no way to move forward.
When that happens, ask yourself a very simple question: “So what?”
I don’t ask myself this question to be dismissive of a difficult situation. In fact, quite the opposite. What I’m really asking is, “In the face of this challenge, what am I going to do next? How am I going to deal with it? What can I do to make this situation better?”
If, for example, a business deal I’ve been working on falls through, I can sit around and wallow in self-pity, or I can figure out what happened, learn from the situation, decide what’s next, and move on. One tactic keeps me stuck in the mud, the other lets me push past the difficulty and hit the ground running, looking for the next opportunity.
To me, pretty much every obstacle in life is a “so what?” situation. When the road gets bumpy, embrace the challenge and think about it as a chance to make yourself and the world a better place. Create some meaning from what you do, the obstacles you face, and how you experience life.
Granted, this is not human nature. Human nature is to blame someone else. The deal fell through because someone said this when he should have said that, or somebody was in Toledo when she should have been in Akron, or the gods are against me, or whatever. Admittedly, if you or someone around you makes a mistake that creates a problem and crushes a potentially awesome deal, you need to understand that and learn from it. But you also need to ask, “So what?” In other words, accept the situation as it is, and then figure out a plan for moving forward in a successful and productive way. If you don’t take this approach, nothing gets fixed and nothing gets better.
If you can face life’s obstacles and say “So what,” then you can reframe them in a positive way. This is a significant shift in the way that most of us think, where you naturally try to shift blame and hope that someone else will step in and clean up the mess. With this different and far more upbeat way of thinking, instead of throwing in the towel, you stick your nose into the situation and find a way to push through it. In so doing, you’ll learn valuable lessons that help you do things differently (and better) in the future.
Interested in how Spartan can change your life? Download the Spartan A Way of LIfe e-book.