A to Z Challenge 2013

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Power Of Success

Success is an interesting thing.  We can have days, weeks, or even months of failure and feel completely useless and alone.  Then along comes a single instance of success, and we're catapulted to the highest heights.  If we're lucky, we can ride that wave for a long time too.

I fully admit to being in a funk for a while now.  Part of it I do attribute to feeling a lack of success in lots of areas (not just writing).  But after Saturday's results, my heart has been lighter, the load I carry doesn't seem as heavy, and I am invigorated with energy.  I even got outside yesterday afternoon and did some reorganization in the garage (the beautiful weather helped motivate me too).

Since I'm a fairly optimistic guy, it's safe to say that I'm not happy when I'm not happy.  I don't like confrontation, I don't like whiny people, and I do my best to find whatever silver lining there is in a given situation.  But lately I've been irritable and even downright grumpy.  I know one of the reasons why (which I won't go into here), but though I had been concentrating on being more positive, I just couldn't get back to my usual cheerful self.  I had actually been turning into one of those negative people I don't like to associate with.  Yuck.

So how do I keep from letting myself devolve into an angry, grumpy mess again?  I don't know, though I'm going to try to list a few ideas here and hope some of you have more ideas you can provide in the comments.  Here are some off-the-cuff ideas for keeping a smile on my face.

1.  Goal setting - I didn't used to be a believer in this, but recent evidence (and help from my graduation mentor) has turned me into one.  Goals are a great way to provide us with success, even if they are just minor goals like finishing a chapter.

2.  Pat on the back - Often enough, we don't acknowledge when we do something right or when we achieve a goal.  It can be something as simple as buying ourself an ice cream or writing a celebratory blog post, but it's important that we do something.

3.  Recognize the silver lining - It may sound silly, but we have to remember that things can always be worse.  Part of being positive (for me at least) is recognizing that my life isn't that bad.  Though I have just as many tough things to deal with as anyone else, I'm not that bad off in the grand scheme of things.

Okay, I could really only come up with these three so I'm putting it out to all of you to help me come up with some more.  Let's get some lively discussion going.  By the time we're done, we will have all helped each other.  We'll all be walking around with Cheshire cat faces.  So tell me, how do you invigorate your life with a little positivity?


Matt Conlon said...

I'm right there with you man. I've been feeling exactly that same way... Very stuck, with everything I've got going on. I feel like I'm pinned in this situation with no way out.

I've always had this sort of shoot from the hip style, with a "Everything will work out ok" outlook on things, and by and large, it's worked just fine. Things always sort of do tend to work out.

Lately though, I've been finding myself somewhat anxious about the things that are out of my control, which has never happened to me before. I've always been able to say "Can't do anything about it, so why worry" or "Let's just see how it goes, and react if we need to"... But it's just not working anymore. Thinking even just a couple days down the road gives me a stomach ache.

It's starting to get a little bit better the last couple days. I got bacon spatter in my eye last night, and went to the Emergency room... It sorta put things into perspective for me. Things could certainly be a lot worse. My eye's fine, by the way, just a little painful.

I guess, coming to terms with your failings, is sort of what I'm getting at. Accepting the fact that things aren't great right now, and recognizing the aspects that could be much worse is helping a bit.

My other vise is distraction. A little self indulgence maybe... A pint of ice cream and a good movie, some quality time with the people who don't care about our failings... Play a game or two where a failure doesn't mean anything, but a win feels at least a little good. ...Something like that.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm a pretty positive person for the most part too. When something gets me down, I usually find it's because I've over-extended myself (again) and I'm exhausted. You'd think I'd have learned by now - but it keeps happening! Working with kids helps me to stay positive too - they're so much fun! :)

Angie said...

I love your suggestions. I would add counting your blessings. Keep a daily gratitude journal to recognize all the wonderful, happy things in your life. Good luck!

Christine Fonseca said...

Definitely keep your eye on that silver lining! Glad to hear you are doing better.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd add to go out and do something totally different with someone you love.

Eric said...

Matt - See, you and I seem to have very similar outlooks. I also try not to worry about things I can't control. And yes, distraction is the bane of my existence. I hope your eye is really okay though. I'll send you an email later, check in on you.

Jemi - Heh heh, you are so right. My kids have a huge impact on keeping me positive.

Angie - Thank you, those are some great ideas. I especially like the daily gratitude journal.

Christine - I'm trying. People like you however, help me see it more clearly :)

Alex - Oooh, that's a good one. I'll have to see what I can do with the wife. Thanks bud!

DEZMOND said...

everybody has the right to be grumpy and in a down phase at least sometimes. Those dark moments are sometimes generators which bring us more energy later on.

Eric said...

Dez - I don't know if I agree that my dark moments give me more energy later, but people like you stopping by definitely do. Thanks as always, Dez.