Do you ever get really discouraged?
You get locked in on some particular challenge in your life that you can’t seem to overcome and suddenly you are plagued by self-doubt and frustration. You may begin wondering if you will ever be able to get past the struggle you are in.
I had a moment of profound discouragement this week. I found myself getting locked into negative thinking. It’s easy to do. To distract myself, I often pick a book and read. As I did, I found this statement: “When you feel wiped out and blown away by a huge challenge, trust that anything is possible. You may not see a way out at the moment. You may feel that the whole world is lined up against you. But believe that circumstances can change, solutions can appear, and help can arrive from unexpected places. Then anything is possible!”
Powerful words, especially since the book, “Life Without Limits,” is written by Nick Vujicic, a guy born without arms or legs! There were so many awesome statements in his writing, I found myself feeling further and further away from my own discouragement of the moment.
Soon I felt like the struggle I was in was something very manageable. In my mind, it had gone from being an overwhelming monster to just another challenge I likely have the skills to fight through and move beyond.
I think of moments like these as “zoom out” moments. When you are intensely focused on some specific struggle in your life, you can switch your focus from the all absorbing emotions of that one situation by choosing to “zoom out” to see the bigger picture of your life.
We do it all the time on our smart phones, when we want to expand a photograph to see who all else is in it or where it was taken. We use the “zoom out” feature on applications like MapQuest when we want to see the surrounding neighborhood and roads of an area we have been focusing on.
We all have hard struggles at times. It is easy to get so locked in on these that we forget to stop, take a breath, and zoom out. By placing out current problem in a bigger context, we make it more manageable and less overwhelming. Believe me, after reading a book by a guy born without limbs, my problems suddenly seemed much easier to deal with!
The next time you feel overwhelmed, think of your ability to focus as the “zoom out” feature in your mind. Place the problem in a bigger perspective. In doing so, you will see its context in the bigger picture of your whole life. You will see past struggles that are way behind you now. You will recognize different strategies that have helped you before. You may notice others who face even bigger challenges and tell yourself “if they can do that, I can do this!”
The next time you feel discouraged, try it. Chances are, by placing your struggle in the bigger context of your whole life, you will feel less overwhelmed and more confident in your ability to meet the challenge.