So now you have some idea of what I mean by life’s hammer. More than likely you have already experienced it. To reiterate, it is not just what we might call catastrophic loss (but it could be). It could be any setback in life. But what really defines life’s hammer is how you react to the setback. So, it’s not the setback itself that gives the hammer its power of impact — it is how we perceive the setback that gives it the power. let me explain…
I consider myself pretty capable when doing DIY projects, but like may people, I procrastinate doing them. I’ve struggled to know exactly why because I so appreciate a job well done. But the answer is in that last sentence. You see, without knowing it, I am setting myself up for the blow of life’s hammer each and every time I undertake a DIY job, even before I get started! I watch the YouTube videos and read the online posts to prepare myself for whatever the job is. So I have an image in my mind of how I expect the job to proceed. I know what tools and bits and pieces I will need to do the job. And I visualise what the outcome should be. So expectations are running high before I even get started.
And then I begin…
First, I don’t have all the right parts but think I can substitute something I do have or can modify something or riff on the original plan in some way. This seldom works out well. Then I find I do not have the right tools for the job so I try using other tools to fill in the gaps, or fashion something out of a coat hanger etc. Then I start injuring myself and then I break or damage something. Then I manage to get the job completed but it doesn’t look anything like what it did in the YouTube video. At each step of the way I am getting more and more frustrated at the job, the tools, the pieces, the weather, myself. I step back at the end and am relieved the job is over and disappointed in the result and in myself. I have failed to meet my own standard. This sequence happens every. single. time. Well, it used to.
As a coach I should know better. This is classic territory for rational emotive behavioural therapy (REBT). The core tenet here is that it is not the stimulus event that is the problem, it is how we perceive and respond to the problem. We can, as in my DIY example, have irrational beliefs about how things in life should go. These irrational beliefs create irrational expectations which then create self-defeating thoughts and behaviours. Self defeating thoughts can lead to all sorts of issues from procrastination to full-on depression. While this may all sound a bit daunting, there is good news in this — it can be fixed!
The most common symptom of avoidance is procrastination — be easiest way to avoid doing something is to avoid doing pretty much anything or everything. Why take a risk doing something that might end up in catastrophe when you can simply not do the something in the first place. It is not a stretch from that to not doing much of anything just in case anything might end in catastrophe too. One of the most effective ways of addressing the root cause of chronic avoidance, including procrastination, is to engage in some form of REBT within a relational coaching scenario. We’ll talk about that soon…
I found myself sat in a small, wooden chair within a good
sized cage. Behind me, sat outside the cage were three dogs eyeing me intently.
Inside the cage in front of me was small wooden box with an opening facing me. Through
that opening, by the light of a bulb lit within, I could see pieces of
newspapers spread like a kind of carpet on the floor. Resting in a heap to one
side was a seething mass of puppies, making those funny chirping sounds that
fat, contented puppies make. Then, from one side of the opening came a single
puppy. He was about the length of my hand, unsteadyish on his feet still. His
eyes were a beautiful shade of blue. He tumbled out of the box, regained his
composure and walked over to me. He gently took the end of one of my shoe laces
into his teeth and stepped back until he had successfully untied my shoe. He
then walked back over between my feet, sat down, curled up, and went to sleep.
This was my first encounter with my future brother, Cosmo.
Continue reading “My Silent Brother, Cosmo”
I get a lot of questions about this blog these days so it seems wise to cover some of the basics. In journalistic terms we call ‘the who, what, when, where, and why,’ the five Ws.
Continue reading “The Five Ws of Winging It”
It seems almost comical to think what used to rock our
worlds. A first bicycle, a first kiss. Then the ante was raised to the first
car, the first shag. The trend seemed irreversible. With every passing year the
pains and pleasures became more intense. But anyone with a smart phone knows,
this trend reverses.
Continue reading “The Age of Nano Pleasure”
A death. A hideous diagnosis. A terrible injury. These and
other blows from life’s hammer are devastating in the extreme. And many times
we look at the human wreckage left in the wake of such experiences and we begin
to believe that sometimes there are blows from which we simply cannot recover.
Continue reading “What goes down must come up”
Loneliness outnumbers us. Loneliness outguns us. It is everywhere. It lurks in every shadow, just steps from us, like some phantom bankruptcy, ready to stain every happiness on to which we cling. Continue reading “One is the Loneliest Number”
I counted my years and I found that I have less time to live from here on than I have experienced until now.
I feel like that child who won a packet of sweets: the first ones eats them with pleasure, but when he realized that few were left he began to taste them intensely.
Continue reading “MY SOUL HAS A HAT”
I’ve been living with most of the stories here on Winging It for so long that they tend to sort themselves more by theme than by chronological order. But a friend last night reminded me that most people now coming to these stories may not be aware of the chronology and might prefer to start with that so they can build a kind of context within which the stories lie. It makes sense.
Continue reading “The Order of Things”
One of the things I have discovered in the short time since starting the blog, Winging It, is that though the details of my experience are unique to me, many of the core elements are very cohort indeed. And it was brought to my attention that, if it feels good to me to get some of this off my chest, and even more so if in the process the words are useful to someone else, perhaps others should feel free to do the same… right here.
Continue reading “You Can ‘Wing It’ Too”
Some call it wisdom. But is it really just trying to game a system that is inherently random?
Continue reading “The Loss/Kiss Ratio”