Everyone has problems or challenges, independent life probably wouldn’t be any fun if we didn’t. Nevertheless sometimes they seem daunting and overwhelming, becoming the excuse for why we don’t try to build the dreams we have in our hearts. This article puts all of that in a perspective you can work with and, through a small exercise, helps you understand how to move towards building exactly the life you want.
First, you will need paper and pencil or pen. Start by drawing a diagonal line that runs from the bottom left-hand corner at an upward trajectory towards the middle to the top of the right-hand side. This represents your steady path of evolution from now (on the bottom left) to the future (on the top right). Make it as steep as you think you can handle. Some of us are more comfortable taking new things on constantly than others are. So, for someone such as myself, who thrives on rather fast paced change, the line would be rather steep. This is in contrast to some of my best friends who have children, and their growth is constrained by all the complexities that go with constant caretaking and support of other people. For them to take on a steep learning curve would only add stress, so an appropriate angle would need to be one that was less daunting.
The second step is to put you on that line, near its beginning on the left-hand side. You can be represented by a straight vertical line. Make sure you are neither too big nor too small. Too big and you could see yourself dashing up this dream building as though it was nothing. Too small and you have relegated the next 10 years of your life to very difficult work.
Next we need to consider the challenge(s) you face, which will be represented by another vertical line. Make it a line somewhere up ahead of you in the not too distant future. Since you consider it a problem or challenge it will be taller than you, it might even seem insurmountable. Just make sure that it is not taller than the top right-hand side of your evolutionary path. Remember that no problem is so big that someone somewhere has not tackled it successfully.
Sit back and consider a feeling or emotional tone behind the drawing you have made where you are small in relation to the challenge you face. Notice your reaction in your body and mind to seeing and considering this relationship. Do you feel powerless? Diminished? Take a deep breath, and notice of thoughts about yourself and about the problem that come into your mind. Do you berate yourself for being small? Does your mind whisper about how overwhelming the problem is?
Now we need to consider growth. As mentioned at the beginning, you are on an evolutionary path, and therefore should draw another image of yourself beyond the problem. In fact, you might want to draw two, one where your head is still dwarfed somewhat by the line that is the problem, although you are now ahead of it and another where your head can see over the top of the problem. Remember there is no challenge you will not eventually get past if you keep your mind to it. Do you see the difference in relationship of yourself to your problem or issue? Do you see that your problem did not change, but your perspective did as you grew? At some point we grow to where what seemed insurmountable becomes quite doable.
In essence, this is always the solution to our problems. They don’t change, we do. We learn how to get around, overcome, move past, or engage others to help us. We are the learners. That is really the secret to life. When we look back on huge problems that we have faced and eventually overcome, our perspective has changed, we have grown, and we now have far more capacity to face problems of that size. Perhaps you can think of an example in your own life where this was true?
In another article, I discussed how action research has been used by a writers group to which I belong to overcome the daunting challenge of getting published. Whatever the process of life and growth and evolution that you use, the bit of perspective offered by this drawing and this article will remain valid. Even famous, rich, important people, have faced challenges that seemed daunting until they overcame them. Future articles will discuss how to use others as models to help our growth move faster.