It’s one thing to say your life is going to be all bubble gum and roses one day while reading an inspirational post that gets you fired up to be better; it’s quite another to actually make it happen. Like it or not, there are things in your life that will challenge your patience and newfound positive outlook on a daily basis. The only true way to avoid these destructive pitfalls of the Negativity Beast is to identify and conquer.
That’s right, y’all. Today, we’re getting our hands dirty.
Types of Issues You’ll Find Lurking in Your Life
In anyone’s life, you can find four basic types of issues that lie in wait to blow gaping holes in your self-confidence and shred any positive life changes you’ll seek to make. If you’re going to succeed at making 2011 your best, most positive year yet, you must identify these issues and annihilate them.
Essentially, you can categorize life issues into four basic groups:
- Issues you didn’t create and can’t control
- Issues you didn’t create but can control
- Issues you create yet can’t control
- Issues you create and can control.
Issues You Didn’t Create and Can’t Control
Let’s get this one over with quickly because, honestly, it’s not an area of your life worth focusing too much attention on.
A prime example of issues in your life that you didn’t create and can’t control might be the current economic situation. Did you personally cause the Financial Services industry to implode in on itself, taking out the world’s economy in a stunning display of poor judgment? Nope. Can you personally take an action that will get the economy going all gangbusters again? If you can, wave that magic wand over in my direction please.
Here’s the thing about this category of life issues: The Negativity Beast wants you to focus all your time, energy and perhaps even your money into this single area. There are sweeping problems in this world and the Negativity Beast wants to overwhelm you with a feeling of personal responsibility or despair over them.
Why? Keeping your focus on things you can’t change will keep you from doing anything about the things you can. In your everyday life, you can’t even get a life lesson out of these issues because you didn’t create them.
In short, this category is a total time suck. Let’s move on.
Issues You Didn’t Create But Can Still Control
Y’all, I’m going to be honest…I LOVE this category. I like to fix things. Granted, I don’t really enjoy when circumstances beyond my control start coloring my pretty world in a bland grey, but this is an area where I can at least take some action!
Let’s be clear though about how we define this category. I mean, if you could really control the issue, would it even come up in your life? I’d hope not.
In this category, your control over the situation stems from your ability to control your reaction to the situation. This is different from the first category because it doesn’t matter how you react to war on the other side of the planet; war still goes on and nothing changes.
But here is where you can knock back some easy wins against the Negativity Beast. Did you create the power outage that left you stuck in traffic for hours? No, but you can control whether it ruins your entire day.
This, my friends, is an area of our life where we can make strides towards a more positive tomorrow, so you can bet we’ll be coming back to it.
Issues You Create But Cannot Control
We’re all familiar with the story of Frankenstein’s monster, right? Basically, Dr. Frankenstein creates a companion and quickly loses control of the situation. Unfortunately, you don’t have to be a mad scientist to wreak this kind of havoc in your own life.
The thing with this category is that because it’s out of your control, you can’t do anything other than accept the consequences of what you set in motion and try to learn from your mistakes.
While this is a category that can leave you feeling powerless, I assure you the Negativity Beast LOVES it. The trap you can fall into here is focusing so much attention on the outcome beyond your control that you forget to look for the lessons in your own behavior. You forget that you can always change your life for the better.
Once again, all you can do is look at what you did to cause the situation and learn how not to continue creating Frankenstein’s monster in your own life. We’ll be back to this one as well.
Issues You Create and Can Control
Here’s another category I like dealing with. I do stupid things. I can control not only whether I do stupid things, but also the outcome of some of them.
This should be your favorite kind of problem as well, y’all. Not only can you take responsibility for your actions, you can do something about the whirlwind of problems they create.
And wouldn’t you know it…the Negativity Beast HATES this one. In fact, it will do everything in its power to make you believe that you either didn’t create this issue or you can’t control it. You see, if the Negativity Beast can convince you it’s something other than what it is, you could lose the lesson or the power. Maybe both.
You might even slip back into your old, destructive habits. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we will spend so much time here, you’ll probably start screaming you get it at me.
What Can You Do About These Issues Today?
The first step to beating the Negativity Beast at its own game is to look at the major issues in your life and put each into one of these four categories. Make no mistake, every issue – no matter how complex – can fit into one of these four problem buckets. If you’re going to identify and conquer, you must figure out the nature of the issue or you’ll just keep running around in circles.
What if I run into an issue that fits into more than one bucket?
Simply put, you aren’t being honest with yourself if you run into this problem. Either you created the problem, or you didn’t. Either you can control the outcome, or you can’t.
It’s like what they say about being pregnant: You can’t be a little pregnant. You are or you aren’t. Period.
So, this is your task for the week:
- Look at your life
- Identify the major issues in it
- Determine ONE category for each issue
- Congratulate yourself on taking the first step towards a positive resolution of your issues.
I know – trust me – that this simultaneously seems like a ginormous and trivial task. Make no mistake…Today’s task is easy, but it is not simple. While it may not obliterate all your problems by the end of the day, doing this is how you’re going to conquer the issues in your life the way we do everything else on The Positive Piper…
One step at a time.
Having Trouble Categorizing Your Issues?
Although I can’t tell you the root of all your life’s troubles, I can offer an unbiased opinion about which category might be best for your issue. Feel free to ask for help in the comments section. On the flipside, did you just make a major breakthrough while assigning a particular issue its category? (It can and does happen!) Share it in the comments as well.
You know the Negativity Beast hates it when we bask in the success of others.
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
- Rose – Parvin via Flickr, Creative Commons
- Fire – Slworking2 via Flickr, Creative Commons
- Frankenstein’s Monster – Universal Studios, Public Domain
© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Using content from The Positive Piper without permission will cause the Negativity Beast to attack. BEWARE!