One of the key principles in sport performance is decreasing your recovery time. All throughout high school and university I was active in sports. As an athlete, the less time you have to spend recovering from an injury makes it easier for you to get back into the game without skipping a beat, so to speak. The longer it takes you to recover from injury or setbacks affects your long-term success as an athlete. The same is true in other areas of life. How quickly you recover from life’s setbacks is a key to reaching your goals.
Research indicates that how you EXPLAIN your failures and successes impacts you over time as you reach for bigger goals. Whether it be in the field of business or in daily life, the difference in those who recover more quickly from setbacks is connected to how they explain what happened and why. There are basically two kinds of explanatory styles: optimistic and pessimistic. Let’s look at both.
Pessimistic explanations speaks of things as being:
1) Permanent – e.g. “people always say no to me”, “that’ll never change”.
2) Pervasive - everyone, all, eg. “nobody does that” – generalizations without substantial or concrete evidence to back it up.
3) Personal – reflection on you and your ability. “I’m just not smart”, “I don’t have what it takes”.
Optimistic explanations speak of things as being:
1) Teaching moments – setbacks are seen as opportunities to learn and grow.
2) Temporary- like bumps in a road. They may slow the speed but not take you off track.
3) Truth-based or Specific in isolating the cause. Based on truth or facts not seen as a reflection of the person’s worth or ability but simply taking ownership for choice of actions or inaction. “I really didn’t study enough”. “I got distracted and didn’t follow through”
Do you see the difference?
It’s been said that depression is pessimism turned inward.
As you move towards your dreams you can make course corrections as unexpected things happen or as you gain more clarity. The key is to get started and keep moving forward. As you do, it is essential that you set an intention to learn to master an optimistic way of explaining setbacks. How you make decisions along the way will be determined by your mindset. As you become more aware of your responses to setbacks , it will also be an opportunity to evaluate some limiting beliefs that are fueling your behaviour. Don’t do it alone, – find a mentor, hire a coach or seek out a group of successful people who can help inspire and empower you to be all you are designed to be.
REAL U Challenge: If you don’t have one already , seek out a mentor, or hire a coach to help you overcome any limiting beliefs that show up. To grow your business, you need to grow as a person. To support and love others, you must first learn to support and love yourself.
REAL U Journaling Assignment: Write about what your explanatory style is now and 1-2 steps you can take to master the optimistic approach to life.
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