The #1 Way to Get on the Path to Better Days
by Wendy Keller, fellow path-walker
Pretty much everyone who has suffered – you, me and the people next door – has fallen into a place of paralysis once or twice. Things are SO bad you don’t know which way to turn, so you do nothing. It’s the human equivalent of “deer in the headlights” syndrome.
This is a useful biological feature in us and animals…IF you use it to your advantage.
It’s also called “squirrel syndrome” or “antelope syndrome” or “field mouse syndrome”. Basically, it’s “Fight or Flight”. When life kicks you in the teeth, or you know it’s about to, you freeze. So do animals. But they’re functioning with just their basic brain, their limbic brain. Their little gray cells are going “Do I run like heck or do I take on this oncoming danger?” They make a decision and run like heck…or not.
We, with our oh-so-advanced brains, make forecasts.
We say “If I do this, then that could happen. If I do that, then something else could happen. If I do nothing, maybe nothing will happen.” So we sometimes do nothing, or we run around like a bird that flies in through an open window and then panics, unable to find the exit.
I am writing today to propose action. Doing nothing creates nothing.
Doing something – small steps – because of the laws of physics gets you to a different place. I don’t mean rash, crazy, bananas panic like the bird. I mean USE this gift of your forecasting brain.
Pick the most likely scenario for relief from your current problems.
For me, it helps to write it down. “If I do this, then that is likely to happen, which will probably cause this person to do that. If that person does that, then I will gain/lose this result…” If you write down a list of every possible scenario to, say, get yourself out of being depressed and making your life worth living again; finding a new partner to replace the jerk you dumped; or making some extra money on the side to support yourself and your family, and you forecast the likely outcome of each decision you might make, you’ll probably see pretty clearly which one is best for you.
You’ll probably see pretty clearly which decision is best for you.
Start small. Take one step. Test it. Tread gingerly. You don’t have to suddenly quit your job and move to Botswana to solve your marital problems. Use the moment of “freeze” in the fight-or-flight question to examine your options, even to come up with options, and then start to take steps. Basically, because you’re made up of matter and you matter to the world, if you move an inch, you aren’t where you were before. An inch isn’t much, but if you move another inch, and then another, pretty soon you’ve gone a foot. And then two feet. And then, by putting one foot in front of the other, you can find yourself somewhere completely new.
If your life isn’t working right now the way you want, it’s probably worth coming up with the best Plan B and taking some actions toward it.
Because if you’re a dumb bunny, you just sit there thinking while the car approaches and WHAM! Flat bunny.
Some action in the most logical direction is better than no action in any direction. And if you’re traveling slow, logically, rationally, you can swerve or put it in reverse if you need to.
The only way out of problems is through them.
The only way out of problems is through them. You can’t get around, under, behind, over or anything else. Just commit to taking action and watch things begin to change.You CAN do this. Look, choose and move.
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10 thoughts on “The Most Simple but Overlooked Way to Improve Your Situation”
Ernie Garcia says:
I love how practical your blogs always are, I need to implement practicality into mine as well. Thanks for sharing once again!
Thanks as always, Ernie. I appreciate your support. Gracias por su animo.
Vanja Stace says:
Wonderful advice, I really needed to hear (read) this. Thanks Wendy!
Good wishes to you.
Thank you for your inspirations, Wendy.
Although most people are familiar with fight or flight, freeze is physiologically different. Both fight and flight are reactive and energetic. Freeze is neither reactive nor energetic. Taken to extreme, people go into medical shock, even if uninjured.
In life, the ‘big’ things are always made of ‘small’ things whether we’re talking about galaxies & atoms or emotionally charged circumstances. Your advice is spot-on… take that next step…
As Sir Winston Churchill famously said “If you going through hell, keep going!!”
Well said, Wayne.
I can remember going through this when I was being stalked by an ex-employer and found out he was stalking my children. I froze. I could only go through daily minimal functions. I am usually a list maker and could not even do that. I had my mother come over and while I paced she wrote my list down that I rambled as I walked. I was so behind, it was 3 pages long. It included contacting different authorities to get help and figuring out how to keep my children safe. We then sat down through the week and one by one checked every item off that list. With every check, I had a renewed feeling of power. If you can not do it yourself, the first item should be to reach out for help.
Oh! That sounds awful! I’m glad you and the kids are safe now.
All the best, Laura.
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Thanks Steve and welcome to our little community.