Three Strategies for Hard Times

By now, perhaps Life has blindsided you at least once and possibly many times while you were simply minding your own business. Right? Because such events and/or intervals drive me absolutely nuts, over the years I've blundered onto a few "strategies" that might also serve You from time to time. Here are three suggestions:

  Make full use of your personal "tools."

Above all, be sure to draw vigorously upon the smarts and moxie you've developed through the years. Since ambushes by circumstances and/or people do happen to some of us, we're wise not only to stay alert, but also to acknowledge (at least to ourselves) when something does seem amiss. We're also wise to do that sooner rather than later, because "things" may only get worse unless/until we do. I'm speaking from personal experience and observation here...

Moreover, in certain situations you may find assertive tactics more effective than the "velvet glove" (again, sooner rather than later). Although our personal strengths can often assist far better than we might imagine, we sometimes fail to use them to the extent possible and/or call upon them tardily or even overlook them entirely if we're busy and possibly distracted. In the meantime, unfortunate things might be happening, and some of us have less time to recoup than we once did.

  Keep your sense of humor on the job.

Whatever else you do, try to keep your sense of humor out of couch-potato mode. If laughter and fun try to slack off when you're under stress, which is practically a given, follow the lead of Miss Kitty here and yank them back onto the job. Without those two, certain challenges—whether or not related to agingcan take you down fast and hard.

But laughter tends to be a great antidote, so keep the yucks going as much as you can. Should you find yourself somewhat isolated for whatever reason, maybe see if you can access funny movies and also audio or visual clips of comedians you've enjoyed in the past or people you find funny now. You may find such diversions far more effective than you expect.

  Just deal with it.

This quote from an Elmore Leonard character cracks me up: "If you can handle it, do it. If you can't, (bleep) it." But since (a) procrastination is surely a primo tool of the devil, and (b) the ostrich approach rarely works that well even for the ostrich, the latter half of his advice seems impractical. Better (IMHO) to deal with challenges as they arise by assessing the situation, figuring out a strategy, and then putting it into effect.

BUT—if you're looking at something big, complex, or simply ugly, mean, or nasty, perhaps ask yourself a couple of questions first:

  • Do you really have to handle this thing alone? If not, look for some help from friends and/or family. No one's offering? Well, maybe they don't want to intrude...or presume. Or maybe the scope/complexity of the issue calls for professional assistance. Either way, if you need help, you can do yourself a Big favor by finding it. After all, even the Lone Ranger had someone to lean on now and then.

  • Must the issue be resolved immediately and/or all at once? Unless you're dealing with a nest of hissing cobras, maybe you might try taking things a step at a time. Even for those who generally prefer the "blitz" method, gradual but immediate and steady steps sometimes prove surprisingly effective against Big Stuff.

    Plus, they may generate less notice and thereby less resistance. So, before grabbing your (metaphorical) cudgel, perhaps you might at least consider a more-subtle route. If that proves impractical or ineffective, you may need to become more assertive.

And there you have them, a few tactical suggestions for when hard times hit. But if such times aren't actually here, no need to borrow trouble, right? Instead, you could use that energy for goals you may be looking at—or a fun activity you'd like to explore. If you've already begun the "exploration," three cheers and a parade! If not, how about now?  ;-)

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