Three Strategies for Hard Times

At this stage of your life, you likely know all too well that stuff happens: to you, to me, and even to the rich/famous. So, here are three strategies for you to consider at such timestools and techniques to help you keep on truckin' when Life blindsides you as you're minding your own business and possibly even doing good works. And doncha hate it when that happens?

  Use your personal tools

First and above all, remember to draw upon the smarts and moxie you've developed through the years. Since "ambushes," whether by circumstances or people, do happen to some of us, we're wise to stay alert and also to be willing 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 tools 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.

  Even a sense of humor can be a "tool"

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 can be a great antidote, so keep the yucks going as much as you can.

Although those can become scarce to nonexistent during tough times, that's also when you may need them most. Should you find yourself somewhat isolated for whatever reason, try to access funny movies when/if you can, 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 has gotta be 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, 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 perhaps 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, do at least consider a more-subtle route first. If that proves impractical or ineffective, you may need to become more assertive.

And there you have them, a few tactics for when hard times hit. But if such times aren't actually here, let's not borrow trouble. Save that energy for those goals you're looking at—or a fun activity you'd like to explore. If you've already begun, three cheers and a parade! If not, how about now?

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