As Brian Tracy once wrote:
“If you’re living a normal, busy life today, you will probably have a crisis of some kind every two to three months”
But when a crisis strikes, it’s so easy to get sucked into your own thoughts. These are not cool, calm, debonair thoughts but panicked, unsexy, bewildered thoughts. Lots of “This shouldn’t be happening”, “It’s a disaster” and “I want my mummy” thoughts.
In these moments, you think your mind is your ally. But it’s not. It’s the enemy.
Thinking is making things worse
Yes, your mind is a tool. And you need it to plan and find a solution. But in between those times, it’s creating havoc. It’s like using a fire hose to put out a fire, but then having a break and taking the fire hose (which is still on, by the way) into the cafeteria with you.
In times that you are not actively planning or taking action, you need to quiet the mind.
You need to stop thinking.
There’s plenty of ways to do this, including meditation. One technique I’ve found helpful is to focus on 3 conscious breaths.
Stay totally conscious of your breath as it goes in and out. Do three breaths in a row, then take a break. Then do three more. Keep going until you find your mind becoming less active.
In a crisis the mind is let loose. And we let it, because we feel like thinking will give us a solution. But actually, we are better off focusing on solutions for short periods of time, and then quietening the mind in between, to allow solutions to “bubble up” on their own.
You can’t think yourself out of a crisis, so give yourself a break by giving the mind a break.
The Can Opener Method
Learn the Can Opener Method: A devastatingly simple tactic to help you figure out the next, best step in any situation.