Are you familiar with victim mentality? I was talking to someone the other day who epitomized it - no matter what the topic, he claimed that other people were to blame for all of his problems. I tried all my voodoo about envisioning how it could be different, taking responsibility for your own well being, and all that jazz. Nothin' doin'.
This episode prompted a nice little flashback for me:
I was hanging out with an ex-Microsoft guy named Jim McCarthy about 10 years ago at a software development bootcamp, and he threw something out that has stuck with me to this day.
Jim used this notion of "trying on beliefs" a lot, which means you basically pretend that you believe something even though you may not. Sort of like putting yourself in the other guy's shoes.
Anyway, one of the beliefs he'd get people to try on was to "Pretend that you create everything that happens to you. When you find yourself in a situation you don't like, ask yourself what you did to make it happen to you."
If you flip your perspective on its head, you can inevitably come up with something in the past that contributed to your undesirable present. And, more than likely, you can think of something you could've done differently that might have prevented it.
OK, you ask, how does that help me now? For some people, it may not. For others, it might put you in a reflective mood, and you may be able to get to the next step:
Ask yourself what you can do today that will
a) keep it from getting any worse;
b) make up for the past error;
c) make it better
There's almost always something, but it's hard to see unless you look at the problem from a different perspective.
Got problems? Go ahead - try on the belief. Pretend you create everything that happens to you...