Last time I wrote about peeking into a brighter future and I discussed the importance of self-discipline in making changes and improvements in our life. “Self-discipline is the ability to get ourselves to take action regardless of our emotional state” was a quote I used but wait just a stinkin’ minute!
Who among us has not found ourselves stuck, stalled, paralyzed, high-centered, and unable to move forward despite our steeliest self-discipline? Let’s admit it, even the best of us has been there. More than once. Maybe a lot. Maybe even Tony Robbins. At times, we all find ourselves in a slump.
Synchronicity is something that often happens when we find ourselves perplexed by something. We are trying so hard to think ourselves out of it we literally fail to see what is right before our eyes. Synchronicity! I love that word! It’s a term coined by Carl Jung, a famous psychoanalyst who worked with Sigmund Freud. In simple terms it means when things happen that are remarkably related but appear to have no common connection. You might call them meaningful coincidences, sort of like when you are thinking about a friend and out of the blue she calls you that very same day.
If you pay close attention and keep your antennae raised for a signal, you will be astonished at what you see and hear. A song with lyrics describing exactly what you are feeling, a news article about an athlete in a slump, a friend confides they are in a slump. Hallelujah, you are not alone! All around you are other folks in a slump, trying to get out of theirs.
My brother, the amazingly talented photographer who creates all the images I use in my posts, told me not too long ago he was in a photography slump. And then he quoted one of my favorite geniuses, Dr. Seuss. “When you’re in a slump you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
Not fun, but not hopeless or impossible. As always, my best advice is be as kind to yourself as you’d be to a good friend. Yes, be tough on yourself but know when to ease back on the whip a bit. Oddly enough, when I am totally unmotivated, I sometimes find that helping someone else out of their funk is precisely the medicine I need. And it always seems that the right songs, the right books, the right people and right words show up just when I need them.
Here are three things I’d like to pitch out to you if you find yourself in need of un-slumping.
1. Often times, a lack of motivation is actually a case of overwhelm. So many things you want to improve, it’s hard to know where to begin! Think small and start with one thing you want to work on. It’s hard, I know it, but it’s the best way to focus and keep your energy flowing toward your objective. Choose the one that matters most to you. Then, think Annie, think Mary Poppins. Begin with 1-2-3, A-B-C, do-re-mi. Reach one goal, then start on another.
2. Motivation is kind of like weather, moon phases or tides, sometimes it ebbs but inevitably it flows again. Think about what you want to do every day, read about it, talk about it, look for inspiration. Your determination may leave for a while but it will return and if you stay prepared to catch the next wave, it will be there.
3. Stick with it. Tenacity and pure grit can overcome almost any obstacle. Don’t give up and don’t feel you have failed if you don’t entirely achieve what you try to do. Sometimes great gifts and insights come disguised as failure. You will have become a better person for having tried with your whole heart and there is always a lesson and a gift hidden in the setback, you just need to look for it. Fall down, get up. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The best part of all is that like most things, “this too shall pass”. Remember that. Before you know it the sun will shine again and what seemed so difficult will look pretty simple in the rear view mirror. My brother’s slump? Well, it passed too and some of his most amazing shots, like this one, happened once he realized his well was far from dry, wouldn’t you agree? The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar!