As I work on finding opportunity in adversity, I ask myself the following questions:
- What can I do?
- What else can I do?
- What will I do?
- Am I proud of what I’m choosing to do?
What Can I Do?
The situation may be challenging. The difficulties, plenty. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, drowing in the sea of racing thoughts. Asking myself “What can I do?” brings the focus to what’s in my control. Fighting over things outside of my control is pointless.
What Else Can I Do?
It’s important to ask “What else can I do?”. It’s easy to settle in the first idea or thought at times of distress. Depending on the emotional state and frame of mind, the immediate answer to what I can do may be “Give up!”. Asking what else I can do prompts the mind to look for alternatives.
What Will I Do?
Hopefullly armed with a list of possibilities, my next question is “What will I do?”. I have the power of choice. If I’ve given thought to the list I came up with answering the first two questions, I should have what I need to make a decision and then commit to it.
Deciding to “do nothing” can very well be the best choice. Deciding to “let it go”, too. To quote a thought I got from Headspace, “Is a problem still a problem if we don’t think of it as such?”. What if what we first perceived as a problem turns out to be an opportunity in disguise?
“But what kind of opportunity in disguise would be best taken by doing nothing?”, we may ask. Maybe I’m being presented with an opportunity to be patient, to be mindful, to wait and collect more information and wait for the last responsible moment to make a decision or take an action.
If options such as “do nothing”, “give up”, or “let it go” are on the list, I’ll double-check to make sure I’m not just considering taking the lazy route, though.
Am I Proud of What I’m Choosing to Do?
This question I got from James Clear’s “3-2-1” post a few weeks ago: “Am I proud of what I’m choosing to do?”. I’ve had it written on my whiteboard and keep checking it multiple times to make sure what I’m choosing to do in the moment is aligned with my answer to “what will I do?”.
I have been very proud during the times where many people are concerned with how to be productive while quarantined.
So, for short, “What can I do? What will I do?” (big focus on the latter). Those are the triggers to get me thinking about those four questions.