Punching the Clown

the clown keeps bouncing backOne Christmas when I was very young I got a fun little toy; at least fun for a young boy.  It was an inflatable clown with a rounded, weighted base.  Once you blew him up he stood tall.  He had the nice red nose sticking out and you could aim for it and basically box the clown.  Punch him and he is bouncing back and you can punch him again.  Of course, you always won.  Or did you?

The amazing thing about that clown was that no matter how many times or how hard I hit him, he kept bouncing back up immediately.  Punch him right on the nose, and he rolls right back up so I can hit him again.  Kick him with a nice 7 year old karate kick and he bounced back.  Nothing short of deflating him totally would keep him down.  Even then, you would simply fill him back up and he was ready to go again.  Got a leak?  No problem, patch him up, blow him up, and he is ready to go.  He just didn’t know that he should stay down.  He just kept bouncing back.

Bouncing Back from Problems

It is inevitable.  Problems will come along.  Things rarely go as planned.  You think you are in line for a promotion, you get laid off.  You think you are making progress financially and the house needs a major repair.

In the last five years, we have dealt with issues like everyone else.  Layoffs, a child with Borderline Personality Disorder who has run away from home repeatedly, lots of medical issues which ran up expenses, a very down year for my business, and more recently the federal government shutdown which put my wife on furlough meaning no income.

We could sit and cry about our problems.  No one would really blame us.  But it doesn’t solve anything.  I like to be solution oriented.  This is where a positive attitude comes in.  I don’t believe in defeat, just delay.  I am not down unless I think I am.  I will keep bouncing back as long as I can.  The positive attitude allows us to think clearly about solutions instead of dwelling on problems.  A positive attitude keeps us outwardly focused instead of inwardly focused, avoiding having a pity party.  You have to have faith in your ability to keep bouncing back and finding solutions to your problems.  Norman Vincent Peale mentions that achieving your potential requires that faith when he said,

“Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will.”

keep bouncing backSo a positive attitude actually helps us to keep bouncing back from our problems.  In fact, there is research to support that.  In an article in Entrepreneur Magazine, they cite research done at the University of North Carolina that determined that positive emotions “expand awareness and attention” which makes you more open to possible solutions than negative thinking will.

Open up your mind to possibilities.  Believe they are there and like the inflatable clown, keep bouncing back up!

Action Plan

  1. Focus your mind on positive, affirming thoughts.  Encourage yourself that you can keep bouncing back, that you WILL find solutions, that nothing will keep you down.  Don’t move on to the next step until you have reached a positive outlook.
  2. Now think of one main thing that  is threatening to bring you down? Focus on that.  Spend 15 minutes of uninterrupted time brainstorming possible solutions.  If this issue involves your spouse or significant other, include them.  The rules are:
    1. No more than 15 minutes – anything that will come will flow within that time span
    2. No interruptions – no phone, no texting, nothing
    3. No discussion or commentary – whatever ideas come out go down on paper no matter how impossible or silly or stupid they sound.  Write them down.
  3. Now that you have a list of possible s0lutions, discuss them.  Pare down to top 5 possibles.
  4. Take the top 5 and determine two more likely options.
  5. Determine which one to try first.
  6. Invoke that solution today.