January 9, 2008 – 9:51 am
Why is it when we’re most muddled and under the greatest pressure, we see most clearly?
A few days ago, an event occurred that should have had the woman it was happening to nose-diving into a hole and pulling it in after her. Mounting pressures had attacked her from all sides and yet rather than being overwhelmed or out of sorts, she’s not only coping but exhibiting strengths never before seen in her. And most notably, the strengths didn’t seem like devices or convenient, unnatural fixes. She wasn’t faking it. She was genuinely making it. That made me think, and ask questions.
Why wasn’t she overwhelmed at these mounting pressures?
Because when pressure is exerted, we focus intently on the problem. The more intense the pressure, the harder we focus. We don’t think about other things–issues, challenges, and/or problems. We focus on that which has our attention. And intense pressure draws intense focus, our intense attention.
These inner strengths. Did she really have them all along, or did they manifest because they were required for to retain credibility and sanity?
Strength doesn’t manifest from thin air. She had to have it all along. Hints of it were there, in her daily living and interactions with others. But until the pressure on her grew intense, the obstacles she faced were insufficient to warrant that deep-seated strength showing up. It remained untapped until needed. Hidden. An inner strength.
Up and until this point, she had no reason to summon those inner strengths to deal with her challenges. When circumstances required it, the strength showed up.
While it’s comforting to see that–if it can happen for her, it can happen for the rest of us–what crossed my mind was this: Is it real? Credible? Or is she just going through the motions because she thinks that’s what she’s supposed to do?
We’ve all heard “necessity breeds invention.” But it takes necessity and choice mixing it up to breed the courage, discipline and the character to rise to the occasion to do what must be done.
That was comforting. We all get to choose what we embrace. So if we have strength and we need strength, we too can choose to mix it up with courage, discipline and character to rise to our occasions and do what must be done.
But is that a logical deduction?
We don’t manifest skills and abilities out of nowhere. And we have different skills and abilities. So is choosing what we embrace in crises and expecting strength to manifest logical? Is this a reasonable expectation?
Some say it depends on the crisis. But I’m not one of them. If we look back at our lives, we’ve all faced adversity. We’ve been tossed challenges–sometimes many at once. And in dealing with them, we have acquired crisis resolution skills.
While the skill might not match this crisis, the experience we gained on that crisis does give us a foundation for resolving this crisis.
There is a connectedness to things that occur in our lives, and because there is, we have accumulated skills and talents that we’re aware of and many that we aren’t that translate to resolution skills.
Mentally we must be sharp enough to know it. Physically we must be strong enough to accomplish physical requirements. Those, of course, can be obstacles. But the biggest obstacle is that our crisis resolutions must be consistent with our personal philosophy. That makes it consistent with the way we think and process challenges. That makes it natural to us, which means we’ll arrive at a crisis resolution with which we are at peace.
Someone else’s resolution is problematic unless we’ve looked at it and are in total agreement. Why is that significant to us?
It goes to credibility. Once credibility is questioned on one point, it’s questioned on all fronts. The door is open and if we doubt ourselves on any act, then we’re in the proverbial bucket of worms. Every act or action we take, we question. We grow skeptical and cynical and that undermines our confidence in ourselves and in our abilities to actually resolve anything.
Take the old issue of someone lying to you.
•You take them at their word.
•You believe them.
•Then You discover the untruth (either by their own admittance or through a third party).
Regardless of how you learned the truth, you naturally wonder what else this person has lied to you about. It’s no longer a matter of the one lie. It’s a matter of everything they’ve ever said or done.
Then comes more doubt. The liar’s motivations are called into question. Why would they lie to you?
Their credibility is shot.
Like I said, a bucket of worms.
This human response makes it apparent that opening that bucket of worms is a bad idea. It resolves nothing and creates more challenges and crises. Ones that don’t typically resolve well because the character of liar can’t be trusted. What’s to say any resolution made will be kept? Trust? Faith? Oops. Those bonds have already been broken, and it takes a lot of work to repair and restore them. Sometimes it works, sometimes the damage is too great and despite efforts, it just doesn’t.
So you want your character to remain intact. Credible. If its veracity is tested, you want the confidence of knowing you’re not perfect but you will stand up to the test and pass it. That speaks to the good health of your inner strength.
Human beings are allowed imperfections. Some consider them endearing–until they cause challenges. Inflict pain, and that “endearing” becomes “unacceptable.” But when we’re in crisis, we don’t want to be or to surround ourselves with those we can’t trust implicitly. We don’t want to (and won’t) drain our focus from our crisis and constantly look for evidence of truth in what is said/done by our “allies,” including the ally within ourselves.
So what’s the bottom line:
1. We all have crises.
2. We all have untapped skills and abilities that relate to help us resolve them.
3. We all have experience in crisis resolution that translates to assist us in successfully resolving other crises.
4. We choose our reactions and our resolutions. It’s up to us to determine if we choosing the right or wrong ones, and either way, we’re responsible for the decisions we make.
5. Our harmonious resolutions are an inherent outgrowth of who we are (mentally, physically and spiritually).
6. We’re greater than the sum of our parts, and we can cope with what we must provided we remember who we are and why we are, and we elect to resolve.
7. Clarity and purpose exist. We choose to focus our attention long enough to notice.