The other day I had someone apologise for letting me down, citing a long list of events that had happened to them.
They were stressing out as they explained in great detail the catalogue of misfortunes that had befallen them.
I suppose I could have nodded in sympathy.
I could have said I totally understand, maybe joined in, sharing stories of all the bad luck I’ve had.
Not my style. It’s faux kindness.
Instead I asked how being a pinball was working for them.
It’s frighteningly easy to learn helplessness, to bounce from one event to another; our wellbeing and options limited by external things.
It takes courage and creativity to get back control.
And friends and colleagues who call us on it, not to nod in sympathy and look the other way.
Because we all deserve the opportunity to be the lead in our own story, not the tragic or comedy character in someone else’s.
Events aren’t bad or unlucky unless we make them so.
So our options and responses are only limited if we decide they are.
Einstein said “you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it”.
So the next time you see a friend or colleague pin balling their way through life or work, do the kind thing and show them a better way.
Further Reading on helplessness
#stress #resilience #stoicism #leadership #mentalhealth #nexus8