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Turning Things Around: Breaking Free From the Cycle of Doom and Gloom

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” There are many idioms, proverbs, and sayings, all of which support the idea that compared to the good, the bad invariably has a greater hold over us. In the study of Psychology, this notion is supported by the concept of Negativity Bias, which states that the brain is naturally hardwired to have a greater sensitivity to unpleasant experiences. Thus, trying to look for a silver lining in the midst of a catastrophe is not as simple as we sometimes make out to be. Neither is trying to look on the bright side of life when things go wrong.

However, when in a team there is nothing worse than letting an obstacle pull you down. It takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch, and simply allowing that negative situation – whether personal or work-related – to influence your actions can mean disaster for the team. Thus, it is imperative that we are able to remain positive even when adversity rears its ugly head. This is possible, provided that we make several realisations:

  1. We are not alone. Oftentimes when we feel under the weather for whatever reason, the first thing that we feel is an excruciating sorrow that stems from the perception that we are alone in this world and that no one will ever understand our situation nor know how to remedy it. Unfortunately, or rather thankfully, this is false, and the reverse is true. There is definitely someone who has gone through what you are going through and has felt what you are feeling. There may even be someone going through the exact same experience. It does no harm to seek advice from such people. Their words will be enlightening and will see you through your crisis.
  1. Whatever challenge we are facing, it will come to pass. Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient: all joys, but also all sorrows. It is thus needless to say that brooding over something, imagining what could have been, thinking about what could have been done, is nothing but energy being wasted. Instead, try channelling that energy into thinking of a solution. A low is nothing more than an opportunity for creativity, for innovation.
  1. A person is not defined by his failures, just as he is not defined by his successes. It is a slippery slope down when we are feeling at our worst, as we tend to find ourselves caught in a cycle of hopelessness, as though Providence is against us, as though we have been forsaken by the universe. However, for everything wrong in our lives, there are just as many if not more that are right. Got your ideas rejected over and over again? You still have your family, your friends, your hobbies. That sense of futility is secondary in the great scheme of our lives, and there is no need to stay trapped by it.

So for those of you who feel down, fret not. Things will turn around soon enough. You just have to take the first step and realise that there is nothing is ever truly futile. And trust us, from experience we know that your team will appreciate your efforts.