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Prompted: Avoiding the Downward Spiral
I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday afternoon and ready to reflect on a new idea before the start of the week. Today is a quick read about how we approach decisions when things don’t go our way.
As always, thanks for reading!
Avoiding the Downward Spiral
One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.
Rita Mae Brown
Moving through life is similar to a round of golf. Although 18 holes of golf takes about 4 hours, the entire round is only 80-100 shots, and each swing requires complete focus and effort to get right.
Inevitably a bad shot is hit, and frustration sets in. When it’s time to hit the next shot, golfers face a choice: remain frustrated and lose focus or forget about the last shot and focus on the present.
The choice seems easy, but it’s just as difficult on the golf course as it is in real life.
When something doesn’t go our way it’s easy to throw our hands in the air and give up. We might say, “that’s just my luck,” or ask, “what’s the point?” Frustration from one event wants to leak into the next, and with each new challenge, we continue to spiral downward if we don’t recenter ourselves.
To avoid the downward spiral, golfers do something very simple: they approach every shot in exactly the same way. They build a routine that they fall back on, so they can think about the shot in front of them instead of their emotions or the shot behind them.
A bad shot doesn’t influence what they do next because they have a structured approach for the execution of each shot.
We can benefit from stealing their strategy in our lives. If we have a bad day at work, that shouldn’t influence the way we treat our spouse, friends, kids, or anyone else that we’re interacting with. The frustration leaks over because we don’t have a conscious routine to approach each part of our day.
Creating clear boundaries between each activity is helpful in creating separation and providing an opportunity to recenter ourselves and prepare for what’s next. Within that space, author Brendan Burchard suggests we “Release tension, set intention”.
The simple framework is enough to let one thing roll off our backs and enter the next part of our day with intention.
When we’re able to consciously process how we’re feeling and approach everything with a clear head, we can avoid the downward spiral of frustration and doubt that overcomes us when the lines between everything we do blur together.
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When was the last time it felt like you were spiraling downward? How did it start?
How do you separate each part of your day? Is it sufficient?
What does your version of a “Release tension, Set intention” routine look like?
An interesting book with a few powerful exercises to assist in becoming a bit better each day.
Tiger Wood’s strategy for forgetting about bad shots.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.