This is all about perception, bottom line and resilience, top line.
Using the famous SWOT analysis as an analogy for one’s life, how we handle decisions, changes and circumstances more or less dictates how we navigate through our years. By using the SWOT model you can start to see that a strength is relative to the opportunity and threat that coexist with it. Strength therefore, doesn’t live in isolation of the other elements of the model. Weakness is exactly the same. Weakness is relative to opportunity and threat too. Now here’s the cool part;
By understanding your strengths you can isolate your weaknesses and in doing so, put a plan in place to develop one and negate the overall effects of the other. If you ignore your weaknesses, they can only be linked to your threats, but if you acknowledge them and work on them, they become part of your life’s toolkit and not just something others can attack you with.
Now to Resilience:
Dealing with and managing weaknesses is by no means an easy win. This is where you have to show insight, foresight and hindsight. Insight, because you understand who you are, foresight because you are aware of how you need to be to progress and hindsight, because you’ve seen the effect of this issue in the past.
Insight+foresight +hindsight = Resilience
Weakness therefore is something you manage as opposed to something you are exposed by or help captive by. You control it, it doesn’t control you.
It’s not often that we can be honest, in its most raw form. Honest that is, with our own selves. Of course, the world outside is increasingly fraught with social regression and a form of self-imposed recidivism (we are going backwards into groupthink). The level of stress placed on our shoulders, the expectations we carry, the lack of time and patience. These are all creating a ‘loop’ of constant tension, be it for arbitrary or profound issues alike.
Now this may sound a little OTT, but the gist is as follows; it is becoming a more stressful world and the term stress has many meanings and associations with other behaviour patterns such as tension, lack of confidence and direction. For this piece, I wanted to focus our attention on a type of stress that we bring to our own door. The type we create with bad ideas and even worse decisions. Admittedly, this is a tough pill to swallow, but if you truly have a desire to improve your sense of self and develop your abilities, then this form of self-reflection is essential to that exact progress you seek. So let’s dive in and examine in short and easy to understand statements, how we bring stress to our selves.
How self-created stress emerges…from the actions of others to my own:
Created when I lack control over my environment (things that I directly influence)
Arises when others do not take responsibly for their actions and choices and neither do I
Arises when I make the wrong choice or action but deny it
Created when I promise too much to myself or someone else and can’t fulfil
Proves that I’m still ‘living’ but most likely have things worked out in a less effective fashion and this has impacted on me
Proves that I still matter to someone or something enough for it to create ‘meaningful’ dilemmas, but I might be approaching matters incorrectly
Something that happens when you want something too much (unrealistic expectations)
When you need a break or rest (but refuse to acknowledge it)
The natural environment of modern society and its processes (I just accept it and don’t fight back with passion and vision)
Interestingly, the last one is very strange, because it is as much about stress as it about or own inability to recognise how much ground we concede to norms and values without questioning them. Slowly, they build a wall of passive acceptance in us despite our own path becoming difficult. We end up taking on the stress because we don’t feel we can resist these conventions and therefore by default, we accept change is not a realistic option for us.
Stress is about manageable emotions and feelings that have been allowed to manifest themselves as more. They become like bullies, like a ignorant person you meet who you know should know better, yet they don’t. Stress arises from normal mundane matters that have become more siginificant due to our own lack of will, time or understanding in how to handle them originally. Stress nags your mind, preys on your weaker thoughts and exacerbates existing negative perceptions we may hold. Showing greater will, determination and awareness generally results in you being more able to address matters and make decisions. Nerves are different to stress and anxiety is different to it also. If we can learn to separate the nature of the emotion being felt, we have a chance to work on its root cause or least put in place steps to help limit impact.
Because you know its inevitable but you still want to believe you can prevent it happening
Because you can lack control over change sometimes and that makes you feel vulnerable, which is far from an ideal feeling
Because change involves adapting to things you may not like or want to accept
Because sometimes the result of change may affect you in ways that you perceive to be negative before it even occurs
Because we get usedto how things are and don’t like the idea of them being different
Because sometimes, even if we are suffering, we may fear the consequences of change so much that the feelings of suffering appear to be more manageable than confronting their root cause
Because the unknown makes us uncomfortable so we tend to stick with the familiar, including bad routines for example
Because it may involve sacrifice which is something that sounds dangerous
Because the meanings associated with the word ‘change’ has been fed to us through modern cultural narratives to mean something either simple (change of clothes) or something profound (change in health) and such extremes make our minds uncomfortable with the notion of accepting it as something that sits right in the middle of the human condition
Because deep down, without change, there is no life and when life seems like it’s on hold, we start seeing change as something that can wait too, but the truth is….it can’t
It takes a certain type of journey or path to build character. Often it is the less desired route one must take into order start to appreciate the more serene efforts of success and achievement. That is not to say that once you reach your destination, the effort can stop or that character is not required. What is evident from history is that the more difficult the path, the greater the character building and once the path is easier, then a different type of character is needed; an appreciative one.
We live in a world that is constantly moving the boundaries between reality and fantasy. We are almost at the point where the two have merged into an ever-present networked, interconnected and ubiquitous sensory ‘rush’. People are quick to point out that they have the ‘right’ to define ‘real’ as they see fit, but you see the trouble with this is that if what you have defined as your ‘real’ doesn’t then manifest that way, your sense of loss, despair and hopelessness is generally ‘off the scale’.
This sounds serious no? I mean, you are bombarded with narratives, images and social norms that condition your mind to accept that being real is now connected to being anything at any given time. Being real could be thinking you can climb a mountain while sitting on your couch, it could be sailing around the world from your bed or being a movie star from your desk at work. Our imaginations have always been powerful arbiters of our desires, dreams and ambitions. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but what happens when external forces start to wrestle away our sense of imagination and replace it with what they think we are thinking?
Artificial intelligence is artificial for a reason. Virtual reality is virtual for a reason. Our perception is linked to our personal experience and our perspective is shaped through this perception and that of the external world around us. There is very little left in our digitally controlled world that reminds our conscience of what the attributes of the word ‘real’ are anymore. Somewhat ironically, the conscience is the only unlimited gift we posses and it’s the exact thing that brands, products, advertisers and corporations are all chasing us for. The conscience expands as our understanding of realisation does and this is what is linked to the concept of self-actualisation. Therefore, the conscience is tied to the self and the self is our most powerful tool in our own hands. When this tool is at the mercy of external influences, its configuration (perception, awareness, hope, fear, doubt, certainty, pain, love etc.) is no longer managed by what is ‘real’. It is instead managed by a complex network of subtle and sustained influences that over time combine to form a ‘pseudo-conscience’.
If this all getting a little too ‘Star Trek’, then let’s bring to the ‘real’ (gotta love the irony). Ask yourself, what is ‘hype’ and what is ‘real’. Hype is what you build around something. Real is what you build, feel, sense, touch, taste, understand, know and be part of. You can of course be ‘part’ of hype, but what happens when hype wear off? This is the difference between ‘real’ as lived and understood by your own conscience and ‘real’ as sent to you by algorithms and hype. Real is what you are when you attach only the appropriate value to things as opposed to trying to ‘add value’ to things for the sake of it. Real is a state of mind. Real is a state of being at one with reality and perception. Real is the part of you that knows ‘you’ the best. Everything else is trying to convince you that ‘real is not really’ in your hand’s at all…this leave me to ask the question…are you real?