We've all been in a situation at work where the day is coming to an end as an important deadline for a project is rapidly approaching. The tension in your stomach is getting worse and worse. You're rushing to finish when you suddenly get a call from your boss about another situation that needs to be addressed immediately. Stress and anxiety go sky high, you feel completely overwhelmed, and as a result, you turn in a lackluster, or even unfinished project.
You might ask yourself, "Why is this happening to me?" But, be careful of the perspective you take when dealing with difficulty. Because the thoughts you think become your reality.
Nothing happens "to" you
If you believe that problems or trying times are happening to you, in effect you're admitting to yourself that the difficulty is insurmountable and cannot be overcome. Therefore, you'll continue to believe you have no recourse and these difficulties are just your lot in life.
People with a positive outlook on life ask, "How is this happening through me?" This takes them out of a mindset where they feel they're completely all on their own. This positive perspective takes other people into account and those people with this mindset do everything to help themselves out of a tough spot, by thinking about how a situation can help, utilize, guide or benefit others.
When you come to the realization that things are happening through you, in the betterment of others as well as yourself, you frame the question as, "How can I help others, to then help myself?"
Change your perspective
Going back to the hypothetical situation, people who believe that all things are happening to them see themselves as a victim of circumstance. They overreact and are unable to balance their work and simultaneously deal with the urgent phone call. This victim mentality creates an ongoing perception of being powerless.
The person who believes that all things are happening to them reacts closemindedly. They see everything as "I" instead of "we," neglecting a situation's potential impact on everyone else, or a solution that others might be able to provide. The work may still get done, but only by them, which is an added and unnecessary pressure.
The individuals who figure out whom to give the project to, or whom to ask for help, so that both the task and the phone call get handled, are the ones who perceive the situation as something that's happening through them. They take action that is beneficial for all involved. They find a solution where they and others can learn, grow and get the job done in a timely fashion.
If you believe that something is happening through you, rather than to you, then you are working toward the betterment of all. Your perception becomes your reality, which is why a victim mentality leads to more victimization. When you take the selfish viewpoint, that things are happening to you, you aren't looking for the help of others. And if you aren't looking for help, you aren't likely to get it. The belief that events are happening through you places you in a position of accountability, for yourself and for others.
Accountability raises awareness
When you perceive yourself as accountable for the things happening through you, you no longer have tunnel vision. You are open to more possibilities and potential solutions to your problem, which elevates your awareness. This elevated awareness does more than just allow you to know what is happening, it guides you to the right people and it paves a path for you to take in order to move forward with whatever situation comes your way. Awareness, which some people refer to as their "gut," tells us which actions to take. Whether to go right or left, buy or sell, keep going or call it quits.
When we believe things happen to us, we're unable to receive the messages that the universe sends our way. Having the awareness of things happening through us, trusting the universe and accepting accountability inspires us to keep going and do the right thing.
So, it's vital to remember that whatever difficulty you are facing, it's not just about how you as an individual react; it's about how everyone can work together toward improvement, so that everybody reaps the benefits.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors