One thing that I’ve found useful is learned optimism, which is the idea that a talent or skill can be cultivated with effort, that failure is temporary, and that negative thoughts and behaviours can be replaced by positive ones. By better understanding our own beliefs and reactions in the face of adversity, we are empowered to more positively respond to the tricky situations we encounter. It’s learning to see the glass as half full and not half empty. It doesn’t matter to me whether I fail or not. It’s about knowing that I genuinely tried, grew through the process and had no regrets, instead of sitting around wondering ‘what if’.
Without a doubt, hardship can make you feel vulnerable, particularly when your emotions are involved. But from this vulnerability comes great learning, so it’s important to practise digging deep and being courageous when things seem most difficult.
Throughout my years as an athlete, there were all sorts of challenges and hurdles that I had to get through in order to succeed, and each small win along the way gave me the strength and self-belief that I could get over the next hurdle. Taking the time to appreciate what went well and why gave me the evidence and confidence in my own ability to create positive change in my life. It also enabled me to find great satisfaction in the journey, not just the outcomes.
For me, it’s about reprogramming. We shouldn’t think that life is a quest for ongoing happiness. It’s about overall wellbeing and building your capacity to not just enjoy the ride, but to direct it.