I was recently reminded of a television miniseries, Noble House, based on James Clavell’s novel of the same title.
The lead played by Pierce Brosnan takes over a failing family business. While in discussions with an American investor and the CEO of his business, they take time off to attend a horse race. Brosnan, who is obviously enjoying the event, is asked how he can enjoy the event given the overwhelming threats to his family’s business.
He responds saying that everything has a compartment and it remains there until he’s ready to work on it. Wow, imagine the confidence it takes to set aside the challenges you face and not let them deprive you of the joy of living.
You already possess confidence, more in some situations than others, but you are a confident person. The question is “How do you take it to the level of Brosnan’s character?”
First, realize that everyone faces problems. No one goes through life unscathed. That way you won’t feel like a victim. You’re dealing with issues just as everyone else.
Second, recall the most challenging situations you’ve faced and how you dealt with each of them. You’ll quickly discover that you’ve always found a way to deal with the situation. That doesn’t mean the solution was perfect, but it was effective.
Third, look at the most challenging situations you faced from a different perspective. Ask “When did I make the most progress? Was it when I pressed harder and harder? Or when I stepped back and allowed my emotions to subside?” You’ll recall that you made the most progress when you removed emotions from your decisions.
Fourth, are you compounding the problem? One of the advantages of compartmentalization is that it keeps each problem separate and, consequently, more manageable. A single issue is more easily dealt with than several, often unrelated, issues.
Fifth, as you work on one issue leave the others in their compartments. If you allow the others to creep into your consciousness while you’re working on one problem, you’ll slow progress on all issues.
Sixth, when you feel that you done as much as you can on a particular issue, put it back into its compartment. Allow your mind time to enjoy the progress you made and the peace that comes from a brief respite from intensely-focused work. Three to five minutes is more than adequate to prepare you for the next issue.
Seventh, reflect on how much you accomplished in a short period of time because your focus was so intense and complete. Also recognize how much higher your energy level is from having set aside the emotions normally associated with unresolved issues. You have the energy to enjoy life despite the challenges you face.
When you find yourself facing multiple challenges, compartmentalize them. Remind yourself that you’ll deal with them when you choose and for as long as you feel you’re making progress.
Save the list above to remind you of the confidence you already possess. That makes it easier to compartmentalize and sustain, if not increase, your confidence.
For our kids
When your kids experience doubts, fear and anxiety on multiple fronts, teach them to put their challenges into compartments. Let them know that they get to choose when to pull out a given challenge to work on it. Help them realize that the right thing to do is to stop working on an issue when they no longer feel that they’re making progress…that setting aside the challenge will help them overcome it more quickly than continuing to press for a solutions.
As they employ what you’re telling them they’ll experience emotions subsiding instantaneously. They’ll also feel their emotions being replaced with confidence and a sense of purpose. Their experiences will then cause them to continue to employ this simple technique throughout their lives.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, share your wisdom in a comment below.
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