07 May Sometimes In Bankruptcy It Is Good To Focus On Something Besides Yourself.
The term bankruptcy often sends people into a spiraling state of panic as I have discussed in prior articles. It is not unusual when discussing the bankruptcy process for people to break out in a cold sweat. Their pupils dilate as their flight or fight system kicks in from the fear that washes over them. As well a lump develops in their throat and a gnawing sensation swells in their gut from the fear and anticipation when discussing bankruptcy. These feelings and physiological responses are great if you are getting ready to compete in any athletic event but not so much when you are dealing with the reality that your finances appear to be beyond your control. So what do you do?
You have two choices. First you can give into your fear which can result in ulcers and going further into panic mode. Or take Door #2 and face your fears head on. It is truly that easy? Just make a choice and take the action? For most humans it is not that easy and don’t let anyone undermine you if can’t turn the magical switch and cure all that ails you. Very rarely can someone change their behavior instantly. For most it is a process that takes time to make a change.
When you are in a panic mode, especially when you have no clue of how you are going to put food on the table, it is easy to become tunnel visioned. All you see is that you are a failure for not providing for yourself and/or your family with no relief in sight. So what do you do?
Step away. Step away in order to gain focus. Sounds weird? Think of the situation as a camera. If you try and focus on an object up close the camera often times cannot focus. You must pull back from the object to allow the lens the ability to focus and then you can approach the object again. Sometimes you must pull back from the object as well as adjusting the lighting to allow it to be brought into focus. Your financial dilemma is no different.
You are human which means you have frailties. Guess what, we all have frailties in some aspect of our lives. This does not necessarily mean we are weak but it does mean we are human. Keeping this in mind when facing a situation that seems like there are no answers to be had allows you to step out of the tunnel while allowing light to illuminate the problem. So being the camera you are going to pull from the situation and focus on something else besides yourself.
What??? You want me to NOT focus on the fact that I am flat broke and can’t put food on the table? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Changing your focus is not about burying your head in the sand or running away from the financial elephant sitting on your chest. It is simply pulling back from the current focal point to allow a fresh perspective.
Successful artists, authors, mathematicians, scientists, employers, etc… will often change their perspective when facing a roadblock. This can be simply stepping away from the problem and taking a walk to focus on the splendor of nature. Other ideas to change your focus or perspective: listen to upbeat music, donate your time helping someone else, sit in a quiet room while clearing your thoughts and deep breathing or make a list of everything positive in your life no matter how small. In fact I highly recommend that you end each day writing down three things that are positive about the day. When we change our focus we allow our spirit and our minds to seek out new solutions that we might not have been able to see before. It allows us to change our perspective.
Yes, it is true that some people truly cannot afford to place food on the table. Or they must choose between buying medication or buying food. But for most the fact is that they can purchase food, prepare it and place it on the table but they rather eat out instead. By changing the focus and the re-examining the financial problem you can seek out a solution. It may not be a solution that you desire but it is a solution that can assist you in regaining financial control. Eating out is a common fact for many in today’s society and the fact is we spend more money on eating out than if we were to stay home and cook. So maybe by changing your focus with respect to food preparation you can find a creative solution.
For example, you hit the local grocery store and see what is on sale that week. From there you make it a challenge for the “family” to create a menu around these sale items. If you have a Price Chopper in your area, you are lucky. They take their sale items and present menu ideas from these sale items. I take this idea one step further. I gather the menu ideas from Price Chopper and the list of sale items then head on over to Walmart to Price Match. Reality is Walmart overall offers a better price point for groceries. I too hate grocery shopping and cooking so I changed my focus from food preparation the chore to food preparation the great adventure. It works!
One of my clients is always upbeat to the point of delirium. One day I asked her for her secret for remaining so positive when facing financial and health problems. Her response: “Child, there is no secret. Everyday on this side of the dirt is a good day to be alive.” She went on to explain that as long as she woke up on this side of the dirt and with God by her side there was nothing so insurmountable that she could not seek out a solution. She may not like the solution but there was ALWAYS a solution to be had. For as long as I have known her, her focus remains on God and seeking solutions instead of the problem.
Is she perfect? Although she is magnificent in my point of view she remains humble and admits that she has stumbled a time or two in her long lifetime. She does not focus on the times that she has stumbled but rather finds strength in the all the hurdles she has overcome. What a great perspective! I am a very blessed attorney as hardly a week goes by without one of my clients inspiring me as well as providing a different focal point to gain perspective on my life.
Remember that knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have about changing your perspective, the more power you will have work through any problems in your life.
If you try the great food preparation adventure or other techniques to change your perspective, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing about new and creative solutions to this thing we call life.