Have the 3P Strategy Ready at Hand
I am always fascinated by the story of the ants in the Bible. The ants seem to know that seasons of drought are inevitable. With this knowledge, they are not surprised neither are they discouraged because they know what to do. They store their food in summer in preparation for the coming winter.They are armed with knowledge and solutions to deploy.
One day, winter also came in 1946 for a young bubly teen girl called Edith Eva Eger. She and her family were rounded up by the German Nazi and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. What saved the little girl was that she was armed with artillery of power that was ready to be deployed at the enemy.
Edith’s mother knew from experience that winter moments usually happen in life. The secret was preparing for it before it comes. She taught her daughter that the wielded so much power in her mind. She armed her daughter ready to face life. She reaffirmed to her repeatedly that no one will ever take away what you put she puts in her mind. These words would annihilate any power that threatened her victory. The ready-at-hand power brought summer back into her life. She survived because she was well equipped.
So why am I sharing these stories? Preparation is very key in life. Failures like winter is unavoidable. Unfortunate events like the one faced by Eger can happen to anyone. The ants are not immune by the biting winter hunger. What differentiates those people who thrive and not that are bitten by the frosty weather is their level of preparedness. How ready are you to face the vicissitudes of life?
Martin Seligman studied a group of people who went through traumatic events and failures . He established that those who beat the winter seasons of their lives were those who possessed the 3P’s. These 3P’s are personalization, parvasiveness and parmenence.
Do you believe that what is happening to you is parmanent? Do you believe that your condition is parmanent? How about your relationship, is it unrepairable? Do you believe you are unemployable? Do you believe you are uneducable? Are your business loses unrecoverable? Is your homeless situation parmanent? Think again. Pause. Pause again.
If you have the belief that your failure is parmanent, irreversible then you are the right candidate to use the first P. When you posses this mindset of seeing situations as parmenent, they you will spend more of your energy fighting the wrong enemy. Instead of channeling your energy on what you can do, your emotions become your enemy to progress . You become discouraged and dejected that no matter what you do, your actions are bound to hit a wall. The very wall that can only be brought down by arming yourself with empowering keys.
Change your attitude and adopt the mindset of imparmanence. This will unlock the doors to great potential. This attitude will help you walk with confidence knowing that you will overcome whatever stands in your way. This is the mindset that knows that with the right steps, winter will soon usher its doors to breathtakingly beautiful summer.
This is belief that a failure will affect all areas of your life. With this kind of mindset at hand, you will give up on the rest of the things that you could have done so well. In order to avoid spiralling down the abyss of failure, you need to look at events separately and now allow failure to seep deeper, take roots and affect all areas of your life.
Epictetus was one the great Stoic Philosophers who understood the power of pervasiveness. He knew the importance of preparing his mind to handle life’s inevitable failures and challenges. He even wrote a book named Enchirodian which means “ready at hand”
Epictetus was born a slave to and grew up in Asia Minor. He spoke the Greek language of his slave mother. At the age of 15, he was chained and taken to Rome in a slave caravan. By the time he was being auctioned at Rome, he was already a parmenent cripple. His chained legs had developed bruises which had been left untreated. He was bought so cheaply by a man named Epaphroditus, a secretary of Emperor Nero.
“Sickness is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless itself pleases. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to the will; and say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens. For you will find it to be an impediment to something else, but not truly to yourself.”-Epictetus
Epectitus knew better than to view his view his life as utter failure. His slave status and crippled legs did not limit his will and his potential to become the world most sought after Philosophers. He proactively took time to learn the Stoic Philosophy and become of the best students in Rome.
A single failure in your exam does not make you a failure in life. Ask Jack Ma.
Failure at work does not make you a failed parent
Faulure to get the nomination seat does not disqualify you in life. Ask Abraham Lincoln
Failure in one relationship does not mean you are immuned to love and happiness. Ask Oprah Winfrey
Failure in one business does not make you failure as an entrepreneur. Ask Michael Zuckerberg
Failure to be selected in the team does not disqualify you to be the best NBA player. Ask Michael Jordan
Failure to sign a publishing deal with the biggest bublishing House in your country does not disgualify you as a writer. Ask Steven King and JK Rowling.
This is the belief that failures, misfortune, mistakes, tragedies only happens to us. This state of mind grounds us, and makes us lose focus on the real issue. The moment we focus outside our problems, we are able to see that human beings are faced with similar challenges that we face. Compassion is birthed when we are able to see the interconnection between all human beings. As we extend compassion to others, it is important to extend the same to ourselves when we are in the midst of difficulties.
There is a famous Buddhist story of the woman who had lost her child and was inconsolable in her grief. She carried her child from one place to another crying for help. She was so much grieved by the loss. She begged anyone and everyone to help her bring her child back to life. She called on her child to wake up. Her face lit up when she found a monk, who offered to help her. At last, someone understood her. The monk told her to go, and collect a mustard seed. The woman happily agreed, but then the monk added that the mustard seeds needed to come from a house that had not been touched by death.
When the woman visited each house in search for the seed that might save her child, she was shocked to discover there was no house that had not suffered from a loss of a parent, a spouse or a child. The knowledge that her situation was not personal opened up a new world she was not aware of. She developed a realistic vision that helped her deal with her grief. She came back, she grieved and buried her son and joined her community. She felt less lonely and isolated around her community. She found loving relationships that embraced and allowed her to share her feelings and vulnerability.
Build resilience using the 3P method. Have them ready at hand and like the ants you will be ready to deploy them when your winter season comes.
Have the 3P ready at hand
Parmenence is the belief that failure is parmenent. Adopt the impermanence belief
Personalization is the belief that it is only you who is faced by failure. Open your mind and see what others go through
Pervasiveness is the belief that failure in one area of your life means failure in others area. Adopt the impervasivesness attitude and single out failures.