Some of you who are reading this might have gone through terrible stuff in your lives that left you dumbstruck and distracted for days. Maybe there was a girl in your life, or a boy. Or maybe it was a friend who just isn’t anymore. I get it. I’d been there too. And I know exactly what it feels like.
I want to talk to those of you who want to make a difference in our world, but are so distracted by those tragic events that you aren’t able to focus on what you have to do. How do you channel all that built up frustration/sadness/disappointment into doing something productive? Can it even be done?
1. The denial phase –
We have to let science win at this one part. In the study of psychology, there’s a model that’s been identified that people undergo right after every tragic event. It’s called the Kübler-Ross model. The first is the phase of denial. Just after your tragic event occurs, we are more stupid than anything else; so it’s best to just live in a state of denial initially. This phase doesn’t usually last long, before anger starts to hit us; so we aren’t losing a lot if we let ourselves live in denial for a while.
It is necessary for us to experience this phase to even get to the part where we will have the power to change things within us. So, despite the fact that we aren’t doing anything here, it’s important that we don’t do anything.
NOTE – I’m going to refer to the tragic event as “the breakup” because that’s more common. You can substitute your own tragic event here.
2. The 5 most important things –
Once we are done with denial, and we start to feel anger and frustration, this is our cue.
This is going to be hard to execute, given that the breakup will be the only thing that we can possibly think about. But, it is important that we also think about the other aspects in life that we were involved in before we met him/her. There was a time before that person, and there must be a time after. There is no question about this. How you realize that isn’t the concern. The fact that you have to is important !
When you realize this, make a list of 20 things that you want to do. It could be regarding your career, learning a new language, learn how to code, teach classes online, anything !
Now, take a look at the first 5 things you wrote. These are what you need to focus on. These 5 things came to your mind first because they mattered enough to you that they seemed to exist right within your mind’s reach. Consider each of them and start thinking about the first few steps that you need to take to achieve that particular thing. It is important that you absolutely follow through with what you do, regardless of how small it may seem.
If your idea is to learn a new language, then your next step is to download an app ( This guide helped me a lot ). If your idea is to start a business, your next step would be to validate the idea, while you also gather intel on how your business would work (Check out this guide to thrive at businesses). The basic idea is to list the next few things that you need to do to achieve your goal. Repeat this for all 5. Even though this seems like a lot of work, you’ll discover more of yourself along the way, and realize that you are indeed made of star stuff !
The fact that you don’t want to think about the breakup will give you the push to think more about you being productive.
3. Your social company –
If you are successfully able to do the first two things of what I said, you’re pretty much learning to focus your negative energy into doing something positive. What matters most at this point is a problem that most people face; even people who aren’t going through any tragic event – Sustaining the motivation.
This is especially important with you – someone who just went through a breakup, and started channeling your negative energy into productivity. You are very susceptible to slipping right back into that miserable pit where no productivity happens. The solution to sustaining your motivation is company.
The kind of company that you stick to defines your life, and it defines your life even more at times like these. You need company who –
- Don’t remind you of that girl/boy who broke up with you.
- Talk about your 5 ideas with you, and brainstorm even more.
- keep reminding you why you’re awesome ( in a very genuine way )
I went through something similar a couple of weeks ago. Instead of lamenting to a friend of mine, I told him about an idea that I was interested in. He was completely interested in that. He made sure he provided valuable inputs to the idea, and also followed up with what I’d been doing about it. All this not only took my mind off the tragic stuff, but made me realize how important it was for me to pursue this idea of mine. His optimism rubbed off on me. That’s what you need right now – optimistic company.
Will you never think about your tragic event and always focus on productivity? No. There will be days when your tragic event will hit you hard in the head and you can’t think about anything else. It’s okay to give yourself time to feel all this. But you do have the power to not let anything hurt you so much that you can’t do anything significant in this world.