The water pipe bursts, you get sick, your outgo is bigger than your income … what do you do when things aren’t going your way?
Here are some of the methods I’ve tried:
- Get angry
- Throw a fit
- Feel sorry for myself
- Blame something or someone else
- Say “To hell with it” and head to the bar
That’s enough. You get the picture.
Did any of that help, though?
Maybe temporarily. Maybe I felt a little better for a bit, but none of that does anything about solving the problem that set me off in the first place.
Here’s what a Navy Seal might do
Have you heard of Jocko Willink? He’s a retired Navy Seal — a bonafide badass — who now helps company officers and teams develop better leadership skills.
Jocko’s advice for what to do when things go south is to step up, assume responsibility, and draw fire.
That’s right, “draw fire,” meaning you intentionally step out and say “Bring it on.”
Certainly, there needs to be some context to the situation — you don’t want to step in front of a locomotive — yet, there’s a nugget of wisdom here for us mortals to grasp.
Here’s an example of how the “draw fire” concept can work
Back when I was a whippersnapper, early 20’s I guess, I was renting a “granny flat” sort of apartment in Eugene, Oregon. It was a sweet little spot, with a sliding glass door that opened up to a beautiful, fenced backyard. It was summertime. My plan was to take a break from my studies, then return to school at the University of Oregon in the fall.
Meanwhile, I took and quit a few jobs, lost my girlfriend, holed up inside … then entered a deep depression.
I had zero ambition, not even enough to go get food. I had a jar of peanut butter and a jar of honey. I’d dip a spoon into both now and then for nourishment. I sat on the couch for days like that … dark room, blinds closed, doing nothing whatsoever. Just me and silence.
Then came the cavalry (and the calvary too)
A moment of clarity finally broke through. I ran a quick scan of my situation and called it like it was. “I’m depressed.”
If you’ve ever been there, you know exactly what that feels like. If you’ve not … God bless you. I hope you never go through it.
Where the idea came from, I don’t know. Certainly, it wasn’t something I knew I knew. I said this to myself: “If you’re going to be depressed, you might as well get really depressed. Go for it.”
I then proceeded to bear down internally and get as depressed as I possibly could be.
The idea was so far fetched, that it made me laugh, and with that laugh came a little joy.
I got off the couch, went over to the blinds, and pulled them open. I walked barefoot out onto the lawn and the sunshine of a glorious day.
That was my first and last experience with what was probably “clinical depression.” Sure, I’ve been down here and there since, but never like that.
How to use the “drawing fire” concept in daily life
Here’s my point.
What should you do when things aren’t going your way?
Try stepping out and drawing fire. Face up to the onslaught and say, “Hey, bring it on. Let’s go.”
Sometimes, that simple, brave act can restore your confidence and fill you with power.
By the way, believers especially have no wiggle room here. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Disclaimer: I’m not a psychiatrist. I don’t even play a doctor on TV. I write from my own life experience and observations. I’ve a master’s degree in the humanities, I’m a believer and philosopher, and I’m the author of How to LIVE, a field manual for getting unstuck. I’m not a physician, and I don’t intend to dispense medical advice here. My aim is to share what’s working (and not working) for me.