When Your Back is Against the Wall…

by Bill Cottringer

…Or when you are caught between a rock and hard place and can’t get any lower because you are already lower than a snake’s belly. This is a horrible place to be in life, but only the lucky few escape these painful experiences. Most of us get to experience the blood, bruises and broken bones from a variety of awful situations—all the way from hopeless unemployment to nasty divorces with heart-wrenching custody battles, to bankruptcy and financial ruin, to pending imprisonment, to drug or alcohol addiction, to incapacitating physical disability, to homelessness and even suicide.

Life does confront us with very unpleasant situations, but fortunately not without available solutions. There is a tried and true prescription for getting out of any deep, dark and dreary hole you are in, even when the light at the end of the tunnel might be a freight train heading straight for you. Here is the way though such a crisis that the Chinese see as an attitude of viewing the conflict situation as a moment of danger to avoid or an opportunity to seize.

Trust Life

First of all, no problem-solving or success prescription will work unless you believe in it. One belief that I have always had which no one has ever been able to disprove is the truth that no matter how bad a situation is, you will eventually get to a better place. It just may not be where you thought you would end up or when it would happen. But we are all who we are today because of all the yesterdays.

Quit Digging

This should go without saying, but you would be surprised as to just how many people do keep on digging their holes deeper, thinking they are digging their way up instead of down. Stop and look around in these painful situations, your hole is already deep enough, so stop digging and start looking for ways out.

Own Responsibility

This is very difficult for most of us because of our pride and habit of looking elsewhere to blame for our troubles and sometimes rightfully so. While it may be true that people don’t get into these terrible situations all by themselves—often getting pushed or shoved into holes by others or the situation happening before you see it coming—nobody but yourself gets you out. So it is essential to be honest with yourself and own at least part of the responsibility for being in your hole. Then look to change that bit of irresponsibility by owning and correcting it.

Lose Expectations

Here again pride can get in the way, thinking if you make certain efforts and do certain things you naturally expect the preferred outcomes you deserve and want. But come on now, how many times do you get disappointed in not getting what you have expected? When you are able to stop expecting anything in particular, then anything will be a pleasant surprise and whatever happens will be okay. You can’t lose if you lose your expectations.

Be Flexible

This is much easier said than done. Nevertheless, the most success in problem-solving is reserved for those who can be mentally open and flexible in their approach to getting out of holes, back to the surface and start flying again—from not even surviving to thriving as the cosmic plan for us all. No one gets to experience success without surviving a series of failures. And most failures afford you a great opportunity to start all over again, this time armed with the right information to succeed.

Do Something

No one knows for sure what will work to help you get out of a hole, but there never seems to be a shortage of un-applied good suggestions. One thing is for sure though and that is doing something is far better than doing nothing. Doing nothing gets nothing and there is no movement at all in paralysis, which unfortunately, is highly contagious in perpetuating immobility.

Reward Progress

Don’t forget to treat yourself as a reward for your efforts that do make progress in getting out of your hole. Just don’t do it prematurely because rewards are only meant to strengthen right behavior.

Consider applying this prescription because it works. This tells you the truth of what you must do, while how you choose to do it is completely up to you. What are you waiting for?

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, and Adjunct Professor at Northwest University, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the peaceful but invigorating mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden), and “If Pictures Could Talk,” coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net