When I was a kid one of my favourite cartoon characters was Popeye The Sailor Man.
The premise of each episode was simple. Popeye and his girlfriend Olive would be going on with their lives when Brutus (the bully in story) would try and muscle his way in an effort to steal Olive away.
Brutus was big, burly and stronger than Popeye. He would set out all kinds of tricks and traps to catch Popeye out.
Popeye would fight back with great energy, spirit and determination against everything Brutus threw at him but there would come a point when it just became too much and Popeye would find himself stuck, trapped and facing defeat.
Then, in that moment of seeming defeat, Popeye would dig deep and declare “That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!”
Popeye reach for his can of Spinach, the source of his super strength, and instantly would be transformed with a surge of power. He’d break his way out of the trap he was in, beat Brutus and send him away with his tail between his legs.
But What has Popeye The Sailorman got to do with you?
We have all had situations in our lives, when we are working hard to try and get ahead. When we’ve already navigated through challenges thrown our way, only for ‘Casino Universe’ to conspire against us and deal us yet another dud hand.
When it happens, we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
And just like Popeye we declare “that’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more” but unlike Popeye, the sad truth for many of people is this is where they simply give up and the story ends.
Brutus wins and they let their ‘Olive’ – their dream – go.
Any of this sound familiar? Maybe you’ve found yourself on the verge of giving up in the pursuit of your dreams and goals?
But what if you could reach for your own Spinach? I don’t mean the actual green stuff.
You see the can of spinach is just a metaphor. It simply represents a more resourceful way of thinking which in the most challenging of situations helps you to get our own ‘surge’ of power and move forward.
Here are 7 principles which will help you bounce back faster and develop your own personal brand of spinach.
#1 The most important step is the next one.
You may have heard of that saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and in moving forward from challenges this also true. No matter where you are in life, how you arrived there or what steps you have taken previously, the most important step is the next one. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by what needs to get done, just focus on taking the next step no matter how small – it’s progress.
#2 Surround yourself with people who will take you higher.
There’s a theory that says you become like the people you most hang out with, so be choosy about who you keep close to you. I’m not saying you should ditch your friends, rather seek out additional ones who will take you higher, inspire you and encourage you to keep going.
#3 Take out the rubbish and detox your mind.
Just as we should watch what we eat so we should watch what we fill our minds with. What we focus on influences how we think, what we think creates our emotions and that in turn drives our results. If you’re filling your mind with dull rubbish, guess what happens? That’s right – rubbish in, rubbish out! Put your mind on a diet of positive development by watching, reading and listening to information which will help you grow.
#4 Stop taking yourself so seriously.
In the pursuit of our dreams we can become so focused, motivated and driven to achieve, that we can become self consumed and start taking ourselves too seriously. When we do, our decision making suffers because we become obsessed with survival and fear begins to creep in. We need to learn to relax a little and learn to laugh at yourself sometimes. Yes be serious about the work you do but be relaxed and you’ll find you’re a whole lot more approachable.
#5 Be the responsible one.
Take total responsibility for everything that happens in your life. I don’t mean in the context of blame, I know you don’t deliberately cause problems – I mean in the context of ownership. You see your results are not defined by conditions but by the decisions you make. Everything you have in your life right now is the sum total of all decisions you’ve made – both consciously and unconsciously. When you start to accept responsibility, you stop looking for excuses and starting focusing on results. You begin to accept that change begins with you.
#6 Learn the value of patience.
We live in an 24/7 always on world and have been condition to expect almost instant responses to emails, phones calls etc which I believe has led us to seek out silver bullet solutions for everything. The truth is success requires a level of persistence and patience, as it can take sometime for the results to show up. All to often we end up giving up when we are right on the cusp of a breakthrough – remember Rome wasn’t built in a day!
#7 Don’t look back in anger.
When things go wrong it is easy to look back at decisions you may have made with regret, anger or frustration but those emotions do not serve you well. There’s nothing you can do to change what has happened, all you can do is change the way you feel about it. One way is to focus your mind on the lessons by asking what the positive learnings are that you can apply to your future.