When The Sh-T Hits The Fan, How Do You React?

You know how it is. Everything is happening at once, and then one more thing gets added or goes wrong. When the sh-t hits the fan, how do you react? Do you respond negatively or positively to stress and difficulty?



When things are going smoothly, it is easy to keep your cool, to be enlightened, to lead with kindness. It is when situations go pear-shaped, or you are confronted with frustrations or a person who repeatedly pushes your buttons that we have a chance to practice self-mastery.

Psychologists believe you have a choice of how to react when things get tough. Your responses can be negative or positive and reflect how well you maintain control of yourself. Researchers have divided possible reactions to stressful situations to compare and contrast the differences of being distressed or being resilient.

  • Overwhelming or Opportunity

  • Blame or Responsibility

  • Distract or Commit

  • Allow or Act

  • Impatience or Patience

  • Pessimistic or Optimistic

Overwhelming or Opportunity


When things are tough, do you see your situation as overwhelming or as an opportunity? Being overwhelmed by change, challenges, and difficulties is a negative reaction. If things often seem overwhelming to you, you haven’t learned effective ways to cope with stress. Your negative response will keep you from overcoming a challenge and achieving more in life.


The positive reaction to when sh-it hits the fan is to see the challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. You can’t avoid stress. Instead, you can use difficult situations to find new ways to solve problems. As you learn to see change as an opportunity, you learn and grow as a person.


Blame or Responsibility


Do you think that everything wrong in your life someone else’s fault? Laying blame on other people for your mistakes doesn’t negate your part in a difficult situation. Blaming others gives your control away and keeps you from overcoming obstacles.


Taking responsibility for your actions allows you to improve and better your situation. Control over your life is yours. Taking responsibility for your life allows you to make needed changes to learn and grow.


Distract or Commit


Do you spend most of your time fantasizing about running away from your life and responsibilities? When sh-t hits the fan, distressed people often walk away from the challenge. They may even turn to alcohol and other drugs to distract themselves from their lack of control and their failures. When a person can’t face a difficult situation, they may quit their job or end a relationship, and distract themselves with something new. But if you don’t learn to deal with stress, your mistakes will follow you and keep you from achieving new goals.

The universe has a way of bringing back similar situations into your life, over and over, until you learn the lesson(s) and achieve self-mastery in that area.

Resilient people commit to their goals. They understand that while they may need to adjust their plans, reaching a goal requires commitment. If you don’t let yourself get distracted by difficulties, you are showing signs of resilience.


Allow or Act


Allowing life’s challenges to keep you from your goals is a negative reaction to difficulty. When you blame others, lose your control, and distract yourself from finding solutions to problems, you allow problems to stop you from succeeding.


If you are resilient, you have a goal and a plan. When you know you have control of yourself, you take action to improve your life. Because you’re committed to learning and growing, you have the tools needed to make changes and overcome challenges.


Impatience or Patience


Challenges can create delays in reaching your goals. If you’re too impatient, you may give up your goals too quickly and never succeed. Even when sh-t hits the fan, you can’t insist on an immediate solution. Some goals require commitment and patience.


Patience takes practice. Are you willing to deny yourself an immediate distraction and commit to the work needed to achieve your goals? Taking a break can’t become permanent if you want to succeed.


Pessimistic or Optimistic


Ultimately, how you react to stress and your success in life depends on if your reactions are pessimistic or optimistic. Pessimistic reactions limit your ability to overcome challenges. Optimistic reactions give you the control and skills needed to succeed in life.


Becoming aware of our reactions both mental and physical is the first step towards self-mastery.


Until next time many blessings and much peace.


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