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5 Steps to Overcoming Setbacks

We note that, as learning accelerates, the friends grow more capable of overcoming setbacks, whether small or large—diagnosing their root causes, exploring the underlying principles, bringing to bear relevant experience, identifying remedial steps, and assessing progress, until the process of growth has been fully reinvigorated.  (Universal House of Justice, to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counselors, 29 December 2015)

I always LOVE learning practical steps I can take in times of need, and this quote is one I want to have handy all the time.  Embedded in it are 5 steps I can take whenever life throws me a curve ball:

  1. diagnose the root cause
  2. explore the underlying principles
  3. bring in relevant experience
  4. identify remedial steps
  5. assess progress

The wonderful thing about having something concrete to do, is that I often become paralyzed when obstacles are put in my path, or think I have to figure everything out myself, which feels more like paddling upstream.  I might think the roadblocks means it’s not God’s will or it’s not the right time, so I procrastinate or give up my goals entirely.

The House of Justice has given this quote to the Counselors, to guide us towards achieving the goals of the plan, but I think it can be used for anytime I’m faced with a hurdle to get over.

Knowing what to do when life puts obstacles in my path, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Fear into Faith:  Overcoming Anxiety


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How To Be Grateful in Times of Need

As I often hear in my Baha’i life coaching business:  It’s not always easy to find the goodness in life, especially when money is tight and you’re faced with worries about your job or family. These worries can often cloud your whole mind, bring your mood down, and affect your overall quality of life.

An example from the Bahai Writings illustrates:

A bright and happy face cheers people on their way. If you are sad and pass a child who is laughing, the child seeing your face will cease to laugh, not knowing why. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 131)

If you feel like you’re being followed by the ominous black cloud of bad luck, then it’s time to find something to be grateful for in your life.

Remind Yourself About What’s Going Right

If you’re plagued by negative thoughts, find a quiet place, grab a pen and paper and make a list of answers to this question: What do I have to be grateful for in my life?

Start your list with the most obvious things, your health and family. Do you have a car? A home? Clothes on your back? Food on the table?

·You don’t have to have the fanciest or the most expensive items for you to be grateful. Even if you buy your clothes at Goodwill, at least you’re clothed and warm. A used car in good condition will get you to work just as easily as a brand new car.

·Don’t forget to give thanks for the small things in life, such as finding the car keys in time to get to work or getting a restful night sleep before an important day.

You can also try to sit quietly in a room and meditate on your life and things you want to improve on. Appreciating what you already have in life will free you to make the changes you desire.We get a glimmer of how many things we might be able to give thanks for, in this quote from the Bahá’í Writings:

If we should offer a hundred thousand thanksgivings every moment to the threshold of God . . . we would fail to express our gratitude sufficiently. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 37)

Being Grateful In Spite of Setbacks

There’s no denying that you will suffer setbacks in life. It’s a fact of life! While it may be difficult to be grateful during these times, it’s important to remember that good can come from difficult situations.This is one of my favorite quotes from the Bahai Writings:

If Khidr did wreck the vessel on the sea, Yet in this wrong there are a thousand rights. (Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 26)

For example, if you’ve recently lost your job, be grateful for the skills you have. With your skills, experience, and the knowledge you possess, you may end up finding a more fulfilling job that gives you more money or more responsibility while being closer to home.

As strange as it may sound in the moment of despair, try to be grateful during difficult times because, as one door closes, another opens the way to new opportunities. After all, you can’t find bright new possibilities in your life if you don’t experience a setback at one point or another.

Be Thankful For Life’s Setbacks

Setbacks are there to challenge you to be better, stronger, faster, and wiser. The true test of your attitude is to be thankful for the obstacle ahead of you (even if you don’t understand why it exists in the first place), then push forward, stronger than ever.

Why should you be thankful? Because with each challenge you overcome, you gain the wisdom and courage to succeed the next time around. And if it weren’t for each and every challenge in your life, you’d never learn and grow!

Being grateful everyday will help you lift that overbearing black cloud that can be so stifling. You’ll begin realize that life is good and you can make it through anything. After all, good things come to those who wait!

How has gratitude helped you though your times of need?Post your comments here:

Defeating Disappointment

We’ve all been there. We think we’re well on our way towards a specific goal – whether it’s a new career or a new lease on life – when all of a sudden disaster strikes! We have a setback. Perhaps you didn’t capture the heart of your crush, the promotion fell through, or somehow your perfect plan just didn’t work out. Sometimes we even ask, “Why me?”

The Bahá’í Writings teach:

Every soul seeketh an object and cherisheth a desire, and day and night striveth to attain his aim. One craveth riches, another thirsteth for glory and still another yearneth for fame, for art, for prosperity and the like. Yet finally all are doomed to loss and disappointment.(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 204)

So, disappointment is only human. However, knowing how to accept, manage, and strategize beyond disappointment is the real key to success!

Here are some excellent tips to enable you to stay on track, remain motivated, and defeat your disappointments so that you can overcome them and reap your success:

1.Accept reality. Disappointment is a necessary part of life. In order to experience success, every person must face setbacks or disappointment sometime in their life. The reality of life gives us the polarity of setbacks and successes to better appreciate our wins. Such setbacks also encourage us to strive harder to achieve our goals.

·Overcoming challenges brings us the wisdom to reach even higher goals.

2.Accept relativity. Facing up to the fact that life will always bring trials to overcome will help you beat disappointment in your current mission. Hindsight will inevitably show you that no setback is as big as you thought it was at the time.

·Realizing that life could have handed you a much larger disappointment helps you put the setback in perspective.

Do not dwell. When you are hit with a challenge to obtaining your goal, it can be very easy to sink into disappointment. If you find yourself having a pity party, pull yourself up with some positive thinking. Above all else, do not dwell on the last snafu in your struggle to succeed. Dwelling on your disappointment will not change the fact that it happened.

·Spending your time feeling sorry for yourself will delay your success as well as permeate your life with unnecessary pessimism and futility.

Repeat this line from a Bahá’í prayer for spiritual growth:

I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, p. 151)


3.Create realistic expectations. Like many people today, you may be harboring an unrealistic expectation of yourself. Perhaps you had this inspiring idea to change your life in some grand way. Naturally, you want to achieve your goal now and without anything less than stellar performance! However, realistically, you must recognize that achieving your goals may take some time. You can always adjust your expectations higher and higher as you conquer new goals!

·Having unreal expectations of yourself will only set you up for failure, as you cannot reach impossible heights.

As the Báb says in the Bahá’í prayer for protection:

Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be. (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 190),

so know that whatever happens, the universe is unfolding as it should.

4.Learn from your mistakes. When a setback occurs, the first thing you’d like to do might be to toss in the towel on the whole enterprise! However, a much wiser person bent on success will acknowledge the disappointment as a learning experience.

·If you examine how and why the unwanted situation occurred, then you may be able to restructure your strategy for even bigger and better things than you had originally planned!

5.Stay positive. Lastly, you can surely find your success and win your prize by obliterating disappointment with positive thoughts. Know that you will obtain your goal! Pessimistic thoughts can swallow you whole if you let them, forcing you to delay or give up your dreams altogether.

·Following your positive thoughts with decisive, confident and positive action will propel you to new heights.

Even though disappointment may creep into your life when you least expect it, you can take it in stride by following these techniques. Setbacks don’t define your life; it’s how you react to them that will determine your success. When you face disappointment, learn from the situation, deal with it positively, and confidently move forward toward your goal. Success is yours!

As the Bahá’í Writings state:

Be thou not unhappy; the tempest of sorrow shall pass; regret will not last; disappointment will vanish; the fire of the love of God will become enkindled, and the thorns and briars of sadness and despondency will be consumed! Be thou happy; rest thou assured upon the favors of Baha’, so that uncertainty and hesitation may become non-existent and the invisible outpourings descend upon the arena of being!(Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 557)

What helps you deal with your disappointment?Post your comments here.