Want To Turn Breakdowns Into Breakthroughs?


Lately I have been under a huge amount of stress. Like so many of you, I have felt at the proverbial end of my rope. But I change my psychology and focus and tell myself that this too will pass.

Unfortunately, it easier to intellectually understand than to actually do.

In 2003, I attend a workshop on personal development, by the Landmark Education Group. The title of the workshop was, “Turning Breakdowns Into Breakthroughs.”

Intrigued by the titled I enrolled myself in the 2-3 day course.

I think the title of the course nowadays is called something like, “Breakthroughs: Living Outside The Box.”

Here are the two definitions of a breakdown and breakthrough according to the course:

A breakthrough is often thought of as a one-time event—a quantum leap that moves us “outside the box.”

Breakdowns are an integral and critical part of any breakthrough. When we welcome and embrace breakdowns, what they reveal actually affords us a larger opportunity—stepping stones upon which we can expand and extend the breakthroughs. Breakdowns occur only against a background commitment—they are an occasion for extraordinary action, for making something happen that would not have happened otherwise.

Let’s put this is idiot speak, which works a lot better for me.

A breakthrough is when you can see a new point of view that helps you to get over, around, or through the problem you are facing.

A breakdown is when you feel that there is really no way to resolve the problem, you feel stuck.

The course really opened my eyes, and to this day I remember the 3 essential reason, we all have these supposed, “breakdowns”.

Here are the three reasons:

  1. Thwarted Intentions
  2. Undelivered Communications
  3. Unfulfilled Expectations

In the course, the group leader, discussed how we actually look at problems and what we say to ourselves when a so called problem arises.

Do you ask yourself what’s wrong?


What’s missing?

The more empowering way to look at these breakdowns is to ask yourself what’s missing?

When you ask yourself this empowering question, you brain starts to search for the answer. And it begins to look for ways to mismatch and see where you are currently and where you want to go? In this case, what’s missing, in order to make it the way you want it to be?

Back to the three reason we all have breakdowns.

Reason 1: Thwarted Intentions

Many times we get upset or angry or frustrated because we wanted to do something and something or someone seemed to get in our way from actually doing the very thing that we wanted to do. In other words, you were stopped, or prevented or thwarted from doing something.

You in turn interpret that thwarted intention as a problem or breakdown.

The best way to get over this, is to identify that you were prevented temporarily or all together permanently from doing something and ask yourself what was your end goal? What did you want to achieve in the end by doing this thing that you were not able to do? It could be something as simple as you wanted to sleep longer and you weren’t able because a neighbor was making a bunch of noise. Or it could be you wanted to work out and you couldn’t for whatever reason.

Identify what it is that you wanted to achieve.

And find another way to possibly achieve that goal or result.

For example, in the case of sleeping longer, maybe you could take a nap for 15-30 minutes. Or maybe before you go to bed that evening you make a special note to get ready to go to be 30-60 minutes earlier than you normally do.

There are always alternatives to achieving that goal you set out for. Always. Look for that new opening to get what you want to get done.

Reason 2: Undelivered Communications

As you can probably imagine, I love to communicate, that’s really the main reason I love to write these blog posts, is that communication is really high on my list of priorities. So you can imagine, when I want to say something and I am unable to, how I might get. I get livid. It really bothers me.

All communication falls into one of two categories:

  1. Opportunities to Teach
  2. Opportunities to Learn

We are either learning or teaching when we speak with another person or a group of people.

When you want to say something and feel you cannot get what you want to say, either through speaking or writing and in this case texting, you may feel upset.

Again it depends on what you focus (Mental Focus) on and what you say to yourself (Language). Physiology (Physiology & Posture) is important as well.

But as this is all about communication, language and mental focus are critical when it comes to undelivered communications.

You may feel ignored or not appreciated or just not important that no one is listening to you.

Those are all normal emotions.

The way to get over this, is to realize that yes, you wanted to say something either by speaking or writing and you were not able to. And then find a new possibility, a new way, to get what you want to say delivered.

It may have to wait. But just be patient and then do communicate your message.

Reason 3: Unfulfilled Expectations

This last reason, is a biggie, because we all have expectations of how people should act or be.  We have our rules of how the world should be and we might even be right but we don’t have to make others wrong. And what’s worst is when you have an expectation of how something should be and it doesn’t play out how you wanted.

Then what happens.

All hell breaks loose. We feel robbed or cheated. We feel less than and not satisfied. This dissatisfaction can do more harm to ourselves than to anyone outside of us.

What we need to do, is to realize that we wanted something or someone to be, do, or have a certain way and it just did not show up how we wanted, and well, deal with it. Get over it. And move on.

Expectations are our own rules but they are not the rules for everyone.

We can not go around imposing our rules on everyone else.

Life will get really stressful, really fast if we continue to act this way.

So there you have it folks, the three main reason we all have breakdowns.



About Bronson Tang

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