Stress Management: Ditch Thinking or Destination Thinking

Imagine driving down the road. You are driving with a great amount of anticipation, on your way to an important destination, a place you have always wanted to go.

Now notice that on either side of the road there is a ditch big enough to swallow your car.

Now imagine what your journey would be like if you kept your eyes only on the ditch. Perhaps you glanced at the road every few miles, but mostly your eyes are focused on he ditch. It's likely that you would end up in the ditch and not make it to your destination.

Silly way to drive, huh? Then why do we live that way? It sure seems that is what many of us do when we start out to achieve important goals.

Ditch thinking

I call thinking this way ditch thinking. Focus on the ditch long enough, and you will wind up in the ditch, wondering how you got there.

Today let's look at some signs and symptoms of ditch thinking, and then how to get out of the ditch and into destination thinking.

How to Do Ditch Thinking

Focusing only on everything that could go wrong. While it's important and valuable to think ahead and anticipate what problems might lie ahead, it's foolish to focus only on the obstacles.

Complaining about the ditch. "Look at that ditch! It just shouldn't be there." "It's just too big not to notice it." "I just can't drive with that ditch over there."

Instead of the old biting off more than you can chew, it's thinking about more than you can chew. "Wow, I bet that ditch will be there the whole entire trip. I wonder if the road will get smaller and the ditch get bigger?"

Procrastinate. Put it off. CONvince yourself that you really will do it later.

Making excuses for yourself. To rationalize really means to believe rational lies.

Making problems obstacles instead of challenges. I've never pursued a goal that didn't have it's share of challenges. If you turn them into obstacles you are blocked. A challenge is simply that: a challenge to see if you really mean it when you say you want to achieve something.

Blaming others.

Here are seven words guaranteed to drive you into the ditch, "we've always done it that way before."

Listening to and then believing all the naysayers who say it's impossible, you can't do it. Remember that at one time it was considered impossible to fly, communicate by phone, fax or email, etc. etc. In each case, and in so many more, someone chose to not believe in the impossibility.

How to Do Destination Thinking

Begin. Simply begin.

Celebrate your progress. It builds momentum.

Break the journey down into small enough parts to make it manageable.

Focus on where you want to go.

Be creative. Creativity is simply the ability to look at something that has always been there and seeing something that has never been seen before.

Remind yourself regularly, even daily, about why you are pursuing this destination. An important enough why makes the how a whole lot easier.

Enjoying the trip. Even if it's only the satisfaction of hard work, finding ways to enjoy the trip keeps you going.

Focus on what you will be able to do, that you can't do now, when you achieve the goal.

Asking the question, "In how many ways can I accomplish want I want and enjoy the trip?"

Follow ditch thinking and you end up in the ditch. Follow destination thinking and you are much more likely to arrive at your destination.

It really can be that simple.

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