As I was growing up, I often found I would become so narrowly focused on finding a solution to a problem that it would become almost impossible to resolve. I’d approach the situation thinking, “Surely this will take care of that issue…” but when it didn’t, instead of changing tactics and trying something new, I’d do the very same thing again that I’d done before. And the strange thing was I expected it to work this time. I’d think, “I must not have done it right or been forceful enough,” so I’d have another go at it with even more determination. And the odd thing was I’d actually be surprised when the same solution that didn’t work before didn’t work again!
Then I’d usually beat myself up for not finding an answer to the problem when I’d only tried one solution. I’d end up generalizing: “I’m a failure and nothing I do works – I’m hopeless!” The solution may have been staring me right in the face, but I was so focused on my original attempt at solving the problem, that I wouldn’t look any further.
Thankfully, I’ve pretty much grown out of this nonsense! I’ve learned I can’t be afraid to let go of the things that don’t work and try something else. One veteran told me he would push himself when he started to hurt in hopes that if he ignored his pain it would go away. Instead, he’d end up in terrible pain for days afterward. Once we were able to identify that he was using the same tactic that didn’t work in the past, he realized that taking a break when the pain first started might work. In fact, it did! It allowed him to come back with renewed strength without the pain backlash from doing too much.
Learn to work smarter instead of harder! Listen to your body and the messages it’s sending you. Pain is not weakness leaving the body! Pain is a sign that damage is occurring and you need to slow down and give yourself time to heal.