The Boxing Off A Challenge Approach

Different people choose different approaches to dealing with difficulties such as illnesses, problems or other challenges.

Some people carry on with their lives and ignore the issues. Some define the problem as a battle and gear their whole lives around tackling the issue. Some people take another route.

They take time to refocus on what they believe is important in life and aim to continue doing these things.

They clarify what they can control regarding the challenge, gather as much information as possible and clarify their picture of success.

They clarify the strategies they can follow to give themselves the greatest chance of success. They pursue these strategies and keep going until they feel they have done everything possible.

They then, when they feel ready, emotionally box off the challenge because there is nothing else they can do at the present time.

They return to doing the things they believe are important in life.

Looking back on your life, can you think of a time when you have applied some elements of this approach? You may have been dealing with an illness, recovering from a setback, managing a transition, tackling a difficult work challenge or whatever.

What did you do to focus on what you felt was important in life? How did you do your best to tackle the challenge? How did you then, when appropriate, box off the challenge and get on with living your life? What happened as a result of taking these steps?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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Such an approach calls for a person being positive, proactive and realistic. It calls for doing masses of research, studying what works and then pursuing the strategy that is most likely to achieve success. It is the very opposite of denial.

People who experience an illness, for example, sometimes reflect on their values. Looking back, they feel grateful for what they have been given in life. Looking forward, they explore what they want to give to other people. They then aim to follow their chosen path in life.

This sounds good in theory, but sometimes it can be difficult. A person may ask, for example:

“What happens when you have multiple challenges? Surely then it is harder to keep focusing on the path you want to follow in your life or work?”

Certainly this is the case. People who want to retain a sense of who they are, however, try to focus on the important things in life.

Carers in hospices often help individuals to do things they love, for example, whilst also helping them to deal with other challenges.  The Zen Hospice project offers people the chance to pursue this path. Here is an excerpt from the organisation’s website.

So many of us think of life and death as two separate things. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the two are connected. 

What if the things we cherish most in life were the same things we carry with us towards death? Those moments that make us feel awake. Loved. Human. What if we could live our lives – fully – all the way to the end?

Zen Hospice Project, IDEO and many others are exploring how we might provide the best hospice care possible and design a better experience, for everyone. And we’d like you to join us.  

We believe it starts with being open to the idea of discussing death. Daring to look at it, and bringing your own light to it.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation when you may want to continue living your life, whilst also boxing off challenges?

This could be a personal or professional situation. You may be managing a transition, dealing with an illness, tackling a specific problem or whatever.

Looking ahead, how can you continue to do things that give you positive energy? How can you do your best to tackle the challenge? How can you then box off the challenge and get on with life?

If you wish, try tackling the following exercise. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to carry on with life whilst also boxing off a particular challenge. 

Describe the specific things you can do to box off the challenge and carry on with your life.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of taking this approach.

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