What is your recovery rate? How long does it take you to recover from actions and behaviours that upset you? Minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? How long? The longer it takes you to recover the more influence that incident has on your actions, the less able you are to perform to your personal best. In a nutshell the longer it takes you to recover the weaker you are and the poorer your performance.
Just ask yourself:
How many times have I got upset with my spouse or partner for something the children did hours ago?
How many times have I missed an opportunity because I was still focussed on an upset and all I could say was 'NO' to everything?
How many times have I driven my car erratically because I was still thinking of an incident that made me angry?
The point is: a poor recovery rate affects your health. A poor recovery rate affects your well being. A poor recovery rate stops you from living to your potential.
You are well aware that you need to exercise to keep the body fit and, no doubt, accept that a reasonable measure of health is the speed in which your heart and respiratory system recovers after exercise. Likewise the faster you let go of an issue that upsets you, the faster you return to an equilibrium the healthier you will be. The best example of this behaviour is found with professional sportspeople. They know that the faster they can forget an incident or missed opportunity and get on with the game the better their performance. In fact, most measure the time it takes them to overcome and forget an incident in a game and most reckon a recovery rate of 30 seconds is too long!
How long does it take you to recover and overcome and forget and incident at work or at home?
A method that I and many others use to help us reduce the recovery time is the method of the FULL STOP.
Imagine yourself to be an actor in a play on the stage. Your aim is to play your part to the best of your ability. You have been given a script and at the end of each sentence is a full stop. Each time you get to the end of the sentence you start a new one and although the next sentence is related to the last it is not affected by it. Your job is to deliver each sentence to the best of your ability.
Now think about your life. Imagine life is no more than a play, a drama and we each have a role to play in that drama. Your job is to play your part to the best of your ability and the better you play your part the more chance that you will inspire others around you to improve their performance. Each incident you face is a new sentence. Just put a full stop behind it and start again. Accept that every time you meet someone or have a conversation with a person on the telephone or even send an email it is a new incident.
You have both moved on since you last met, so remembering the last occasion only keeps you in the past and stops you moving forward. Stops you seeing new opportunities. The next time you see the person that upset you, or you upset, is a new occasion there is nothing to be gained by continuing from where you left off. The incident has finished. You are both in a different place now. It is a new sentence so start again.
My grandmother used to call it destiny. "Accept what has happened as part of your destiny and live with it", was a favourite phrase of hers. You cannot change what has happened. Sulking or Brooding will not help. Analysing will only give you a headache and keep it fresh in your mind. In the same way that you cannot enter the same river twice, you will never face the exact same incident again so why analyse that one? You can however notice whether you have a habit or thought pattern that clicks in in certain circumstances and stops you performing to your best. You can then look at the habit and decide how you can change it.
The secret to a better life is be like the sportsperson, ask yourself:
Did I recover quicker today than I did yesterday?
Did I recover quicker this time than the last occasion I faced a similar incident?
Did I allow myself to be average today?
Did I equal or improve on my personal best today?
Don't live your life in the past! Learn to live in the present, to overcome the past. Stop the past from influencing your daily life. Don't allow thoughts of the past to reduce your personal best. Stop the past from interfering with your life. Learn to recover quickly.
What we are suggesting is not an easy path. To work on your recovery rate and make changes in your thoughts, behaviour and attitudes requires a great deal of effort. However, the rewards are also great. It is important that you don't force yourself to work on your recovery rate because you think you ought to or must or because you feel it will 'make you a better person'. There's no benefit in that because you will not stick to the task. You will make a great deal of effort at the beginning but when you are not achieving the results you want you will stop or look for another technique. Only when you really feel you want to change.
When you realise life is not working for you at the moment using the methods you are using will you put in the effort to change your behaviour to improve your recovery rate. You can only improve your recovery rate when you can see that there is great benefit for the self.
Once you decide you wish to improve your recovery rate, you will start to check and change your thoughts and behaviour and make effort to perform to your personal best. You can check your progress by measuring the speed in which you are able to apply a full stop. The time it takes you to let go. The time it takes before you are functioning at or near your personal best again.
What was my recovery rate after the argument with my partner?
What was my recovery rate after I lost a sale?
What was my recovery rate after I received a ticket for speeding?
What was my recovery rate after I heard a friend was ill?
What was my recovery rate after I got frustrated with myself over????
But remember; Rome wasn't built in a day. Reflect on your recovery rate each day. Every day before you go to bed, look at your progress. Don't lie in bed saying to yourself, 'I did that wrong'. 'I should have done better there'. No. Look at your day and note when you made an effort to place a full stop after an incident. This is a success. You are taking control of your life. Remember this is a step by step process. This is not a make-over. You are undertaking real change here.
Your aim: reduce the time spent in recovery.
The way forward?
Live in the present. Not in the precedent.
Graham and Julie live in the Canary Islands where they pursue their love of writing and photography. To see more of their work please go to: