Hope is powerful. Research backs that up. Recognizing that things can be better in the future increases the odds that they will be. It’s a bit of everyday magic that can be applied over and over again.
If you find yourself overwhelmed or hopeless, then you need to fix that first. Resetting your mindset may be as simple as some vigorous exercise or getting out of your current circumstances. However, it may require medical or psychological intervention.
Do what you need to do so that you feel like the future can be better.
Understand your situation and your odds
The goal here is to understand what needs to change. Is it your situation, you, or both? You might be in a bad position because you surround yourself with people who bring out the worst in you. There, you’re in a place that reduces your odds of success. In that case, you’ll want to change with whom you spend time. A good rule of thumb is that you become like the five people with whom you spend the most time.
You might be in a bad situation because you lack the skills to succeed. In that case, you can either find a situation in which your current skills enable success or you’ll need to learn new skills.
Know your strengths
You might not have a good sense of your strengths. People are notoriously bad at self-assessment. You can use a tool like the Clifton Strengths assessment.
Lifelong learning is a blessing. You can learn something from every person and every situation. In a bad situation, have humility, laugh at “well, how did that happen?” and look for insight.
Laughter is the key to effective learning. Laughter turns on the brain’s circuits for looking at things in new and novel ways. Find a way to laugh when you want to learn something new! Check out the book Creativity by John Cleese for inspiration (or this video)
Keep making steps forward
You’ve heard it before, “The journey of a thousand miles started with a single step.” Amen. Don’t get so caught up in learning that you forget to take action. Success requires a balance between thoughtfulness and action. A little good luck helps too. It’s essential to work on all three. Please see my post on how to make good long-term decisions.
Forgive yourself and do not ruminate
Learning from your mistakes is different than reliving your mistakes over and over in your head. The latter, ruminating on your mistakes, is terrible for your mind. You need to forgive yourself and move on. That’s often easier said than done. But it needs to be done. You need to be kind to yourself. Practice emotional first aid when needed.