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4 Steps to Change the Way You React to Challenges


Guest articles > 4 Steps to Change the Way You React to Challenges


by: Isabelle Wuilloud


“Old habits die hard” may be a cliche, but it couldn’t be truer. Over time, our personal reactions to difficult situations become habits, engraved in our behavior patterns like lettering on a plaque. Too often we attribute many of our faults to the way we were raised, the environment we lived in, the friends we had, the teachers who tormented us, the bosses from hell…We blame our faults on anything but ourselves. We justify our imperfections and flaws by blaming others and we allow them to reoccur because we believe it is out of our control.

It’s difficult to realize that you have complete control over your mind and your reactions. Those who can control their reactions can succeed in any situation, whether their coworker is constantly asking questions when they’re trying to work or if they are in college and are under the strain of finals. But changing the way you think will not be easy. You have to practice every day and be patient. I’ve outlined four steps that I’ve learned from studying Franklin Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that have helped me to start changing the way I think.

The first step to take is to be responsible. Stop blaming others for your problems and start understanding that your reaction is the problem. You are the boss of yourself—don’t give that power to someone else. Of course at times our lives feel out of our control, but we need to learn how to respond proactively and effectively—play to your strengths and make a plan.

Learn to weed out the unnecessary concerns. You have to learn to prioritize and focus on the parts of your life that will make you a better person. For example, if you encounter an angry driver, don’t let them ruin your morning. Put that behind you and focus on what you have to accomplish today.

Work on your preconceived notions. If your boss asks you to do something you’ve never done or you’ve heard that it’s nearly impossible to accomplish, you have to ignore those prejudiced thoughts. Do not limit yourself or your capabilities. Of course it will be challenging, but keep the end in mind in this situation—you’ll gain a new skill and you will feel much more confident in your abilities.

Finally, train yourself to think win-win. This is tricky, as most of us have been trained to be competitive and to seek to be the best. It’s hard to make room for someone else and it’s easy to feel threatened, but we have to learn to be humble and accept that you may need someone to help you out—someone who’s strength coincides with yours.


Whether I’m at school or in the office, I’m faced with constant challenges. I welcome them, but sometimes I’d rather put them off or blame my inability to complete the challenges on the weather, the people around me or simply my moods and feelings. I am aware that my justifications are, for the most part, unfounded, but I’ve been working on changing my approach. These four steps are not easy in practice as it takes a lot of mental strength to make a conscious decision to go against your natural reaction. It’s uncomfortable in the beginning, but I believe that the four steps I’ve outlined are important steps to take to better yourself and, consequently, those around you.

Isabelle Wuilloud is a content developer at, where you can take business and personal development training courses from FranklinCovey, many of which focus on tips and techniques on how to handle situations and problems in a more effective manner.

Contributor: Isabelle Wuilloud

Published here on: 15-Jul-12

Classification: Development



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