When Life Hands You Lemons Play Mind Games

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Running your own business can be hard. Working for someone else can be hard. Not working at all can be hard. Being in a relationship can be hard. Raising a family can be hard. Being alone can be hard. Training for a competition can be hard. Learning a new skill can be hard. Having an illness or injury can be hard. Freaking filling out a form can be hard.

Life can be hard.

I actually prefer the term “challenging” rather than “hard.” It sounds more like a game. Or something to overcome. Like Rocky.

Hey, sometimes you gotta play mind games with yourself. Whatever you need to do to persevere, you do it. Because if you don’t, you give up.

It’s easy (and tempting) to give up when it’s all too much. Giving up uses a lot less energy. We don’t have to risk looking like idiots. We can go to happy hour instead of going the extra mile. We can feel comfortable. We like feeling comfortable.

Today I was beyond tempted to give up. It’s Friday, an already long work week, and the Santa Anas (Hella warm wind for those not familiar with this term.) are blowing so the beach is looking real good. Real good.

Yet here I was being responsible, handling paperwork so I can get paid and don’t get sued. Or if I do get sued, they won’t win. And I was handling it indoors. Because no one could understand me on the phone when I tried at least to sit under a tree in my backyard.

I was especially ready to beat up a particular insurance company’s system that is advertised as “Incredibly easy to use.” It took well over a month to get me set up on this system. Since then I’ve spent countless hours (really, probably days) trying to figure out how to use it properly. And I’m no idiot. I’d spoken to person after person, who referred me to more people. They even somehow managed to connect me to an entirely different company that told me, “I have no idea what that system or company is.”

That’s when I about lost it. I know there’s a long history of shall we say “challenges” with insurance companies, but I really wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet, here I was unable to navigate an “incredibly easy to use” system knowing that it shouldn’t be this difficult and that I’ve figured out far more difficult things far more easily.

So my choices were to lose it on the next customer service representative that said, “I don’t know. Let me transfer you,” give up on getting paid entirely, or play some mind games with myself to keep it moving.

I chose to step up the mind games. Because frankly, I knew losing it on the poor suckers wasn’t going to get me anymore help than I was already not getting and I’d put in way too much work to not get paid for it.

So I somehow convinced myself that I would eventually conquer the system. Or I’d destroy it with my bare hands and they’d be forced to make it more user friendly (I’d become a Superhero in my fantasies at this point.). I also reminded myself that after this I never again have to deal with insurance companies if I really don’t want to.

Immediately post mind games I spoke with Barbara, who sounded like the sweetest, little, white-haired Grandma in the world and she hooked me up! Barbara’s the one who should be running the whole show over there. Not answering phones. I even stayed on after for that survey they ask you to stay on the line for, but then they hung up on me before I could give Barbara a proper shout-out.

I digress, but the point is that instead of wallowing in my frustration and allowing it to spiral even further out of control, I checked myself and things started to work themselves out. At least for the time being. Sometimes that’s all we can do. We can’t control life’s circumstances but we can control our response to them. And our response always influences the ultimate outcome. So I’m going to play whatever mind games necessary to give me a leg up.