Ten Tips for Living Successfully in Screwed-Up Times

September 30, 2020

By Madeline Schultz

A few years ago while browsing in a gift shop with my sisters, a little book jumped out at me. The title was “Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People.” That really tickled my funny bone. After all, who doesn’t have these people in their lives? The surmise of the book is that even with difficult relationships, we can be successful if we take time to reflect on our situations and respond in helpful ways. The author, Elizabeth B. Brown, writes, “The lifeblood of successful living is owning your own choices.”

We are living in screwed-up times! We need a little humor to get us through it all. The year of 2020 brings many challenges to our lives including a global pandemic, derecho weather disaster, call to end racial injustice, fires in the Western United States, and strongly opposing political views. That’s a lot of changes and difficult situations to manage.

Do you remember the story of the dancing chicken in the movie Pure Country? When the heat was turned up on the hotplate, the chicken learned to dance to survive. This year has turned many of us into a dancing chicken. We can’t eliminate that hotplate, but applying some of the thoughtful actions in Brown’s books to these screwed-up times may allow us to step off the heat for at least a little while.   

Tips for Living Successfully in Screwed-Up Times

  1. Vision is the starting point of victory; aerial vision clears away the illusion.
    • See your situation with a wide lens and keep it in perspective. You are not alone in your experiences and 2020 is only one year in your life.  
  2. When the pressure is on, you are not necessarily lost; you just don’t know which way to go.
    • Your routines may be out-of-whack.  You may not know what tomorrow will bring. Focus on the routines you are able to continue and the things you do actually know.   
  3. The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of this life is this; decide what you want.
    • Recognize that in screwed-up times, your priorities can shift.  If your heart is calling you in a different direction, pay attention.
  4. Difficult times offer lessons in what to do and what not to do.
    • Healthy people adjust their expectations. If something is not working for you, change what you are doing. 
  5. The law of disintegration is the tendency of everything in the universe to move from order to disorder. 
    • Keep making cohesive organized choices. It may seem overwhelming, but remember the little things you do add up to big things. 
  6. Our health is tied to our emotions; emotions are tied to relationships.
    • In screwed-up times, seeking out positive people who encourage you is crucial. Nurture your relationships and you will nurture your health and happiness.     
  7. Forgiveness is about freedom to live above the hurt and go on with joy in your heart.
    • In screwed-up times mistakes happen. Other people are under stress. Forgive them. If you make a mistake, forgive yourself.  
  8. Faith sees the possible in the impossible and finds hope in the hopeless.
    • With faith, your choices are rooted in the long-term vision, which allows you to be flexible so that you can withstand the short-term storms.  See the possible.
  9. Don’t waste your energy trying to change different or ‘screwed-up’ times; appreciate these times. 
    • Screwed-up times can be a wonderful opportunity to see the world in a new way. Be on the lookout for positive changes or situational opportunites you otherwise might miss.
  10. Bring chaotic emotions under control. Here are some ideas to help:   
    • Volunteer to help others
    • Do some little special thing for yourself each day
    • Say thank you 5 times a day
    • Say something positive each day to people in your life
    • Do something outside
    • Exercise anywhere
    • Be calm and unafraid to say what you feel
    • Keep a journal
    • Read a positive meditation, quote or joke each day

I encourage you to put one or more of these thoughtful actions into practice to help you step off the 2020 hotplate and live successfully. Unless of course, you just love to dance!