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Simply, turn it off... Then on again!

Posted 3/23/2019

I am a footballer, and have a very simple brain that has been knocked around far too many times! Make no mistake, simple works for me. If things are too complicated, I often go into meltdown, so, it is a necessity for me to keep things simple. I also find this helps enormously with the people I speak to and work with. It is my greatest mission to create long-term change in people’s lives and to do that, I need to make things simple.

I was trying to get a Zoom video-call happening the other day. It was the first time I had done a Zoom call with this particular person, whose name is Jenny. We got the video happening, but no sound. Both of us tried everything, to no avail. Well, actually, clearly we didn’t try everything, or else we would have been talking!

Just as a side note here, when you say you’ve ‘tried everything’, your brain switches off to further solutions. So, my advice is, don’t say you’ve ‘tried everything’ until you have found the answer and achieved the success you want!

Okay, off my soapbox and back to the story. I called Jenny on the phone, we tried a few more things, and I then I had a brain wave. I said, ‘let’s close it down, shut it off and try again.’ Jenny, agreed, so I ended the call, I ended the Zoom meeting, shut it down, opened it up, called her again, and guess what? It worked! I could hear her, she could hear me, and we had our video meeting. I know what you’re thinking right now, ’Big Deal!’ Well, you see, I actually do think it’s a big deal.

I am not very technologically savvy. Whenever I have an issue, even a small one, I panic. I’m extremely grateful for the people who know what they are talking about, and who often help me. One man, in particular, is my website guy, Patrick. I call him far too often, for things that I know he is wondering how I could be so clueless, and not work myself. Nine times out of ten, he will say to me, ‘Have you tried turning it off, leaving it a while and then turning it on again?’ I try it, and predictably I say, in embarrassment, ‘Oh, that seemed to fix it! Thanks!’ This is not just for my computer, it’s for my modem, my phone, my laptop,  software apps and many other devices.

In fact, it happened to me just this morning. I was on LinkedIn, trying to send a message, when it froze on me. I tried a couple of times and then finally decided to close it down for a while and open it up again. Guess what? It worked. So, the question that we need to ask ourselves, as I ask myself regularly is, why do I so often complicate things and think there needs to some confusing and obscure solution, when the answer is as simple as switching it off and then switching it on again?

Switch off, take some time out and then go again

Again, you may be asking, ‘what’s this got to do with anything other than restoring software and devices?’ That’s a great question! Here’s my answer; I think we could apply this same process in our life when things don’t seem to be working the way we want them to. Let me give you an example, I work with many talented and aspiring authors. One thing I know about writing a book, is that you end up looking at, reading and immersing yourself in your book for many months. You may have heard the saying, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

After a while, it’s easy to get stuck in a manuscript that you’re not happy with, but not know what to do to fix it. More than several times, people I’m working with, have been in this situation, and so just put their manuscript aside for a few weeks, then come back to it with fresh eyes. All of a sudden, they can see what needs to be done, they go on to finish their book and are very happy with the result. Effectively, they were able to switch off from their book, leave it for a while and then turn it on again, and, the answers came.

Have you ever been in the middle of some sort of conflict with another person? It can easily become a slinging match, as each person feels that their argument is the right one. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never won an argument. Even when I’ve made my case to the point when the other person backs down, I still haven’t won. I have created a rift in a relationship. The times I most effectively deal with conflict is when I listen to the other person's point of view, without reacting, go away for a while to think about and process it, then come back with a fresh perspective. In these cases, it has always worked out well for both parties. The problems were solved by switching off the arguing, reflecting for a while and then turning the dialogue on again, with the answer.

Have you ever been stuck with a problem you can’t solve? Have you ever plateaued with your training or wellness aspirations? Have you ever realised that if you keep doing the same thing over and over you will keep getting the same results? I was a personal trainer for fifteen years and I loved most of it. The thing that always frustrated me was that I could never really breakthrough financially. I always just lived hand to mouth. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was making great money, but, I had to work hard every day for it, and, I was spending as much as I was earning. I just felt stuck and didn’t know how to break through. So, at the time, I just kept working harder and more hours, thinking that would be the solution. That’s actually called, insanity!

It wasn’t until I decided to turn it off, get away for a while, and come back that I realised what the answer was. That was fifteen years ago, and 2 years after that defining light-bulb moment, I was retired from personal training and was a full-time author and speaker, in a totally different financial position. I have enjoyed this wonderful life for about thirteen years now, and, am looking forward to many more years of bliss. So, what about you? What is it that you are struggling with, stuck in or want to change? What are you persisting with, but feel like you are just spinning your wheels? Are you ready to switch off for a while, leave it to get some fresh perspective and then turn it on again, expecting that the answers will appear? It’s amazing how this works.

You have seen it work with your computer, your phone, your tablet, software applications and many other devices, right? Did you know that your brain is the most sophisticated device there is? It will do anything you program it to do, but sometimes, like technology, it can freeze, shutdown or get stuck. Instead of getting stressed, depressed or feeling helpless and hopeless, why not try something simple? I want to encourage you, this week, whenever you feel like you are struggling to break through with something in your life, simply turn it off, leave it a while and then turn it back on!