The Blog

Hit Your Mark in Mistake-Prone Times!

Remember the last time you were over-tired, hungry, overwhelmed or thrown by a life event? Here are seven simple tips to get you on track.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Have you ever played darts? Sometimes you focus on the target and you hit it, always more with practice. But sometimes practice fails, even when you use the same technique, and miss your mark. The more you focus on hitting that target the farther afield you go.

There's an old saying that bad things happen in threes. There is good reasoning behind it. It often takes a few bad "hits" before you realize that something is amiss. In challenging times, it's especially important to be able to predict when elements in your business and your life are going to get shaky and intercept the problem before it occurs. There is usually plenty of warning before a problem occurs if you are training to read the signs. Physics aside, why does this happen in darts and in life?

The other day, I saw a sticker in a Freud quote collection that read, "......." This is not far off the mark. The problem with the subconscious is that it is subconscious! The subconscious mind reacts and makes your decisions for you, long before you are conscious of making a choice. The subconscious mind gets its needs met and it's urges felt in ways that leak into your conscious, focused life. If you don't create a dialog between its language of beliefs and feelings -- most of which were put in place before the first grade -- you will misfire whenever an old belief or situation is triggered. When you fail in work, love or life -- assuming that you have been successful at anything with some consistency -- it's not because you have lost your edge, but because a hidden player is aiming for you. (These are facts, folks! Scary but true.)

Remember the last time you were over-tired, hungry, overwhelmed or thrown by a life event? It is very much like the first moments of morning where all the ego's organizing skills you have learned since the age of two haven't quite fallen back into place. You regressed, lost in a place of vulnerability and reactivity.

Regression is so common that people are relieved to know that there is a name and a concept that covers the fragile, fearful, futile feelings and acts committed in its throws. When reason hides it can be very frightening. When this happens and you ascribe rational reasons for your regressed behavior, it can severely damage your life or your business. Unfortunately, regressive behavior is most likely to occur when you really need clear intuition and reason. Any blow or perceived threat can cause regression, as well as illness, fatigue and that last straw on the camel's back.

How do you know your judgment is off? You begin making mistakes in all areas of your life and it starts with that first mistake you ignore. It is not uncommon to mask mistakes by projecting them outward using blame. "I didn't get the correct information in the first place," or "X is being irrational," or "It's the times, everyone is doing badly." Once you take away blame and make it "your fault," it is in your power to do something to change it.

Here are seven simple tips to get you on track:

1. Deal with the issues at hand, not the past, not the perceived future, but the now!

2. Keep healthy habits during mistake-prone times. Stick to a schedule. Make sure all of the activities that make up the slices of your pie are taken care of; nutrition, exercise, social, introspection, expression, keeping up to date on tasks and so on. This takes a special commitment during times when you are already feeling "off," but it's well worth it.

3. When your mind drifts or over-focuses, notice where it goes. These "default" experiences are often injurious to functioning during mistake-prone times. Knowing "where you go" and knowing that it is a harmful place for your attention is often enough to abort the process.

4. Be aware of how people around you are functioning and make sure they follow these steps too. People are more like herd animals than you would like to imagine. If everyone takes their awareness and self-care up a notch, everyone benefits.

5. Be willing to sacrifice concepts or goals that are not working for ones that are. Often, it's the effort to maintain the obsolete that keeps you in a failing cycle. You can always reclaim them later.

6. Intuition helps those with clear goals. Focus on what you do want instead of what you don't want. Often, the dysfunctional parts of your life fall into step or fall away when you are "targeted" on succeeding at your goal.

7. Most of all, keep in mind that there are very few fatal errors in life. Right now is the best time to start fresh! Yesterday only dictates tomorrow when you don't take the steps to get on track and take action.

How to Rule the World from Your Couch will help you engage new areas of cognition to broaden your range. Unstable times can be the most profitable and creative ones. Lead the pack!

Laura Day is the New York Times bestselling author of six books. Her most recent book is How to Rule the World from Your Couch.