Are You Good At Handling Challenges?

handling challengesIn a recent post I looked at handling challenges when starting an online business, and how I, after a tricky few months, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing that helped me through the difficult time earlier in the year was a fascinating home business webinar a few weeks ago about handling challenges. I really could relate the subject matter to my own recent states of mind. This can apply to business as well as personal challenges.

This material isn't mine – if only! I have searched online and found several people who appear to have “borrowed” the concept, but I hope I have correctly identified the originator.

As far as I can tell, the author is Todd Hermann and you can click on his name to download a free ebook about this topic. At the time of writing that download is linking to the re-launch of his program, rather than an affiliate link. But it looks valuable free info so I hope you'll enjoy it and that Todd won't mind me sharing it.

The OWW Brain or the WOW Brain

Todd Herman's hypothesis is that there are two different ways your brain might operate. The OWW Brain or the WOW Brain.

People may operate by handling challenges with an OWW Brain (motivated by PAIN) or a WOW Brain (motivated by GAIN).

It's important to know which mode a person is “operating in” at any given time – because the state may change, depending on the task and circumstances.

And when I say “People” – I mean YOU, or people you might be working with.

If you are in WOW mode, and those around you seem permanently in OWW mode. You may prefer to dissociate yourself from their company. (Or… they from you, if YOU are the “toxic” one.)

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Many people have areas of business and personal life where they struggle, so if this is something really important to them, their lack of success causes stress, anxiety and worry. Nothing they do is ever good enough, so they're never satisfied, whatever success they achieve.

Pain vs Gain

People like this are driven by PAIN – this has been referred to as operating in the OWW Brain Mode.

Or…. people may be driven by GAIN – when they are doing something that's more easy for them. They will be measuring improvements and creating positive feedback loops of learning and growth. This has been referred to as operating in the WOW Brain Mode.

Different Ways Of Thinking

So…. given the same Start Point, Level of Achievement and Goal, here's how people operating in the the different “Modes” will respond.

  • People in the (Negative)  OWW Brain Mode, will look at their results and evaluate them in comparison to the desired goal. Seeing that they still have a LOOONG way to go to reach the end goal, they may become demotivated and feel they'll “never make it” – plunging into a “chasm of despair”.
  • People in the (Positive) WOW Brain Mode will evaluate the exact same results, but they will compare the improvement they made to where they started from. Celebrating each small success increases confidence, with a positive feedback of learning and further confidence.

Life In The Oww Brain

Operating in the Oww Brain generates thoughts such as:

  • Why are they so much better than me? Because they are better looking, had better / richer parents, know the “right people”, or are just brighter?
  • If only I had ……. (whatever).
  • I don't feel like it, I'm tired, I'll start tomorrow.
  • There's so much left still to do….
  • I can't be bothered…. nothing works for me anyway.


Life In The Wow Brain

When in WOW mode you will have more positive thoughts…

  • I need to emulate that person's success – it's really motivating.
  • I CAN do it, because I am in control of my actions and no-one can take away the efforts I make.
  • I'm improving daily, there's tons of information available to help me on my way, I'm coachable and eager to learn.
  • You may say “Yewch – I made a mess of that, BUT I can see what I did wrong and won't make that mistake again”. You learned from your mistake.
  • Although I don't feel like doing it, I'll start for a few minutes and see how I get on.
  • It was easier the next time. What I learned last time really helped.
  • Wow, look how much I've improved.

Your Plan vs What Happens

Getting from start point A to desired outcome (goal) B, looks so easy – when seen as a straight line, or when described on a sales page of the next “Bright Shiny Object” you're tempted to buy.

But what usually happens is ….

  • It's not as easy as it seemed at first (it's never as easy as the sales page promised!)
  • There's so much to learn, you get confused, so progress is slow
  • You hit a complete block and don't know what to do next
  • No matter how hard you work, it gets no better – you've hit a plateau
  • The worst resistance seems to happen at the end, when you're “almost there”

The answer to all these setbacks is – just keep taking action every day.

When you reach the reward it's great – you went through hell…. but a new you emerged.

Once the “WOW” cycle gets moving, seeing small improvements create more motivation and momentum. These encourage motivation and self-belief.
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Am I Oww Or Wow?

There's a bit of both in me – which I'm sure is completely normal.

For the last few months, things seemed rather “Oww”, as I explained in my previous about facing challenges starting an online business.

But when I started analyzing my offline and online businesses in terms of Oww and Wow brain I realized that there are enough WOWs to keep me going (quite apart from the fact that I'm one stubborn soul).

How About YOU?

Please share instances of when you have been handling challenges with an OWW brain or a WOW brain. What changed your mindset?