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Crisis management: Six tips for more optimism

By Matthias Herzog, management and personality trainer, Garbsen, Germany

Of course, there is the cheerful person who has seen the good in the world since childhood. Or the optimist, whose character is simply positive from the ground up. Positive thinking comes rather easily to such people from the outset. Unfortunately, in times like these, this confidence is no longer all that common among farmers. Quite a few feel they have reached a dead end and would like to quit. But burying your head in the sand and resigning now won't help either. If you lack a basic optimistic attitude, the following six points can help you to think more positively and become happier in the future. 

1. Concentrate on your strengths

We all have strengths and weaknesses. The goal should be to spend as little energy as possible neutralising our weaknesses. Instead, we should spend most of our efforts on using our strengths. Because then you will organise your business and work in a way that you enjoy. You will perform better as a result. After all, successes motivate you to continue to perform at your best.

2. Use the technique of smiling

Or as I like to say: let your teeth hang out to dry. Because a smile puts you in a better mood and gives you a positive outlook on circumstances after only a short time. Behind this is a physical reaction triggered by the facial muscles. The brain then releases happiness hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. It's best to try it out right away. Do you feel the immediate effect?

In addition, smiling has an effect on those around you: you appear more open, more positive - and get sympathy and trust back.

3. Let go of the past

Eight out of ten bad decisions are based on the fact that we are not prepared to change by letting go. That means we hold on to old structures, existing processes, old strategies and behaviours - and that is the main reason we end up failing. By letting go and learning from it, you leave the past behind and look forward again.

4. Learn from mistakes

Positive thinkers have one thing in common: they only look to the past to learn from it. What drives them is their aspiration to be even better in the future.

First, accept the situation as it is. Then, with every defeat, after every setback, ask yourself: What is the good thing that happened to me? Take the time to look for the positive even in difficult situations. Even if you make mistakes: What did I do well and what will I do better next time? Did you learn something? Were you able to grow and develop? Mistakes are allowed and the best way to develop. Even a step backwards can be a step forward. Instead of getting angry, learn to see the possibilities. In the end, you can only really appreciate successes when you have also overcome crises or setbacks. Every setback makes you stronger!

5. Take responsibility

Quite a few people take refuge in the role of victim because it is more comfortable. Then others or circumstances are to blame. Practically. By taking responsibility, you regain control. You take the proverbial wheel back in your hands - and make the best of everything. Because the biggest mistake is not taking action in the first place and giving up right at the beginning according to the motto: "It's going to go wrong anyway!".

Of course, positive thinking alone is not enough, action is also required. Only when you use your hands and take action can you move and improve things.

6. From having to and should to being allowed and wanting to

That is a subtle difference. Because when you say "I want to" or "I may", i.e. do something voluntarily, then you have it in your own hands. Everything you must or should do is in someone else's hands. At the altar you also say at best "Yes, I will" and not "Yes, I must".

I have to do something - what nonsense! You can leave everything as it is and don't have to change anything if you are prepared to live with the consequences. And only a few really want to change. Because with change many people associate work, effort, agony and renunciation. With improvement, on the other hand, everyone associates joy, passion, love and fun. It is also true that if you have positive experiences with change, you are basically open to it. But most people - and farmers too - have the impression that something is being taken away from them. And that naturally creates a defensive attitude.

Give yourself courage: "I can do it! Come on, you can do it!" If we talk like this, there is a good chance that we will successfully initiate improvements. If, on the other hand, you say, "I'll try," the project is doomed to failure from the start. Because trying something means doing it half-heartedly. Because you do not expect to succeed.