If you have ever gone fishing with a youngster, you know that this outcome is pretty likely at some point. We might even call this a ‘breakdown’. Fernando Flores originally described a breakdown as an unexpected break in the normal flow of what you were doing. Breakdowns happen all of the time and may initially seem to be negative – but they are neither positive or negative in and of themselves. We attach the emotion and meaning to them based on the lens through which we are viewing what is happening.
A more useful way of thinking about breakdowns however, starts with the premise that these ‘breaks in the normal flow of things’ are actually central to our ability to design our own lives. We are forced to shift out of autopilot and become fully present to the reality of the moment. What we do at the time of a breakdown is critical to the result we ultimately get, and the actions we take are reliant upon the observer we are when the break happens.
If this ‘fishing bobber incident’ happened early in the day, when spirits were high and patience plentiful, reactions would likely be quite different than if it occurred at the end of a long, hot, mosquito ridden afternoon, when fatigue and frustration were in full bloom. Our moods shape our perception and if we choose not to be attentive to this, we are apt to behave in ways that we regret the next day.
Consider the conversation you might have following a fishing trip where the knots and tangles of the bobber shown in this photo were a reality. What might influence the direction and the tone of your language? How is your emotion impacting the words and body language associated with the story telling? Are you attentive to the way in which the conversation you are having now dictates the future you have with this youngster?
Being more conscious of the opportunity a moment of breakdown has for you – to create the future for yourself and those you care about – allows you to embrace the ups and downs of life in a new, more expansive way. It allows you to intentionally direct your energy in a way that cultivate happiness!