How i learned to dance in the rain

Learn to Dance in the Rain

What do you do when bad things happen? Neuroscience has some remarkably useful tips. DUCK! Here comes another of life’s curveballs

In leadership, unexpected curveballs can strike out of the blue at any time. Often, we have no control as to what, where, when or why these happen.

But here’s the rub - you are in control of how you choose to deal with them.

I don’t know about you but, when bad things come along, I just want them to go away. That reminded me of this famous quote:

“Life isn’t about sheltering from the storm…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

But, what does it mean to dance in the rain?

To dance in the rain is a metaphor. It means: “that a person has learned not to allow circumstances deter them reaching their full potential. They don’t wait for bad things in their life to go away. Instead, they have a positive attitude and take challenges head on and enjoy the journey.” (Christine Smith, Family and Consumer Education at Wayne County, North Carolina 2013).

I believe there are some useful lessons here, to apply to leadership.

Hmm - fate, Or destiny? Choices, choices!

I have observed that often people seem to spend their lives reacting to life’s circumstances. Driven by fear or out of habit, they seem conditioned on going along a path set by fate (events outside their control).

But every once in a while a person just like you comes along and knocks down all the obstacles that fate puts in their way.

These are the people that realise free will is a gift. But, here’s the thing - you won’t know how to use it until you unwrap it.

Therefore, one day you won’t have to follow fate because you put the effort in and tested yourself. You deserved the right to reach for your destiny instead. It isn’t an easy road, but one less travelled!

But, when something rains on your parade, dealing with it still takes courage, character, attitude and conviction. These are essential leadership qualities. What’s more, neuroscience says you can train your brain to develop these. We will explore this next.

Uh oh! - we found this monkey in your brain

Sometimes in our lives, when it rains, it pours. That can trigger one or more limiting beliefs. These are basic survival neuro-pathways that your brain can build. When a limiting belief is in play, it fires off all sorts of negative mind chatter that fills up your head with bad thoughts. For instance:

Typical, why does this always happen to me?

Why am I never worthy (or good, pretty, clever) enough?

I always get things wrong; I’m a failure, why do I never learn?

Professor Loretta Breuning, Ph.D. neuroscience expert, author and founder of the Inner Mammal Institute picks up this theme. She says, ‘when your brain senses threat it releases a spike of cortisol - the stress hormone. Cortisol is nature’s emergency alert system. That spurt arouses your survival and protection reactions to avoid a threat. Cortisol creates a bad feeling and that also sparks your limiting beliefs to get your attention.

It is the wiring of the downstairs part of your brain that warns you of external signals of danger or anything like what has hurt you before. Loretta goes on to say, ‘if you always treat that cortisol blast as if it’s a real threat, you end up with more being triggered’ – and your negative mind chatter hijacks your brain.

So, a practical way to deal with difficult circumstances is to recognise a bad feeling as it happens. That feeling is an old neural pathway that has set off the flow of cortisol. Loretta believes the trick is that when you sense it, give your body time to dispel the cortisol release. Back to my metaphor, to dance in the rain! It is useful to find a distraction to interrupt any limiting beliefs and exit those old patterns.

You get to decide and choose in every moment. (Loretta Breuning)

Train your brain for a change - happy days

Leaders know that they are at their best when they engage their upstairs (thinking) brain. Not only is your upstairs brain infinitely capable, did you know that it also has access to your happy chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphin?

Loretta says that your upstairs brain looks for facts that make you feel good. When you engage your happy chemicals, they give you a boost. Moreover, they override the feel bad factor of cortisol. Every rain cloud has a silver lining!

Loretta recommends that you can:

Take a step toward a goal, whether a huge goal or tiny goal. This releases dopamine, the reward chemical because your brain anticipates reward instead of anticipating pain.

Stimulate oxytocin – the hug chemical too, with a little faith, take a small risk or a step toward trust (a little bit of real trust is much better than lots of fake trust).

Prompt serotonin by comparing yourself favourably with others instead of wondering what they might say and think about you.

Trigger endorphin with a belly laugh - a real laugh. So, make time for humour and things you find funny. Endorphin is released to counter pain too. So, it gives us a feeling of joy when we work hard to overcome an obstacle.

See all these in action and check out this inspired video clip of a child’s simple, but profound words on a rainy day. At the same time, it teaches us not to sweat the small stuff:

Oi, you! Yes, you. Look in the mirror - that’s who’s in your way

Here are ten useful tips for leaders. They help you engage the upstairs part of your brain along with your happy chemicals. They also teach you not to take yourself so seriously at work and in life:

1. Have a go at taking the occasional risk. Like the mother in the film, challenge your embarrassment. Nobody will care if you get a bit ‘red-faced’ once in a while

2. Set yourself a goal to take a few chances. For example, take time out to build your team, or present your ideas and passions to wider audiences

3. Drop the pretense that you are The Big Cheese. Eat a bit of humble pie for a change and start to accept other peoples’ ideas too. You might surprise yourself

4. To make a mistake is okay. But your fixed mindset will tell you that you aren’t capable if you fail. So tell yourself that to learn from failure leads to better success

5. It’s okay to lose once in a while - things don’t always work out. The trick is to learn from the disappointment

6. Give yourself a slap on the back whenever you stop yourself being harsh and critical. Learn to feel good about others and yourself instead

7. The ultimate source of happiness is a positive mindset. So, see the funny side of your oversights and flaws

8. Be generous, kind and above all forgive others (how are you doing with that one?). Have gratitude too

9. Nothing is permanent

10. Smile, if you want a smile back.

So, work on these tips, get out of your own way and every now and again dance in the rain. Let go of the little things and don’t let problems rain on your parade!

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6 Strategies to Learn to Dance in the Rain – Carizon

Blog Post

6 Strategies to Learn to Dance in the Rain

Posted on February 25, 2016

The other day, I did one of the cryptic quotes. The result was: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I believe it’s a quote from author Vivian Greene. It got me thinking about how often I find myself looking ahead to the next stage or how much better life will be once I get beyond a certain time or goal. The goal might be work-related – “once we finish this task or project, things will run smoother.” Or the goal could be personal – “once the car loan is paid…once the kids are done University…once we turn this corner…”

So how do we learn to dance in the rain and not put off our happiness until tomorrow?

  1. Live in the present. I think we can start by reminding ourselves to enjoy life as it is, right now. Look to celebrate and savour the little things every day, like that first cup of morning coffee. Don’t rush your day and your thoughts to the point that you fail to notice the pleasure you derive from the moment at hand.
  2. Get outdoors and literally smell the roses. We all tend to get caught up in the fast pace of daily life and worrying about what we need to be doing next. Rather, mindfully enjoy your surroundings. Take a break, go for a walk and focus on what you are enjoying in the moment. Stepping away from a distracting, busy world into the quiet world of nature provides the opportunity to be grateful for simple things like the sunshine on your face or the sand between your toes.
  3. Practice self-care. Invest in yourself by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and taking time to experience whatever you identify that sooths your soul – perhaps yoga, playing the piano, painting, listening to music, soaking in a tub surrounded by candlelight. During challenging times, self-care will make you feel your best.
  4. Break goals down into smaller increments. While we can set goals and experience the satisfaction in achieving those goals, the fulfilment really comes from the process of accomplishing the end result one step at a time. It helps me to reflect on how much has already been realised in achieving the big goal by observing several stages along the way.
  5. Mark your calendar. I highlight any day on my calendar that I have something special to look forward to. When I look at my upcoming week, I am always pleasantly surprised to see how many days I have highlighted that promise to add a delightful element to my schedule.
  6. Recognize that there are different stages in life and each stage comes with its joys and with its challenges. Instead of rushing to get to the next stage, focus on getting the most out of the stage you are experiencing.

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9000 “The meaning of life is not to wait for the thunder but in learning to dance in the rain. Life is not about waiting for the storm to end. Life is learning to dance in the rain.”

I love that phrase! I heard it in 2010 and, by the way, it was included in my first published book, Dignity. The author of these wonderful words is an amazing woman Vivienne Green , American pianist, composer and singer. I will always be grateful to her for these words!

For myself, I divided this phrase into several parts, from each part I singled out my thought, which became for me, so to speak, a guide to life, a pointer to action. Before, I did not like rainy weather, I associated it with cold and colds. At this time, I wanted to sit at home with a cup of hot tea, wrapped in a blanket. Looking out the window, I saw dullness in nature, pouring rain and rare passers-by, usually dressed in dark blue or black jackets. nine0006

While studying this saying, I thought:
What happens if it rains forever?
Will I sit at home all day long and drink tea wrapped in a blanket? No! After all, you need to take children to kindergarten, school, make appointments for business, and it wouldn’t hurt to go to the store to buy groceries.

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

I realized that it was impossible to wait until the rain stopped! Why?

  • Well, first of all, I have no control over whether it rains or not. nine0045
  • And secondly, if I still wait for it to pass, I'll just waste my life sitting at home.

So, my "work" on the first part of this catchphrase led to a positive: I decided to stop waiting! What did I do after that? After some time, I bought myself a raincoat. It is an unusual color - pink-white, with delicate flowers. I had never seen such coats before. Designed specifically for rainy weather, made of waterproof fabric, it is very stylish! I picked up a pale pink light scarf for it, and - "voila"! nine0006

The second part of the saying goes like this: “You need to learn how to dance in the rain”

Before, I didn’t understand: how is it? How can you dance standing in puddles, with wet feet, when it is pouring from above “like from a bucket”? But it’s worth trying once... I already had everything I needed for this: a raincoat, a scarf, an umbrella, waterproof shoes, and most importantly, a desire! I can dance, and quite well, so I can dance in the rain!

Thank God, now I am one of those people who do not do what everyone else does! Realizing this makes me feel free, joyful and inspired. So when I danced in the rain when the lonely passers-by ran for cover, I really enjoyed it! It is unusual and bright, and I am everything that is bright! nine0006

So I stopped waiting for the storm to pass and learned to dance in the rain! What has it changed in my life?

Much! As a rule, our life does not consist of only bright sunny days, it has different periods and seasons, just like in nature. Therefore, having learned to dance in the rain, I realized that no matter what season of my life I was in - and in autumn, with its rains and storms, now I definitely will not sit back and wait until this "troubled" time is over! No! On the contrary, I will try to dance even during this period of my life! nine0006

No matter what happens, I will put on my colorful raincoat, elegantly throw a pale pink scarf over my shoulder and go through the puddles ... I will go dancing my life! After all, this is my life, and I like it! I am her mistress, and my mood, my "life dance" depends only on me: my goals, ideas and dreams. I will dance through life by learning to "catch" the waves of life's storms, using, tacking, or bypassing them as I head towards my next destination.

Thus, the phrase spoken by the great pianist, having undergone all the semantic divisions that I accepted for myself after reading, gave me the opportunity not only to realize its deep meaning, but also to begin to build my life in accordance with it! This is very valuable to me! That is why I am writing these lines, inspiring you to reflect on the seasons in your life, especially the season of rains and storms! You can’t get away from them in everyday life, but I wish you to learn to accept them, cope with them, dance during these periods and still continue to enjoy life! nine0006 Photo by michael podger on Unsplash

Happy dancing in the rain!

Main Photo by Max Okhrimenko on Unsplash

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Vivian Green , … nine0001

- Vivian Green

Life is not about waiting for the storm to end. Life is learning to dance in the rain.

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Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass… it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Last updated October 20, 2022

life, meaning, rain, life, meaning, storm, learning

Vivian Greene
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