Lessons from a blind man that used a transformational coping stratergy
Paraphrased from Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Paolo, who is now thirty went blind six years ago. He list four positive outcomes;
- Although I realise and accept my limitations, I am going to keep attempting to overcome them
- I have decided to always try changing those situations I don’t like
- I am very careful not to repeat any of the mistakes I make
- Now I have no illusions, but I try to be tolerant of myself so I can be tolerant of others
This perfectly illustrates that Paolo has chosen a transformational coping strategy as opposed to a regressive coping strategy. A regressive coping strategy is characterised by focusing on the problem. This normally results in people going back in to their shells, wallowing on the sofa and does not tend to lead to good outcomes. This type of strategy may be associated with the onset of depression and other mental illnesses.
Transformational coping is characterised by focusing on solutions. Broadly speaking there are two solutions when you have failed to achieve a goal. Look at how you can adapt and what you can do to achieve the goal or re-set a more appropriate goal.
However, it is simplistic to think we only ever use one strategy. In reality we use a little of each in different situations and may switch from a regressive strategy to a transformational after a period of self pity.
Take home point- use a transformational coping strategy!