It’s been a season of extraordinary disasters. Hurricanes paired with massive earthquakes and wildfires have left a wake of death, destruction, and an unforeseeable future while racial and political divisions threaten our sense of safety.
Many people are also going through personal catastrophes … job loss, death, another relationship failure. Between what’s on the news and in our worried minds, it may feel like we’re living through a communal dark night of the soul.
The dark night of the soul occurs in the times where we endure extreme hardships—the kind that shakes your core being, your beliefs, and your sense of identity. It’s the blockbuster movie moment when the superhero is in deep inner crisis and must summon extraordinary thinking to rise out of pain, fear, and doubt.
Abraham Lincoln wrote of his dark night, “If there’s a worse place than hell, I’m in it,” as he led the US through the Civil War while mourning the death of one his sons. Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, and many other leaders endured many a dark night.
It’s in this darkness that greatness is born. What made these leaders great was that they used the power of extraordinary thinking to not merely survive catastrophe but they reshaped their beliefs, rose to the occasion and created incredible results for themselves and others.
Think of moments in your life when you endured hard times. Of course, you grew through those experiences and there is no doubt that you learned valuable lessons that enhanced your life in some way. Now imagine if you had to the tools to turn that dark night into the catapult you needed to make your life reflect your greatest vision. Our superhero power is our ability to tap into our highest level thinking, regardless of external circumstances. When we tap into it, we can address our hardships and reshape our beliefs in a way that creates a truly extraordinary life.
First, you must release yourself from the trappings of the inner tirade; “why me”…”I can’t-do this”…”I’m not good enough”…”I just need to make it through.” Extraordinary thinking is recognizing how these thoughts are driving your actions and consequently, your outcomes. When you can see that clearly you can choose how you respond to what is in front of you
In our daily lives, we must practice extraordinary thinking for success and as preparation for tribulation. Many people will break down during the proverbial dark night and allow time to pacify their pain. But, extraordinary thinkers will use the pain to enlighten themselves to a new way of being in the world. They see the crisis as an opportunity for growth and positive change.
In the 16th century, St. John of the Cross wrote the poem Dark Night of the Soul that looked at the darkness as an awakening: Oh, night that guided me, Oh, night more lovely than the dawn…
Extraordinary thinkers reshape disempowering beliefs within their unconscious thinking: ensuring the darkness becomes the dawn. This is not a skill people are taught in our world, although we all have the capacity.
Cultivating skills for extraordinary thinking requires the kind of guidance we provide at Productive Learning. We begin with Beyond Reasons — People use this workshop to help illuminate some of the unconscious thinking that dictates their behavior to produce results with which they are not 100% thrilled. In this workshop, we awaken the conscious mind and begin the practice of cultivating our extraordinary thinking.
Anyone who is interested in living a completely fulfilling life will weather the dark night of the soul. In fact, if your heart is set on it, you will be inviting the hero’s journey into your life. Each of us is challenged and tested on the way to fulfillment but not all of us will have cultivated the extraordinary thinking to transform that crisis into an opportunity.
As the world reconstructs from extraordinary disasters, join us and summon your inner superhero and be part of the rebirth. By investing in yourself and your mental-emotional well-being your influence will be felt. Your inner peace has no choice but to ripple out in the world. As Gandhi said, “BE the change you wish to see in the world.” Allow the circumstances of your life to shape you in the direction of your dreams and us, Productive Learning, as a tool for the creation of that vision.
Enroll in workshops like The New EQ -where you learn to react to your environment using the best of your beliefs; or, From Anxiety to Empowerment, where you identify the areas that cause the most stress and transform that energy into the force you need to create your ideals.
You can’t choose what happens to you but you can choose how you respond to it. Give yourself the tools you need to make it extraordinary.