Does your life seem like an endless cycle of negativity when everything seems to be going wrong? The trouble is that the more frustrated and angry you get, the worse everything around you becomes. One bad event can quickly turn into a vicious cycle of negativity.

This vicious cycle can really erode your self-confidence, leading to stress and depression. Every time you go around the vicious cycle, the hole of anger and frustration just gets deeper and deeper, often causing more bad outcomes.

The key to breaking this vicious cycle is to understand what it is and how you got there in the first place. You see, these vicious cycles are no accident. You got there because of your own choices and beliefs.

Let me explain how the vicious cycle works

Something happens that you judge as negative. Probably something you didn’t like, that you don’t want to own, or the unwanted result of something you did. This is the start of the vicious cycle.

Because you are resisting whatever it is that happened, you are resisting the reality of what is going on around you. This resistance moves you into a negative space where you desperately want something (or someone) to change so that you don’t have to accept what has happened.

Your initial resistance usually triggers an emotional response. Anger, or frustration at the undesirable situation quickly turns to feelings of revenge. Revenge can show up in very subtle ways, like being 5 minutes late for work because you resent something your boss did.

It’s the revenge component of the vicious cycle that triggers the endless loop. Although the revenge may feel (temporarily) satisfying, it only serves to further damage you by depleting your own awesome. How do you think showing up 5 minutes late is going to look on your performance review?

Whether or not there are direct consequences to your actions, it won’t be long before your revenge leaves you feeling guilty so you go back to resisting. Now you are stuck in the resistance stage because you are not conceptually grasping what is and making a different choice, and you are definitely NOT a person who takes revenge (ok, you keep that belief for now).

The Virtuous Cycle

The alternative is the virtuous cycle. You can have the same event, the same stimulus and even the same negative judgment about it, but the difference is with how you deal with it. Instead of reacting, you approach the situation from a more conscious place.

Instead of reacting and building up the negative stories about the situation, you step back and sort through your feelings. Ask yourself “What is going on here? Why am I so bothered by this new development? Is it that I feel like one of my values is being compromised? What does this result say about me that I don’t like?”

Unlike the vicious cycle, the virtuous cycle acknowledges what is. It doesn’t mean you have to love it, or even like it, but you do have to accept that it is the reality you are faced with. From there, you can respond with purpose and take constructive action.

Here are a few tips to keep you out of the vicious cycle and in the virtuous cycle:

    1. Know Your Purpose – Get clear on your true purpose in business and in life. You are far less likely to get stuck in a vicious cycle when you know your purpose and set out every day to live that out.
    2. Know Your Values – Understand where you stand on things. When you know where your lines are, it’s easy to know why you are having a negative reaction to something that happens to cross it.
    3. Know Your Vision – Establish a clear vision for your life so that when something does happen (and trust me, it will), you can respond in a conscious, constructive way.
    4. Know Your Vices – What behaviors do you default to when you are in resistance to a result you don’t like? Not sure? Ask your friends/family, they’ll know right away! Being honest with yourself about your vices will act as a smoke signal to stop and change direction before you create a fire.


Do you need help getting clear on your vision and purpose so you can stay in a virtuos cycle? Book your one-on-one session with me today!

One Response

  1. Thanks for that great advice. I’m already feeling healed about it. I also watched Dr. Wilkinson’s DVD on Forgiveness of others and self, and what you advice resonates his message since forgiveness is a positive value., a virtue. Thanks once again!!

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