A story is told of a young man who went to Alaska. There he met an old Indian trapper who agreed to teach the young man the skills of a trapper. The old Indian taught him how to live in the bush, how to lay traps, clean pelts and take care of himself in the wilderness. When the young man was ready to go out on his own, the wise old Indian gave him this final word of caution: “Remember this, whatever you do, when you travel, always use two logs crossing.” He knew his young friend would need to cross many rivers and streams while trapping in the wilderness, so he repeated the advice…..”Always use two logs crossing.”
The young man thoroughly enjoyed himself, trapping throughout the summer. He had gathered all the furs that he could possibly carry as summer came to its close. As the leaves began to turn, he began his journey back to the small town where he could trade his furs. He hoped to trade his furs for enough money to outfit him for the next spring, plus enough money to live on through the winter. He did everything right, just as he had been taught, until he came to the last fast-running stream between him and civilization. He was so anxious to get back to town, he tried to cross the stream using a single log stretched from one bank to the other.
As fate would have it, he lost his footing and fell into the stream. To avoid drowning he had to throw off his pack. Everything was lost. A season’s worth of trapping washed down the stream. When he finally got to the town, wet and exhausted, he met the old Indian. The Indian looked at him, shook his head and said, “You forgot to use two logs.”
The moral of the story is when adversity comes, you need to develop alternative choices. You can never afford to put all your hopes on a single person or a single possibility. You, too, must use two logs crossing. Because the young man disregarded his Indian friend’s advice, he lost everything.
Sixty years ago Dale Carnegie outlined a four step method for dealing with adversity. These four steps are still one of the most powerful mental tools you can use when confronted with any problem or worry:
- Define the problem. What exactly is the problem? If more than one problem is troubling you, write out clear definitions of all the problems that constitute what you are worrying about now.
- Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen in this situation?” Be honest with yourself. If everything fell apart, what is the worst thing that could happen?
- Accept that the worst may occur. When you accept that the worst thing may happen, you’ll relax and your mind will clear. Your ability to deal with the situation will improve greatly.
- Don’t worry about what happened or why it happened or who you think is responsible. What has happened has happened. Accept that. Use your mental energy to make a plan for recovery. Ask yourself, “What can I do now to minimize the consequences?” What is the first step? What is the second step and so on.
Always remember you will never have a problem that you cannot handle. You have within you everything you need to deal with whatever problem may confront you. Keep your thoughts on where you are going, not where you’ve been. No matter how difficult a situation may seem, “This, too, shall pass.”
For now, Earlyn’s just sayin’; “Always use two logs crossing.”