Staying stuck or moving forward | Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko | TEDxWilmington

Staying stuck or moving forward | Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko | TEDxWilmington

Translator: Giada Marianucci
Reviewer: Thy Thy Ngo People come to see me
when they have problems. These could be personal problems. It could be a family problem. It could be a career challenge, or it could be an organizational crisis. But they come to see me when they haven’t been able to figure out
how to get past this problem on their own. The good news is I absolutely love
helping people get past problems. The key is … moving past a problem doesn’t mean we get to a place
where we pretend it never happened. If we do this right, moving past a problem means that we are more strong, more whole, more the person we were ever meant to be
than before the problem happened. There have been some key shifts in the art and science of helping people over the last 30 years, and I want to share
those insights with you. Let’s begin with two different people,
two very different problems. I want you to see if you can
figure out why they are stuck and how they can move forward. Let’s take Debra. Debra is very discouraged. She has the same problem every day. She starts her morning
with the mommy pledge. Perhaps, you know the “mommy pledge.” It goes like this: “I am not going to yell
at these kids today.” (Laughter) But Debra sees her kids as very difficult. They refuse to eat
what she serves for breakfast, they won’t wear the clothes
that she sets out, and when it comes time
to get in the car seats, these kids are kicking and screaming. So her day becomes
not only a physical battle, but a verbal battle. Inevitably, she loses her patience, she drops her filter, and she starts screaming things
that she knows are harmful to her kids. She says things like:
“Why are you so bad?”, and, “What kind of monsters are you?
Kids your age shouldn’t act that way!” and, “I can’t stand you.” Well, she puts the kids to bed,
and the tears start. She says to herself,
“What’s wrong with me?”, “What kind of monster
screams at her own kids?”, and, “Why are my kids so bad?” Well, let’s take a look at Keith. Keith is a hardworking professional. Shows up everyday ready for work. He’s smart, he’s diligent. He likes his coworkers,
he’s a team player. But for the third year in a row,
Keith has been overlooked for a promotion, and this year, his company
is experiencing deep layoffs. So, Keith says, “My situation has gone
from being frustrating to now I’m really afraid. He asks me, “What if my boss
doesn’t see my value?” “What if I get let go
in the next round of layoffs?” “What’s going to happen
to my home and my family?” The key feature of people who remain stuck is that they are using
a problem-focused lens. They are asking problem-focused questions, questions like: What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with them? What’s going to happen
if things go badly? You know what happens
when we ask problem-focused questions? We get problem-focused answers. We know this from research:
researcher bias. If you ask me why you have problems, I might just go
digging around in your life and figure all the things you’re doing that are contributing to
you having that problem. I might even go digging back
into your childhood and think of all the different
complications that you have that have led to you having this problem. And, while this might be very informative, what we’re going to find out
is why you’re stuck. Right? We run two risks here. The first: You’re going
to overidentify with your problem. By the way, this problem
might be an epidemic, right, not so unique to you. Secondly, perhaps more problematically: This is going to shed very little light
on how to move past it. What’s more, we now know from a variety
of fields of research over the last three decades that talking about a problem for too long not only isn’t helpful; it’s harmful. Across different spectrums,
we’ve learned this. Now, it’s absolutely true that to get past a problem,
we have to start by talking about it, we have to name it out loud, we have to say the words, and we need to get validated
and to feel heard and understood. That is a crucial first step. However, there is a point
of diminishing returns. We might call this a neuroscience, wiring neurons associated
with negative events. We might say from behavioral science that we are now conditioning
and emphasizing the very behaviors
we wish we were diminishing. We might say, biochemically, that we are just firing
negative biochemicals in our bodies and marinating in them. Not only is that harmful to you, but if you understand
interpersonal neurochemistry, that’s not helpful to anybody around you. More compelling than this
is that we have learned: If you’ve got the privilege to study large populations of people
suffering from a wide array of problems, and you try to look for the single, greatest predictor of who’s
going to suffer long-term dysfunction as a result of experiencing
any one problem, too often, what you’re to find is that it isn’t even related
to the problem itself. It’s related to who stays stuck
and who moves forward. So research is going to tell us something
that you already know and I already know: that there is not a single tragedy,
or event, or crisis, that definitely spells doom
to everybody that encounters it. You’ve seen this, you’ve seen
people go through unthinkable challenges, and some of them have
come out alright on the other side. Not only just alright, but strong,
and whole, and thriving. You’ve also seen people
not have this happened. They’ve experienced a problem
that maybe you’ve overcome, and somehow they’re still hung up on it. But what if I tell you
that if we look at this process, we can examine who gets stuck? This is a cautionary tale,
we can examine this. We can examine what are the procedures,
and policies, and habits and behaviors, of people that move forward, despite
how hairy or scary their problem is. What if I were to tell you
that process is available, it’s learnable, and it’s universal. Let’s take a look at what it sounds like. I call it: Turn, Learn and Move Forward. That’s the words I use for it. So, if you are experiencing
a problem for too long – What do I mean by too long? Your indicator that you’re
there for too long is you are becoming somebody
you’re not proud of. You’re weaker, you’re more afraid, you’re more desperate,
you’re more angry, you’re more bitter. This is how we know we’re stuck too long. If you become stuck for too long, what we need to do then
is back away from the problem and turn in a different direction
and begin to learn. Be an avid, agile learner
of all kinds of strategies. The good news is there are hundreds,
hundreds, or thousands, of empirically backed strategies
that work for people. All you have to do
is know that and start learning, and you will move forward. Let’s take a look. First step. Let’s say you’ve been stuck for too long
and want to get moving. I say get moving and get on the arrow. What is the arrow? Here’s a tip. The arrow is about 180° the opposite of whatever you’re experiencing
as your problem. You get moving and you get started. Pick an adjective or an experience
that’s 180° the opposite. Start making that your goal. A lot of my clients come in and know exactly
what they hate about their lives. Then, I say to them, “So, what do you want?
What do you want to experience?” “Well, I don’t want to have this.” Alright. Well, we can’t study
not having that until we know what we want. So, let’s name it
and get on the arrow. Let’s take Debra. Debra needs to start learning how to redirect her children
in calm, effective ways. Is this learnable?
(Sotto voce) Yes, it is. She needs her children
to learn how to be cooperative. Is that learnable? Yes, it is. Keith needs to learn how to get recognized
and appreciated and promoted. Is that learnable?
He was born with that gene. But, guess what, he can learn it,
he can study it, he can make that happen. The next thing we need to do is watch out
for all or nothing polarized thinking. This is when we say things like:
“I’m a good mom,” or, “I’m a bad mom.” “I have good kids,” “I have bad kids.” “My boss loves me,” “My boss hates me.” This is unproductive. It doesn’t point
to any growth whatsoever and will keep you stuck. Get on the arrow. I don’t know anybody
that’s perfect in every area; I don’t know anybody
that’s a complete failure in any area. We’re all on the arrow,
we’re all learning, becoming a little bit better,
inching ourselves along. So we want to say: Do I yell a lot at my kids?
I’m yelling at my kids. I want to learn how to be
more effective tomorrow. Keith says, “What do I need to do?
I got overlooked 3 times in a row, I’m going to get myself invited
to a key meeting this week where I share my talents out loud.” This is what we want to make happen. We will experience bumps. I laugh, my clients say, “This is not a bump;
it’s a catastrophe.” And I say, ” It’s a bump. Right?
Let’s watch our words. It’s a bump!” Now, when we experience a bump, what we need to make sure we watch out for is the idea that it’s the end, it’s the end of us, it’s complete ruin. Better watch out
and view it as an opportunity. I am aware that the problem
that you might be experiencing right now might not feel like a bump. I am also aware, just like you are, that there have been people that you know that have not done well
on the other side of that bump. I do know that. But I want you to understand
that that is an option, not a sentence. That is an option,
and it is one I do not endorse. No matter how big your bump is,
no matter what your bump is, we go on see it as a bump that not only we can move forward from,
but we can thrive on the other side. Alright! I know somebody is going
to throw a tomato at me right about now and say, “But wait,
you haven’t met my problem. You clearly don’t know my teenagers
or my boss or my cancer diagnosis.” There’s going be at least three hang-ups
that show up in this process that are going to keep you
unnecessarily stuck. The first is ego. You know what ego says? Ego says, “Alright, I know you’ve studied
tens of thousands of people and observed who can move on, but, you know what,
my version of this problem is so special, it’s so unique, that I’m not going
to be able to get over it. Alright, so all those
other people, yada yada, thousands of people,
pom pom pa pa, mine was handcrafted by the universe
to torture me because it’s very special. So, I’m just going to stay here,
devastated by my problem.” The next hang-up is going to be fear. Fear really has the same voice
no matter who we are. Fear says, “It’s not going to work, it won’t happen, I can’t get better. I am basically in a catastrophe,
in a downward spiral, and I’m going to wind up
in a van by the river.” That’s where fear goes,
no matter the primal issue, Unless you’ve kids, then it’s:
“They’ll be heading to juvie.” Not only are we going to wind up there, but, apparently,
that is a permanent location that nobody ever gets out of. It is permanent,
it is catastrophic, and it is fatal. That’s what fear tell… Is it? Apparently, we’re all still here, so fear lies, right? The next hang-up is going to be pride. And it sounds a little bit like this: “I don’t need to turn and learn. I’m doing everything right. I show up every day
doing the right things, and, apparently, I’ve hit this wall. So, I’m just going to wait
for the wall to move. Those kids, they’d just better learn
how to respect me.” Or: “That boss, that boss
just should appreciate me. I’m just going to have
a staring contest at this wall until something else changes.” What do we say to pride? “Listen up, pride. First of all, if you’re doing
everything right, it shouldn’t hurt quite this bad. Second of all, don’t ever put power
in other people’s hands about your life. Alright? If you have something
that is making you less the person you were meant to be, it is time to turn
and look in a new direction. And I guarantee you,
your win is over here. It just looks a little different
than what you think it looked like. And if you have the humility
and the ability to turn and be a learner, amazing things are going to happen. Let’s go back here. Persist. Anything you’re ever going
to want to do of consequence is going to require persistence. Right? Sometimes my clients will get
a little excited and say, “Alright, alright, I’m going
to try a strategy. I’ll show up to work
and say, ‘Notice me!'” And the world sort of sneezes
in their general direction and keeps on going. Right? So, persisting once is about as effective
as looking at a three-year-old and saying, “Do you know what you need
to do with that shoe? You need to tie that. You’re welcome.” That’s not what we do. I’ve seen you, I know you can persist. I have seen you get down on one knee, and get up in that little kid’s face and start talking bunny ears,
and caves, and loops, and you’re going to do this
six different ways till Sunday. Until when? Until desired results are achieved. That’s what we’re talking about. Anything important that you ever need
to make happen is about persistence. And you’re going do this thing
six different ways till Sunday, until you get desired results. Now, here’s the most amazing thing
for me about this. This is what I absolutely love about
being part of this journey with people. Do you realize what we’re
going to do if you persist? You’re going to overcome that problem that you thought was going to be
the thing that threatened to unhinge you. And you’re going to be able
to face life unafraid. Not just unafraid of that problem, but you’re going to face life
unafraid of problems. Because, while the individual
strategy may differ, the little steps that we take might vary, the process stays universal,
and it’s available. What we’re going to do is say to you: “You know what, no matter what crops up, you’re going to get
to the other side of it, and be more the person
you were meant to be. Because what’s going to happen is you’re going to turn,
and you’re going to learn, and, most of all, you’re going to commit
to always moving forward. Thank you. (Applause)

Best talk ever. I ordered Dr. Lani's book while I was listening to her talk from Amazon. I can hardly wait for the book to arrive. In the meantime, I listen to her talk daily. So motivating and inspiring talk.

Most of the people I know who are stuck have trouble deciding what to do next. They are stuck in a cycle of indecision. When they do decide something to do, the moment they fail, they quit. So I view "stuck" as a failure-indecision cycle.

the funny part is i was searching for videos to help me letting go and move forward and when i saw the date Aug 2014 i wished i could go back to that year because so many interesting things happened to me then lol

You can work 90 hours a week at minimum wage and still never be able to afford a college education that will get you to the job you know you're best suited to do, or an apartment. You can picket six different ways 'til Sunday and the oceans will still be filling with 8000 tonnes of plastic every year. You can bike everywhere and the oceans will continue to rise. OK, yes, it's great that people are here getting past their problems. Some problems, though can only be addressed socially, and if people refuse to listen and participate in necessary changes, we are all stuck in this unhealthy pattern, entirely focused on our own stuff. When do we actually look up and listen to other people? To scientists?

Hmm, I've be marinating in stuff too long. Trying to change it can only help. This drives home too that I don't have to wait for anybody else. They can't change things for me anyhow.

I need her, I'm going to see if she can take me on as a client. I'm stuck for 7 years now, going absolutely nowhere, being "Stuck" has come to define who I am. It's not a situation anymore, it's an existence.

There’s no problems, only solutions.
It’s how you view it which becomes a problem. As long as you deal with your own stuff, & how you deal with the situation will become easy. It’s all there to help us learn & grow.

Brilliantly put, thank you very much! ✨💖🙏🏻✨
Never put power in other peoples hands, about your life. If you have something that’s making you less the person you were meant to be. It’s time to look in a new direction. Your win is over here, just looks a little different ~ Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko

I was with her through much of this talk but @ 11:00, she lost me. How in the world do you equate ego with not accepting a problem deemed ' unconquerable? '

I am early retirement and have been through alot of trauma/loss. Experienced force enduced trauma, parents have passed, neighbors threatening and hurting, and stealing from me. I am trying to be more positive. As you say, I want to be on the arrow and become a better me. How do I do that and become unstuck? Where do I go now, where do I fit in, and How to achieve my excellence! Currently, I work with children and I encourage them to be all they can be, but I do not know why I am so stuck, myself.

Some of the things you are saying are dangerous and irresponsible. Do you understand that anyone out there could be listening to you? What if I were the type of person to say "she's so right, I should just put All of this pain in my rearview. Forget the grandchildren I don't have or the potential that is lost not only by the death of my own daughter but a generation of daughters and sons that are dying every day because of this. Ok, Miss Scarlet. Fiddly dee tomorrows another day. I should think about it then. What if I'm not sure that there is another tomorrow worth having. Just a bump? There are some things you don't just get over and some people that will now feel the guilt of their child's death along with the inadequacy of not dealing with it using the "over the bump" method.

What she is saying sounds similar to the Christian idea of repentance. Turn around and engage the truth. You will become just like what you aim for. It is a self-evident truth in this life. The word responsibility comes to mind.

I understand and agree that sometimes when we get stuck in a problem for too long, it's better to drop it, or step back and start walking to a different direction. This is easy when we are singles and are the only rulers for our lives. But what if the problem has something to do with your relationship that you treasure very much? I feel really stuck with some problems in my relationship for months and am slowly losing myself. I could totally imagine myself getting back on track with life and move on being more whole once (or if) I step out of it. For me that is the easy way. But I value this relationship and the person so much that I dont want to choose the easy way. What are the alternatives to make a big change/turn in this situation without ending the relationship?

What happens when the thing you are stuck with is an abusive family member you have no other choice but to rely on because you are trying to restart your financially crippled life?

I must ask….moving forward toward what?? Our goals or our Graves?
If we're all gonna die one day, then why are we so unprepared for it?

I've done what she says and it works. Problem: narc ex moves in over the road and bombards me with abuse. Solution: move, block, create new life with plenty of self care. Result: happier than I have ever been!

For our conditions and circumstances to change, WE have to change, most people waste their entire lives trying to change exterior things, this is futility!

I was stuck…until I heard this. I'll need to hear this more times and also to make a plan of action to move forward; away from my 'autopilot' mentality and into a conscientious step-by-step direction…with God as my Pilot. This will help in my finances too.

great speaker, interesnting talk. but i feel it only covers half of reality. sure, you should take control of your life, focus on yourself and improve, change whenever necessary until goals are achieved. do this and everything will go well. But the thing is you dont control all of your life. Some people, dispite their effort dont reach the goal, or finish second, or last( we may get along but are competing with each other almost everytime in our lifes) .Also, understanding: everytime i see someone enlightned i feel that there is something missing. does the best shrink in the world know what it means to go hungry?

So true! Being honest to oneself is the hardest bridge to be crossed.. But so possible! Thank you so much for this talk!

this fine talk stood HEAD and Shoulders ABOVE an hour of videos I've watched this afternoon. It just all made such solid and influential sense in my confused "brick wall" thinking and was just so inspirational and motivational. All Kudos with Much Gratitude to Dr Lani Nelson Zlupko and I'll most certainly be seeking out more talks from this fabulous Lady !

Great message with great presentation. // One image stuck with me: little children learning to tie their shoes. We forget that we have all gone through that. The image is so beautiful: a little mind guiding little hands to master a task that at first seems complicated, if not impossible. But at some point it happens — the look on a child's face when this trick is mastered is priceless.

What if your problem is daily life? I am so stuck in a routine of hard soul crushing work than when i am off i have no time or energy to do the things i love and enjoy. I am BEYOND burnt out but i can't up and quit my job I have bills to pay. There are other things i would love to peruse out side of my job maybe i could develop into my main source of income but i just dont have the drive anymore. I have NO idea where to begin.

Chronic uniqueness is a red flag.. everything is manageable if I steer clear of embracing the temptation of entertaining my chronic uniqueness.. I love also what was said about not putting power in other people’s hands.. good stuff!! 🙌🏼

Then Keith goes to his work meeting and gets flattened because Managers dont appreciate it when quiet hard working people they dont have to give promotions to suddenly decide they’d like to have one. Because … basic office politics.

This is a great and very helpful talk! The way she explains and all are very clear, informative, and VERY PRACTICAL! 😄


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