It’s a little over 14 years since I was declared blind. In that time many people have asked me how I coped when it happened, and how I continue to cope as a blind person living in a predominantly sighted world.
Looking back over the years I can’t recall much of what I was thinking at the time, but I do recall feeling overwhelmed and confused because I didn’t even know how to start building the skills and knowledge I knew I would need in my new life – or where to turn to find that information.
A speaking colleague, Aletta Rochat, said recently in a workshop (and yes, I’m paraphrasing) that feeling overwhelmed is not a sign that we do not know what to do, it is rather a sign that we do not know what to do next.
I think that can be adapted to be a useful strategy when you are facing a challenge – you don’t need to find a solution to the entire problem… you simply need to figure out what you need to do next – and take it one step at a time.
Remember the old adage of how you eat an elephant? You do so one spoon at a time. Well, I believe that overcoming challenges is a bit like that.
So that’s the approach I took to overcoming the challenge of learning to live without sight– I didn’t try to figure out my entire life, what I was going to do, how I was going to do it, how I was going to solve the day-to-day problems that arose. Rather, I sat down and tried to figure out what my first steps needed to be… and just focussed on taking those very first steps.
Next time you’re facing a challenge and feeling overwhelmed by it, remember that you don’t need to figure out what to do… it’s that you need to figure out what to do next… and take it one step at a time!