Bad things happen to everyone -- a psychologist explains how to use those moments to become better

Psychologist and “Insight” author Tasha Eurich talks about taking a major, unexpected life event and learning valuable insights from it. The following is a transcript of the video.

So an “alarm clock event,” according to my research, is something that happens in our lives that usually is a pretty big deal. Big life moments that really change our perspective not just on the world, but ourselves.

And what I found when I studied highly successful, self-aware people was that they harness those moments as opportunities for insight. They didn’t just say, “I have to get through this and I have to come out the other side.” Instead, they took time and energy to examine their behaviour, sometimes even to get feedback, if that made sense, and use it to move forward in a more self-aware and successful way.

So in my book, I talk about a woman who was rocking and rolling in her job. Everything was going great. She was working pretty hard. It was about 80 hours a week and she thought her boss appreciated her sacrifice and would continue to employ her anyway.

Now obviously that’s not what ended up happening. She very abruptly one day lost her job. This was a huge alarm clock moment for her. And at first, she started blaming everyone else. “Why did my boss not appreciate what I was doing? Why was it so hard for me to be successful in that environment?”

But eventually she turned those questions on herself and she said, “Is it possible that my behaviour might have somehow impacted what happened?” And in fact, she got feedback from her co-workers, her former co-workers. She spent time reflecting on those questions and she realised that she had been too gruff, too harsh, too aggressive in some situations.

And where a lot of people would have fallen down from that moment and maybe gone into a spiral of self-loathing, she was able to take that insight and move forward. And the great news is she found a job not too long afterwards where she was able to show her gifts and her strength and where she was able to show up in a more professional way.

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