We’ve all heard the saying: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But what about: “if it’s broke, don’t fix it?”

Much of the accepted and underlying psychology behind this statement can be summed up with one word: Rebuilding

Rebuilding your relationships, your business, your house, your trust, your LIFE… it all sounds good in theory, especially after something has gone seriously awry and you need to start over from scratch, but the concept of rebuilding is flawed. It’s a fixation on what once was, not on what could be. It won’t do us any favours in the long run.


So, why should you never ‘rebuild’ anything, especially your life?

The traditional concept of rebuilding after a life-changing event or challenge has been around for ages. For example, you can rebuild your house after a fire. You can rebuild your business after bankruptcy. You can rebuild your vehicle when it breaks down. You can rebuild trust in a working relationship after a fallout with clients. You can rebuild your body after an injury. You can even rebuild your life, finding a new identity and purpose after a significant loss. But why is this flawed logic?

If you follow the status quo, the theory of ‘rebuilding’ is fine, but the logic behind this psychology is flawed. You shouldn’t rebuild anything… well ok; maybe your house if it burns down, BUT the chances are it won’t be the same the second time around. You will change something, even if it’s just slightly different. The layout, the color scheme, paint, flooring, cabinets, tile, even the toilets could be different… things change. The reality is, almost nothing will be exactly the same as it once was after it’s gone – not your house, your business, your relationships, your life, even your car. And why would you want it to be?

The traditional sense of the word and the accepted psychology behind rebuilding suggests that you want things to “go back to the way they were,” or you want them to be the same, to restore things. It’s a fixation on what you once had and a desire to recreate what you’ve lost. This backward-thinking approach doesn’t do us any good.


What’s the perspective shift?

BUILD, not Rebuild.


Looking ahead at what you can create, not at what you want to recreate, is a better approach. Forward thinking about what you can (and will) build is the mindset needed to overcome adversity and create the reality you desire. This is how you thrive in the wake of a disaster.

It’s not to say that you shouldn’t look back at all; remembering the good is a healthy and beneficial practice. By doing so, you can take the things you liked the most out of the old reality (those that are available to you) and incorporate them into the new one you’re building. This is the best part: You get to choose what you build.

Often times the pain, loss, struggle, stress, and disappointments reveal themselves as blessings in disguise. How you handle the adversity, the reality that you create, and the life that you build after a life-changing event is up to you.


How do you build following a challenging event?

  1. Acceptance Is Key

    Things won’t be the same, but that’s ok; you can make them even better!

  2. Let It Go

    Release any attachment to negative emotions or struggles you once had. Shift your focus to the good in your situation, finding gratitude and appreciation.

  3. Have A Vision

    Visualize the change you want to make and what you want to achieve. Stay true to that vision, it will help you stay motivated. Never give up because it’s hard or because of the time it’s going to take, the time will pass anyway.

  4. Choose Your Full Effort

    Give it all you’ve got! Trust me on this one; you’ll get out what you put in. The harder you work to build your new reality, the sooner it will become real.

  5. Keep The Good

    Keep what you like from the past, but get rid of what you don’t like. When you have the opportunity to build something new, take all the best parts of what once was, and incorporate them into the new reality.

  6. Remain Objective

    Removing yourself and your emotions from a situation can provide clarity. Imagine it was a close friend in your situation. What would you tell them to do? The chances are that’s exactly what you should do.

  7. Celebrate Your Achievements

    Along the road to achieving your vision, there may be setbacks or side steps. Remember that even a step backward is still a step forward if you never stopped working towards your vision – it’s just the next step you need to take. Trust that you can make things better. Celebrate your progress along the way.


Do you have to stick to the script?

These steps are actions that anyone can take. Some of them will take effort, others take commitment, and others take openness to new perspectives. It’s not a blueprint. You can take steps out of order; it’s just important that you start building.

Gratitude is as strong a foundation as any to start building from. With whatever challenge, adversity, or loss you’re facing, find gratitude for the good in your situation. It will take some effort, but you can do it. Gratitude is a powerful motivator. It’s incremental in maintaining a positive mental and emotional state. It helps you to keep moving forward. The foundation is gratitude, but the perspective shift is key: look forward to the life you want to create.


When you face your next challenge in life,
what will you build?

The answer to this question is up to you.


Disclaimer: It doesn’t matter if you say ‘build’ or ‘rebuild.’ What matters is the perspective shift. We can ‘rebuild’ our lives as long as we focus on moving forward. Our potential to ‘BUILD’ something fantastic is paramount once we make that choice.


More on gratitude and perspective:


Grief Happens| Mike Shaw | TEDx Stanley Park 2017

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