Reality Check: OPAAT

One Person At A Time: OPAAT. Haven’t seen that acronym before? No surprise; I made it up—with a purpose! It reminds me of what I am able to do.

News, opinions, and commentaries often point out systemic problems—big wrongs (or perceived wrongs). Problems are everywhere!

It’s easy to forget that we can choose our perspective. We can choose to be frustrated. Or, we can take a choice theory perspective and work on what’s within our control.

For distress about systemic problems—poverty, education issues, mental health issues, opportunity issues—the suggestion I can offer is OPAAT: help through “one person at a time.”

In some cases, problems are mitigated if we can find ways to satisfy our basic needs. According to choice theory, those needs are love, power, freedom, fun, and security.

For example, one way out of poverty is through a great job. Great jobs can mean great pay; that goes a long way toward satisfying our need for survival.

The benefits of a great job don’t stop there, though. Work can satisfy our need for power and esteem by providing an opportunity to use our skills and be recognized for accomplishments.

In some workplaces, we can also satisfy our need for love and belonging through friendships and shared experiences with coworkers. Many jobs provide an opportunity to learn and develop, satisfying our need for fun. Even our need for freedom can be satisfied through work, as it’s easier to feel free when you have some money!

Obviously, I view good work as having many benefits. I also know there are people who are unemployed or underemployed and who can’t see any way out of that situation.

Do you feel that you have no idea how to find meaningful work? Perhaps you think that you’ve never been good at school work, so you’ll never get a great job.

For some, the barrier to making a change is not having information. Perhaps you are prepared to take a chance, to do the work, but just don’t know how to start.

If that’s you, you may think that discouragement is your only choice. It’s not!

There are organizations that can help. There are people who want to help—one person at a time. There are folks who will help you develop skills and become more employable, who can help you learn even if you’ve never been “good” at schoolwork, and who will encourage and support you as you work to change your situation.

Similarly, if you want to try helping one person at a time, opportunities to volunteer exist. You can make a difference in someone’s life (and in your own) by stepping up and sharing your skills.

In “A Set of Directions for Putting and Keeping Yourself Together” Dr. Bob Wubbolding says, “It is within your power to feel better.”

The choice of whether to take Wubbolding’s statement seriously or not is yours. You have the choice to look objectively at where you are right now and ask, “What can I do to feel better? To be happier? To be more satisfied? To get more love/power/freedom/fun/security in my life?

Is it time to make a change?

This entry was posted in Making a Change and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.