By Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler

Surprising things can happen when we’re “running on empty” and close to giving up!

I was attending a week-long seminar a while back when I discovered I had only packed a tiny “travel size” tube of tooth paste that seemed empty. I had 4 more days to spend on a very remote little part of the island of Kawai, and no stores in sight. Was it time to “brush with salt?” Ugg!

Now this might seem like a very small problem, but it actually contained an important life lesson.

I took a chance and focused on rolling the tube up from end in the hopes of just one more brushing. Determination, right?

Well I got enough for that brushing. And much to my surprise little slivers of tooth paste just kept coming out day after day after day. I think I still had another little squeeze left at the end of the four days.

Now… in retrospect, I had almost given up on the tube based on a superficial “knee jerk” judgment that it was “hopeless.”

I’m sure you’ve had the same experience with a tube of toothpaste, shampoo or shaving cream. It looks like the tube is empty, but you keep folding it and squeezing – and get days of extra use from a supposedly “empty” tube.

There’s an interesting “home spun” lesson here. No heavy psychological theory is needed to see this could also apply to solving seemingly “impossible” problems. And at least one thing IS certain: The minute we give up, the problem wins!

Here’s my thoughts: Sometimes while working to find an answer to a problem, it’s easy to get frustrated if solutions are not coming forward. Enough of this and we start to feel like there’s not much left in “our tube,” and perhaps begin to view our problem-solving mission as hopeless.

But I’ve noticed over the years that my biggest personal breakthroughs have often occurred when I thought I was at the end of my “tube.” There’s an old folk saying: “When your feet hit the bottom there’s only one direction left – UP.”

The truth is, even when you think the “tube is empty,” there’s still probably something left. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve picked myself up from what seemed to be a crushing failure, only to discover that the “failure” actually suggested a far better alternative that became obvious.

There seems to almost be a magical polarity to life – with the proper attitude, setbacks and disappointments are often counter-balanced by significant leaps forward and amazing “impossible” solutions.

Next time you feel your “tube” is empty, try giving yourself a “squeeze” to maintain a positive outlook and see what happens. You may not find the exact solution you were looking for, but a positive attitude holds your mind open to recognize alternatives — and even a possible superior solution!

The author, Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler, is a renowned brain/mind researcher, and was one of the first in the world to introduce brainwave training to the corporate world. She is the co-developer of the web’s first brain gym – the

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