Time and again we have heard that once a person hits rock bottom, they do not have anywhere to go but up and that’s been shown to be true through a new study by researchers at University of Notre Dame.
The study published in Academy of Management Review once a person bottoms out, they are feed from the misconception that problems can be fixed and this effective frees them from other constraints and negative emotions thereby providing them the much needed conditions required for a solution to get out of the situation.
Individuals who eventually hit rock bottom come to realize their identity has been lost, and that realization can lead to one of two paths: toward recovery or toward dysfunction. ‘Identity play’ provides a safe environment to escape the situation and try new things, discarding bad ideas or finding and refining a new identity and returning stronger than before.
Play provides an opportunity to both withdraw from the mental anguish and to be creative in generating alternative new work identities and then trying them out to see how they feel without having to commit to them, which can be fun.
Once the individual finds a potential identity that feels right, they then begin to refine the job to make sure it’s a good fit for both their needs and the reality of the situation. Without hitting rock bottom, the individual would not have been freed from the past to enable them to creatively explore different alternatives for the future.
The less desirable path involves using fantasy as a means of escape and can include alcohol and drug use. Along this less desirable path the person will oscillate between no emotion and severe negative emotion while actually making no progress towards building a new identity and working to find a viable solution for the problems.