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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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How to Pass the Human Test and Quickly Unlock Next

There are times when we aren’t at our best. Our energy is low. We feel mopey. Our motivation is zero. When that happens, it’s hard to move forward, let alone figuring out our next step. Insight for deciding what’s next comes from the most surprising places. My inspiration came a while ago when I was visiting my colleague’s blog.

I left a comment on her blog…or at least I tried to leave a comment. Before accepting my comment, the blog requested that I first complete an action to verify that I wasn’t a spammer or robot. It wanted me to complete a simple mathematical equation or identify specific objects within a group. Dutifully, I accepted the challenge. To my great surprise, a pop-up screen appeared with a message saying,

“You did not pass a human test. Please try again.”

I burst out laughing and accepted the challenge. This was one discerning anti-spam filter. It took me several attempts to succeed. I finally passed. Phew!

So how does this relate to my point? There are times when we aren’t up to passing the “human test.” We feel less than human. So what do we do when that happens? Consider these simple strategies when next eludes you:


Find the humor. In most situations, humor is there if we let ourselves embrace it. It’s OK to laugh at yourself and not take everything so seriously.  I delighted in the humor of the blog’s security message. It helped me move forward rather than get stuck in non-doing behavior.


Keep on trying. It took me more than one attempt to leave my comment. I could have given up when it didn’t work on the first try. Instead, I didn’t let one failed attempt stop me from pursuing a next step. Finding next often takes less effort than you think it will.  Don’t be discouraged.


Accept acknowledgment.  As humans we need to feel acknowledged and that we matter. It wasn’t affirming when the blog told me I wasn’t human. However, when it finally did acknowledge who I was, it felt great (as in doing the happy dance!) Acknowledgement is often bestowed on us, yet we don't accept it. Instead we make excuses about why we aren’t deserving of that message. You are deserving. Feel the power of that positive reinforcement. Let it nudge you to next instead of keeping you stuck in negativity.


Find a human. If I hadn’t been able to get past the spam filter, I would have connected with my fellow blogger to get help. Remember that you have people you can reach out to for tossing around ideas for next, for cheering you on when you’re at a low point or for helping you to get unstuck. You’re not alone.


I’m assuming that just by reading this, you have passed the human test. I’d love to hear what resonates with you? How do you approach next, especially when you've experience a challenge? Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (15)

This is great, Linda. I can totally relate to not feeling 'human'. If i'm feeling that down and out I will usually take my dogs for a walk. I have a tendency to become too serious at times and my furry friends will always bring me back to normalcy. They are always finding something interesting to do or play with. Taking them for a walk let's me reconnect with nature and they are always smiling, wagging their tails. I can not help but feel happy and lighter - more human after sometime outside with my 4 legged pals.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

I've had that same experience. I know I am typing the right answer, but I get rejected as a robot. I like your conversation, because sometimes that little hurdle is enough to discourage me. Tenacity is a sparkling asset, but requires cultivation. One thing that sometimes works is to step back for a moment, focus on something else, and then revisit the challenge when I'm feeling refreshed. Frustration kills my motivation, but I can reclaim my mojo if I let the "steam" out and refocus.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I can relate to the "next" when frustration over a situation starts to make me unhappy i think of a commercial that is on tv right now, two young women are going into to pitch their idea, and as they ride the elevator they are giving themselves a pep talk about how great their ideas is and how great they are. It's very powerful and i have used the mantra a couple of times lately to see the positive in the situation instead of the negative.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

@Diane- What a wonderful way to lift your spirits...taking your pals for a walk while reconnecting with nature. I have to admit that I miss having a dog. I remember fondly the days of walking Norton in the woods. He was so exuberant. His joy was catching.

@Seana- It's nice to meet someone else that didn't pass the "human test." What a kooky thing! You bring up a good point that sometimes it's those little things and "hurdles" that can discourage us. Your suggestion of stepping back just for a moment to regroup or "refresh" makes so much sense. Breathe deeply then try again.

@Jill- That sounds like a great commercial. I'm curious...what is the ad for? Adopting a positive mantra to help us navigate those frustrating situations...or situations that make us feel bad about ourselves is a great way to lift ourselves up. Have you ever tried the power pose? It's a physical stance (think Wonder Woman) that can boost our confidence and flood us with positivity.

March 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This post is wonderful, Linda, that I busted out laughing. I find that laughing at situations, not so much laughing at myself, helps me get passed the sadness or frustration. I have to remind myself that I don't need to be so serious all the time. It's OK to laugh and take it easy.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

This is why I try not to log into my WordPress account after 10pm. It's very easy for me to make a simple math error when I'm tired! Your piece got me thinking as to why WordPress asks us to solve a simple math equation to enter our own sites when I've got to believe that a majority of WordPress users/bloggers/website owners are visual people who enjoy writing. I'd prefer a Captcha question like: Who was a famous painter? a) Santa Claus b) Picasso c) The Jolly Green Giant. As always, your posts get me thinking!

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

I'm pretty sure that, in this situation, I would have neither tried again nor reached out to the blogger, but as you often do, you have inspired me to focus on relationships rather than tasks and to not always been in such a hurry to get to the next thing.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Sabrina- While there's certainly plenty in life to be serious about, there are also so many opportunities for joy, laughter, and lightness. I'm glad that you found a moment here to partake and join in having a good laugh.

@Stacey- You cracked me up with your Captcha question suggestion. Thank you for that. The answer is Picasso, right? :) You bring up an interesting point here about doing things when we aren't at our best. Right there is an indicator that stepping back or maybe some sleep is needed.

@Janet- I am always so appreciative when people leave comments on my blog, express their views and add their insights. So if I try to leave a comment and have a challenge, I like to let the blogger know so that they can work out the kinks. Of course in this particular case, it was me, not the blog. I had to work out my own kinks. :) You need to give yourself more credit, Janet. You are an excellent relationship builder and people connector. Look at the Bloggers Community and the POBC that you created, not to mention how you then promote the bloggers and add to their conversations. You're a star in my book!

March 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Linda Samuels the Ad for Secret deodorant, i shared it to my facebook page.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

This is hilarious! I love that you took an everyday experience that may otherwise have been brushed off and turned it into a great lesson (and blog post!)

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Weigensberg

@Jill- I checked out the "Secret" ad series. They are awesome! Thank you for sharing them. Great messages for encouraging strong, confident women.

@Allison- So glad you enjoyed the humor. I'm glad you liked the melding of an "everyday experience" with lessons learned. I enjoy making connections between what I see, read, experience and write. Always on the lookout. :)

March 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

The title of this post intrigued me! I've never come across the "human test" before, but I appreciate your skills for passing it! When you spoke at the NERCPO conference last year, I remember you saying how important outdoor time is or as you put it, "green breaks." And being outside definitely helps me feel more human!

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Soboleski

@Sarah- Glad the post title made you stop by. Thank you for being here. I haven't experienced the "human test" since the time I described. Maybe they've discontinued it? And yes! I LOVE my "green breaks!" The weather has been quite odd lately with days that are 70 degrees followed by others that are 20. I tend to stay inside more when it's cold, so I've been missing being outside. But when I do go out to look, smell, feel, and hear, it reaches me deep in my core...brings out the joy of being human for me. Looks like we have some more winter weather coming our way tonight. Enjoy the snow...and then enjoy it too as it melts away to bring spring.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great question and LOVE the example [sorry it was so frustrating! And yes, I can picture you laughing about it!]

My "what to do about" strategies for Zero motivation [well, I rarely run out, but LOW motivation and energy - yes]: [1] I have an extra, tabletop light on my desk so I can find extra light. New England winters are long. [2] Am I using all my daily rituals and routines? They stabilize the normal stuff so it frees up my mind for creative thinking and doing. [3] Change scenery. Find people around me. I just wrote about this on a Pulse blog. It's really hard when you're a solo practitioner to be in your home office alone too often. Even with my dog. :)

March 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSue West

@Sue- Thanks so much. I appreciate your positivity comment especially since you're such a good question-asker and appreciator. You've added some great strategies for boosting motivation and energy. Changing scenery is a biggie for me. That works consistently. When we get stuck, our physical environment is often a contributing factor, so getting out somewhere else...anywhere else, can be huge for re-energizing.

March 24, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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