No one under the sun, good or bad person, wealthy or poor, is spared life’s greatest challenges, obstacles and setbacks. These are certainly guaranteed. The only question is timing, magnitude and form of the challenges. People lose jobs, loved ones pass on, others get disabled in horrific accidents. Some people have been attacked, left for dead and survived. The list is endless. Coping mechanisms differ from person to person and for most of us, the response is fight or flight?
Some of the common responses are to:
- Wallow in self-pity
- Blame the universe
- Ask why me Lord
Those who progress beyond their miseries permit themselves to turn challenges into opportunities. They see light even if the sky is no longer blue.
Think for a moment and ask yourself; what gift is my setback giving me? If you permit yourself to think about it, you will start to see opportunities unfolding:
Redefine your purpose
Victor Frankl detected while in the Nazi concentration camps that his life purpose was bigger than the challenges facing him. He started visualising under those horrendous conditions, teaching his students the strength of the human spirit. Your challenges are a tip of the ice bag compared to what many such leaders have endured. Yours might be a wakeup call that it’s not too late to live your purpose and lead the life that you were truly meant to live. Ask yourself meaningful and tough questions about your life. Are you fulfilled or surviving? Are you living the life that God intended for you to live? What is missing in your life and why?
Discover your strength
Life can be daunting and you might go through desperate situations where you do not see hope. Most people discovered their resilience when they were faced with challenges. They stood up and struggled their way through life. They had to firstly stand up for themselves and then for their loved ones. When I asked my own mother how she had survived so many years of being sick. She said that whenever she was sick, she would think about us, her family. She did not want to see us struggle through life without her. Her family gave her the reason to be strong and it was through her sickness that she realised how resilient she was. Your challenge can bring perseverance, tenacity and endurance that you never thought you had.
‘My strength did not come from lifting weights. My strength came from lifting myself up when I was knocked down”- Bob Moore
Ignite new passion
A former colleague was made redundant from work and while others where blaming the company, he saw the opportunity to pursue his passion. He always had a burning desire to bake which is something he did for the fun of it. Subsequent to losing his job, he turned his hobby into a passion. He has opened his own small bakery and finds fulfilment in it even though the amount of money he makes is less than what he used to earn as an employee. He is content and happy for having reclaimed his life by doing what is meaningful to him. His passion rubs positively on other areas of his life because he has control over his time and money than before. Had he decided to focus on the bleak future that unemployment would bring, he would not have ignited his passion.
Form new networks
Sometimes, people have landed in jail due to the bad company they kept. Some have engaged in destructive behaviours to please their friends. After they have lost many years that could have been used productively, they awoke to the reality that the relationships they kept did not serve their purpose. They started to see their lives from different perspectives and allowed into their circles people who support their new vision. They found themselves mentors who guided them through life’s challenges.
Make a difference to others
There are many fault lines in your life that you can use to be a blessing and a lifeline to others. Those who walked the path before are usually best positioned to teach and share their experiences with others. A friend of mine used his time in prison to plan how he can be a blessing to others. He did not spend time blaming his father for being absent in his life. Today, he runs a motivational speaking company where he uses his past experience to teach youth, especially young boys about the dangers of living life on a fast lane, needing immediate gratification through criminal proceeds. He did not brand himself a prisoner for life, instead he saw in him a teacher, a mentor, and a beacon of light to others.
Explore new environments
You might be in an area where jobs are scarce and means for survival are limited. Your place of work might have relocated, presenting an opportunity to move to another city to explore new possibilities. Those who succeed look at life beyond their current environments and challenge their emotional attachment about where they were born and bred. Moving to new or locations can mean a new perspective, making new friends and exposing your loved ones to new opportunities. Be open minded and picture the value that may come by changing your environment.
Think Big, Dream Wild & Prosper