October 15, 2008 by Kevin Ngo
“The word “crisis” is from the Greek, meaning “a moment to decide.” The recurrent moments of crisis and decision when understood, are growth junctures, points of initiation which mark a release from one state of being and a growth into the next.”
~Jill Purce ~
In life, you will constantly be facing challenges, times when it’s tough to feel confident about what will happen in the future. Times like these will have different degrees of intensity and duration. The greater the degree and the longer the duration, the greater the fear and sense of uncertainty will be.
As many of you know, the economy seems to be in a downward spiral right now. Today alone, the Dow dropped 733 pts, the second largest pt drop in its history. Trillions of dollars are being wiped out in a matter of days. People’s retirement funds are being cut in double digit percentages. Many are facing job losses in a time when they need income the most. In times like these, it’s a real challenge to have any optimism and confidence that things are going to be better in the near future.
I read an article where a financial expert stated if he went all in with his money today, he’ll be better off six months from today since markets will always rebound, but added he will have many restless nights and will be constantly wondering “what if this time it’s different?”
It’s sometimes difficult to stay positive and motivated to work on your goals especially when all around you there’s people so pessimistic about, well, everything in general. People are cutting back on everything. Conversations around the dinner table and water cooler are increasingly about the state of the economy.
Ok, enough negative talk. If you notice, you have some people reacting negatively while others are acting positively. Here’s what makes the difference. You get what you focus on. You can either think about how bad you have it and feel like a victim, or you can use these challenges as a reason to step up and grow from them.
Yes, the facts say the economy is tanking and things look like it will get worse. The reality however, really depends on how you look at it and react to this situation. Like any challenge in life, it’s not what actually happens that will determine the outcome, it’s what you decide to do about it.
Let’s put the economy aside for now, I really just brought it up as an example. What I really want to talk about is how we decide to face our challenges. Life challenges, setbacks, obstacles, walls… however you want to call it, will ALWAYS be a part of your life. Just got over a difficult challenge? Guess what? There’s more headed your way.
You may be thinking “geez, this guy is really negative, I thought this site was suppose to help motivate me”. Don’t worry, I’m getting there. Fact is, challenges are made to make us grow. Without challenges, we as humans won’t evolve and grow very much. Think back at some of the challenges you’ve faced in your life that you’ve managed to overcome. What did you learn from those setbacks? Are you a stronger, smarter, more experienced, more understanding than you were before?
The point is no matter what life throws at us, we can use that to grow, to become better. I remember growing up, I loved playing video games. It was one of my hobbies that I probably spent a little too much time on. I was there when Super Mario Brothers first came out for the original Nintendo system.
Thinking back, the games I enjoyed most where the ones where I had a hard time beating. For example, Mike Tyson Punch Out. I remember getting knocked down by Tyson so many times that my friends and I ended just trying to see who can last the longest. After many tries, I ended up finally beating the game and boy was it a thrill. After being able to defeat the “last boss” playing the game over again (by the way, I used the code to jump straight to Tyson 007-373-5963), defeating everyone else suddenly became so much easier.
If you’re too young or just never played this game, I’ll relate it to sports. If you’ve played any sports long enough to become decent at it, you will know that you improved the most when you played against people who were able to defeat you easily. You don’t improve much playing someone you’re 10 times better than. If you play tennis, and you got to play against Roger Federer or Nadal every day, do you think you’d improve a bit? Oh yeah, you bet.
The greater the challenge, the more you will benefit from it. Invite challenges in your life. Embrace it. They are created to make you stronger. If you’ve ever lifted weights, you know that to grow bigger muscles, you must demand them to grow. Expand by demand. You must push against great forces to jolt your muscles, to stretch them to their limits, to force them against their will to the point where they have no choice but to grow.
So how can you actually take advantage of challenges instead of becoming victims of circumstances? Educate yourself. For every problem, there is a solution. First, be aware of what area of your life you are having the setback in. Financial? Health? Relationships? Career? Once you identify that, write down the challenge so you can clearly see it. From there, figure out possible solutions, develop a plan and excute. Find people who can help you, people who’ve been through similar challenges. They can help you put things into perspective as well as provide inspiration.
Let’s use an example. I’m sure most of you reading this have been through a rough breakup. At the time when it happened, it probably felt like your world was ending. You probably felt like this pain will never go away. But it did. That challenge passed. I’m sure if you have a friend that is going through the exact same thing right now, you’d be confident that it’s not the end of the world for them either and this too shall pass. You will probably be able to provide guidance to help your friend through this difficult challenge. I’m sure you can even write down a general plan on how to get through the crisis as painless as possible.
I wish I can provide you with an exact step by step plan on what to do during any challenge you may face, but I can’t. Everyone’s situation is a bit different. You can have 10 people with financial challenges and they can all require different solutions. You will have to figure out the “how to” on your own. It might seem daunting, but don’t give up. If you keep at it, constantly taking action, notice what’s working and what’s not working, changing your approach when it’s not working, and speeding things up by finding someone who’ve been through the same challenges, you will eventually overcome your obstacle. How you decide to react when things get tough will say a lot about your character.
Going back to the economy… Times are tough right now but there are people who are searching and are finding great opportunities. There are also people who are in fear and are too paralyzed to take any action. All they can do is find someone to blame. What are you currently doing? Your decisions on how you will deal with current challenges will determine what your future challenges will be. And remember this: Challenges will always create opportunities, but you can only find them when you start to see challenges as opportunities.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge…”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.~
Until next time…
Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.
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