“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”
― Randy Pausch,
Can you be prepared for adversity?
Can anyone be ready to face life’s toughest challenges?
Will you be able to confidently say that you are prepared for just about anything that life may throw at you?
It’s easy to say “Yes” to all these questions. Just be positive and stay hopeful and God will do the rest right? Well, I wish it was that simple but when you come face to face with adversity, and I mean level five, bring-you-down-to-your-knees, cry-me-a-river kind of difficulty, everything suddenly seems bleak and dim.
Last week we were told that we are being let go by the company we work for and that we’ll only be employed for a month. This isn’t the first time I was laid off but I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t get upset. Of course I did! I have a family who depends on me so I think it’s all but natural to feel that way but unlike before, I wasn’t as angry.
When this first happened to me back in 2009 I was a bit of a mess. I was in denial and I was in a bit of a panic. I was nervous because I had two young kids back then and I was somewhat short in confidence because I was getting rejected over and over with each job interview I go to. I was thinking, what will happen to us if I don’t get a job immediately? Where will I get the money?
Well, my fear were all realized because I didn’t get a job until after two months of our release. It was tough! We fell behind on our payments and we started getting deep into debt.
So what makes this layoff different?
Obviously, I’m not as miserable as I was. Yes, I am disappointed but I’m calm and my composure is in check. It sucks but I’m taking on this adversity with a whole new attitude. I’m surprisingly fine and I’m hopeful and positive about it.
So what changed? What happened to me between 2009 and 2017?
Personal development happened and I am so happy it did. I’m gonna break it down for you so you can appreciate what it does to a person’s life.
I read more books than I ever did before
I was never into reading even after I graduated and started earning my own money. It just wasn’t my thing and to be honest, I don’t remember ever finishing an entire book unless it was required for a school project. The only book I can remember I read from cover to cover (and it took me months) was a book about the Beatles whose title I can’t even remember. I probably finished it because the subject intrigued me not to mention that they’re my favorite band of all time.
When I discovered personal development, I realized how I was missing out on a lot of things by ignoring some of the best self-help books ever written like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey or How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and perhaps the best of them all, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (which I have now read more than five times). I traded these priceless treasures for countless hours in front of the television which didn’t bring me any benefits aside from being able to relate with my friends when they talk about the latest character to die in The Walking Dead.
You’re probably wondering, how have these books prepared me for adversity?
Well, you have to be able to read them all before you can appreciate the value each of the chapters these books bring into your life. They’ll teach you a lot of things about life that you can never find anywhere else. These lessons helped me become a better person. It changed my mindset and views about life, happiness, success and failure. It was like my mind went through a reboot. It was reprogrammed to look at failure as opportunities for growth and not some painful experience designed to put us down.
I’m not saying you become a personal development junkie like me but it helps to allot at least thirty minutes to an hour of your day reading a self-help book. It is a worthy investment, I guarantee you that!
I discovered gratitude
When we went broke in 2013, I was miserable. I was looking for someone to blame other than myself and I complained a lot. I was bitter. Why did it have to happen to me? Why can’t I make more than what my contemporaries are making? Why can’t I earn the amount of money my rich friends are making?
I had so many complaints back then and by doing so, I failed to realize how lucky I was with what I have. I mean here I was, so busy getting bitter about the things I don’t have and I can’t do that I overlooked the things and the people I should be thankful for.
If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that you cannot be happy if you go through life comparing yourself to others especially now in the age of social media where people’s lives are so transparent but are they really all true? Do you really think your friend John who drives a porche doesn’t have problems? Do you really believe that your former classmate Cindy, who shows hundreds of pictures of her vacation is living a perfect life?
Run your own race my friend. Stop looking at both sides to check where the competition are because there shouldn’t even be a competition in the first place!
You’re alive, you eat thrice a day (sometimes even more), you have a loving spouse and wonderful children, what more are you complaining about? If you can spend more time counting the reasons to be thankful for than moping over the things you don’t have, I’m pretty sure no kind of adversity can ever bring your spirit down.
I’ve found a new appreciation for life
One of the things I learned about the negative things that’s happening around is that they are necessary for us to appreciate the positives. I mean think about it, will you be able to appreciate light without darkness? Will you be able to appreciate how awesome a great pizza tastes if you haven’t tasted an awful one?
I have a lot of loved ones who have already passed like my dad and my parents-in-law and apart from the pain those experiences brought, it also made me realize how precious life is and how lucky I am to still be enjoying it. We’re all on borrowed time that’s why for me, it’s imperative to always make each day count.
Yes, bad times will come. Yes, adversity strikes from time to time. Sometimes its manageable but oftentimes it isn’t but life was designed that way. Why would you waste your time feeling bad for something you cannot stop or avoid? My mindset is that I’m not gonna focus on the pain but rather with finding a solution because that’s what’s important. You need to get rid of the drama and focus on how you can get out of the trouble you got yourself into so don’t waste your time. Spend it wisely with things that are productive. Things that will make you happy.
I found my passion
I never thought I would ever go back to writing again after my high school days but life is full of surprises. Who would have thought that a big failure will pave the way for me to finally find my passion?
I never imagined myself maintaining a blog or even writing a book for that matter. Hell, I never imagined becoming a motivational speaker but I made it all happen in a span of three years. I just kept on writing about things that I think will help people improve their lives and motivate them to take action. I didn’t plan any of them and by doing them I didn’t notice that I was also making myself better.
That’s the magic of finding your passion. You do it without expecting for anything in return. You do it because you love it and you don’t get tired of it. You love it so much that you do everything to become the best at it and one day, BAM!
You’ll just realize how much better you have become as a person and your confidence is way up there!
Over to You
Life is not perfect. It has its ups and downs and the sooner you accept this fact, the more prepared you become. Adversity will come and it will come when you least expect it but with the right habits and investment on yourself, not even the nastiest type of adversity can ever bring you down. So to sum it all up, will you ever be ready for adversity? The answer is a resounding YES but it will all depend on you!
If you love this post, please leave a comment or share your stories about adversity below, How ready are you for it?
SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG and be part of the Life’s How You Live It community!