Preparing for life’s toughest moments … this phrase itself is sufficient to send shivers down our spine but prepare … we must! We definitely cannot predict how life will turn out for each one of us but we can surely prepare for it.
Let me tell you a story … a real life one starting from around 70 years ago … A young boy, let’s call him Raja was born and brought up in a huge joint family in Southern India. Back then, large families were the norm. They were not very well-off and hence, as per the family’s convenience the eldest son who was around 12 years old was put to work in a Hotel. He wanted to study but was not encouraged to do so. A blind eye and a deaf ear were shown on hearing his pleas. To add fuel to the already burning fire, one of his relatives who owned the hotel kept taunting him “Son! You are not capable of studying!” At that tender age, it was a huge challenge for him. So, he took the first step – earning and studying simultaneously.
Working somewhere and studying in an evening college followed later. He did manage to complete his Graduation. He then started working in one of the most reputed organizations in India. Since his father had an on-and-off income which was not sufficient, he took upon the family’s responsibility and looked after them. However, only a handful of them valued it. There were a couple of bad apples in that family and the environment was spoilt by spreading negativity. The impact of family politics by a couple of members was such that he had to leave the house he had built himself to the remaining members. A bigger challenge was staring at him in the eye. He still did not give up! He overcame that challenge, built another house and made his family life very stable. He did have his life partner’s support and good wishes of the few remaining members of his family all along.
Things went on well for a few years and then yet another challenge cropped up in the form of severe Arthritis at quite a young age. Still, he did not give up. He only focused on how to manage his health better and still make the most out of life, which he did.
Raja faced several other struggles all along the way but did not give up. To add icing to his cake of success, he not only managed his own life but also helped several others who needed guidance – monetary and life guidance too. This story about Raja happens to be one of my favourite success stories I have come across in my life as he is a living example of how to face challenges in life bravely. You will not find this story in Google Search as it is about someone whom I have known personally 🙂
Each of us do go through a roller-coaster ride in our own lives. Yet, at times we do tend to break down and ask ourselves “Why me?” The best answer would be – to bring out a stronger you and to take you closer to the real you!
Life can be very tricky at times and also painful. However, living life truly is nothing but wading through each challenge and emerging stronger than ever before. How can you prepare to face the tough challenges ahead? It’s by trying to understand life itself from up close.
Your Life Clock Is Unique
All of us do follow a similar pattern – complete studies by a certain age, start working soon after that, get settled in our personal lives and so on. It is fine but is the pattern exactly the same for everyone? No … The clock which we blindly follow, the clock which society sets for us and our life clock are all different.
Your studies might be smooth but you may be facing a challenge in your job. Your job may be smooth but you may be facing a challenge in your personal life. Your personal life may be smooth but you may be a victim of office politics. Everything else might be smooth but you might be facing a health issue. Things may be smooth in your own family but someone close to you might be facing a tough situation. This goes on and on …
The key here is to understand your life clock and align with it accordingly. Understand your own life to know where you are and where you need to go. What are your shortcomings and what is it that you need to do to overcome them? Most importantly, have patience! By doing so, you will be able to let go of unnecessary comparison with others and also other situations. A huge amount of stress does get reduced and you will be able to focus on your own challenges and hence be ready to face it. Also, letting go of unwanted sources of stress gives you that extra boost of energy to face life ahead.
Failure Is A State Of Mind
You must have surely come across this phrase way too often. You will see it splashed across motivational books, speeches, blogs and what not? This is definitely not a new concept but an age-old one. The only thing which is not happening way too often is it’s implementation in our own lives.
It is not enough if we just know it – we need to inculcate it in our own lives. Just knowing it and not practicing is the same as having an amazing book in hand and not reading it. What’s the use?
The truth is that it’s okay and infact essential to fail at times. However, that does not brand you as a failure. When you fail and learn from it, you become a learner and not a failure.
When you understand the role of failure in shaping lives, you will automatically prepare yourself to take up tougher challenges ahead.
However, one important point which you need to etch in your mind is not to give up! Molten glass when given a beautiful shape before cooling results in a beautiful piece of glass like a vase. However, if it is cooled down before it attains a beautiful shape, it will result in something ugly and useless. The same scenario occurs when you choose to give up. You will reach a point where you cannot shape your life into something beautiful going forward.
This beautiful video showcases the journey from a state of failure to immense success of some of the greatest achievers. Look around you too. You are bound to find a lot of success stories.
Thrive, Don’t Just Survive
I was a high-jumper during my school days. During the initial days, the bar was kept at a low level and I was made to jump over it. Every time I succeeded, the bar was raised higher. It became more challenging. What I did observe was this – when I tuned my mind saying that I was able to jump 10 units higher than the height at which the bar was placed, I managed to jump easily. On the other hand, when I tuned my mind to just about manage the leap, I failed several times. During those days, I had not understood the importance of thriving rather than just surviving. I was just focusing on excelling in the sport.
However now, it’s more clear than ever before that we need to be several steps ahead of our goal if we want to succeed. Throw yourself a tougher challenge than life chooses to throw at you. Then, the actual challenge will seem relatively of lesser magnitude and you will be able to manage it quite easily.
· Scared of speaking in public? Push yourself to participate in competitions with experienced speakers.
· Scared of job interviews? Push yourself to attend four of them instead of one.
· Having that “I had a rural upbringing. So, I am not very comfortable with the language” mindset? Push yourself to give a really important business presentation.
· Scared of death? Yes … many do have this fear … Push yourself to enjoy and value each moment. Life is meant to be lived and not for dying each moment out of fear.
· Have inbuilt fears? Please put an expiry date to your fears and go ahead with whatever you actually do fear. You will eventually get to see what lies on the other side of fear.
Inculcate the above steps in your own life. “Will I be able to negate any sort of challenge?” You might ask … My answer would be “No …” You will eventually have to face the challenge. However, the ease with which you will overcome them will definitely differ from how you used to do so earlier. The challenges which did seem humongous before will tend to shrink in front of your self-confidence and will-power which would have grown exponentially bigger than the existing challenge itself!
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Authored by Sushma Krishnan,
Co-Founder, High Performance Alchemy