I lost my job. Well, two jobs. My health took a nosedive into a deep, dark depression that sucked the life out of me for six months. I lost my home and put all I owned into storage, only to have it all stolen. My worldly possessions were gone for good, save for a small suitcase and the clothes on my back. My car broke down, with no money to fix it. I moved into a cheap hotel and rode the bus to the county building to apply for food stamps. I began drinking again after years of sobriety.
It all sounds so terrible. It was. The light at the end of the tunnel appeared to be an oncoming train. Today I couldn’t be more grateful for it. All of it. I got to start a new life of health, happiness and productivity, apply the “Progress Principle” of taking small, incremental steps back to life. Sure, I wanted to give up. I actually thought the course of the next 20 years of my life would be working on the gas dock at Lake Powell, thinking that this is all the stress I could handle and all the money I deserved to make.
Here are a handful of principles I learned along the way that gradually restored to an amazing life that at one time I thought I would never experience.
Complaining Will Get You Right Where You Are Now
We all complain. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand complaining is not the way out of whatever situation you find yourself in, and complaining too much just cements you in place. No matter how dire the situation there is always a choice to wallow in it or fight back. I didn’t say you had to accept the situation. I hated the situation I was in. Ashamed and did not want anyone to know about it.
Life Isn’t Fair And It Isn’t Supposed To Be
How many times have you heard, or uttered yourself, “That’s just not fair!” Well, let me challenge the notion of fairness. My mother’s favorite saying was “life isn’t fair!” Does fairness challenge you to be creative, to evolve and grow, to reinvent yourself? Is fair always a matter of your perspective, or should everyone’s view of fair result in the same outcome? My plight wasn’t fair, far from it. But I kept fighting.
Giving Up Is Always An Option
I’m not really sure why, but I didn’t give up. When things get really tough, it’s easy to lose sight of how important the simple conscious choice of not giving up really is. Saying it’s not an option is simply untrue. Many people would give up in the same set of circumstances. Heck, that’s why I’m running a business and they aren’t.
The Greater The Struggle, The Greater The Opportunity To Change
The core curriculum of life is easy to swallow, but I would never have chosen the electives that taught me the most about pain, growth and change. I was not a victim. The bulk of the stuff that landed me in a deep hole was my own doing. There was a way out. It felt really good to acknowledge that I am a Survivor. I don’t quit.
After winning his fifth Super Bowl, Tom Brady was asked how he was able to lead his team to an improbable victory, to which he said, “that is why you play until the end.”
Take it from me. I made it. You can, too.