Sooner or later everyone regardless of age, gender, position, nationality, economic status, race or religion experiences some form of adversity or trouble. It is as much a part of life as every other circumstance you will ever experience. Life is a neutral concept. It doesn’t pick on certain people and shower others with only blessings. Some people could look at others and say, “Those people are wealthy; I’ll bet they have never failed or felt despair or discouragement.” I have news for you.
No one is exempt from life’s trials and tribulations!
Life is nothing more than the ebb and flow of circumstances and conditions. Yes, some people may seem to get more than their share of bad times while others seem to get more good times or circumstances than they deserve. But be careful not to judge.
There is one underlying theme in this short book – You can’t always control what comes into your life but you can, if you choose, to always control how you respond to it or act because of it. Adversity, problems and failure, no one wants them but everyone gets them. How you choose to see them or define them will have a great deal to do with how they impact your life. If you fear failure and choose not to stretch, try, experiment or reach because of its consequences, then the fear of failure now rules your life. If you fail and learn, then you are in charge of your life and its outcomes.
I was fortunate that my parents let me fail often and hard when I was growing up. As a result I have never seen failure as final but a part of a longer life process. I learned to fail often so I could succeed sooner. One of my mentors and heroes Norman Vincent Peal always said, “Problems are good as long as you learn from them.”
No one likes the sting of discouragement or despair. I’ve been there, many times but I can tell you that there is always learning in each of life’s situations if you will only stop seeing yourself as a victim and find the lessons and learn from them.
If you are discouraged, troubled or afraid I hope you find some answers or solace in the words that follow. For the record, I wrote this booklet when I was in one of the most challenging times of my life.
Another of my mentors and heroes, Eric Butterworth always told me, “No matter what is going on or how difficult times may seem, use your pain, discouragement, loneliness and despair to get in touch with who you are, what you believe and your creative potential. Get busy.”
I’ve been fortunate that my path through life has been guided by many people who have helped me see the light instead of the darkness, the joy rather than the sorrow and the blessings and not the sadness.
I’ve been told by many of my friends that I have spent far too much time in the valleys of life rather than on the mountaintops. My answer to all of these people is simple – my time in the valleys has helped weather life storms and difficult times as well as taught me not to become arrogant when I did get to view life from the top of the mountain. But more than this they helped write with compassion, humility and courage.
I don’t know why you are reading this booklet. Maybe you are at the end of your rope. I call it – hanging by a thread. Maybe you know someone who is troubled or afraid and you want to help them through these difficult times. Regardless of where you are, in the valley, coming out of the valley or crashing and burning, remember that where you are is not the issue. It is what you are doing about it and how you feel about yourself in the process.
Don’t ever let anyone else tell you how to live your life. We all make mistakes and the people who are often good at giving advice might do themselves a favor and take some of their own counsel.
In this booklet I’m not telling you what to do. I’m only asking you to think and if in your thinking you come up with answers, solutions or inner guidance than my effort will have been worthwhile.
“If matters go badly now, they will not always be so.” Horace
By Tim Connor, CSP