Have you ever considered how your life struggles can actually help you?
And no, I’m not necessarily just considering the relatively cliché concept that “everything happens for a reason,” nor do I wish to spout the typical “Look at the bright side” piece of advice. I want to show you how you can actually turn your struggles into your success.
Let me tell you a story. I first met my massage therapist Jose about a year ago. He has given me more than just massages: his personal story is an inspiring one of triumph and victory …
A few years ago, when Jose was living here with his girlfriend as a foreign exchange student, he was hit with a stray bullet during a drug deal gone bad. Unfortunately, he was left blind in both eyes. Imagine that: your eyesight could be completely taken from you in a split second.
At the time of this accident, Jose was studying English to help him in his career in International Business, a plan that was foiled by the accident. He is now a massage therapist, as you know, but is not disappointed by his career. In fact, his current motto is this: “My hands have taken on what my eyes have lost.”
Seeing him reminds me of what humans are capable of. We hear other stories like this on the news and in books. People that overcame their struggles to live amazing lives. These people are not superheroes. They don’t have magical powers. They are people, just like you or me, who made a choice to use their struggles to do something great with their life and to inspire others. They made a choice not to have their situation hold them back.
When I was at a crossroads, struggling with the question of what to do with my life next, I recall reading a great kernel of wisdom: part of identifying your life purpose is to identify your struggles and set backs. From there, you can then feel actually prepared to ask yourself how to utilize this information in a way to help others.
So I challenge you to ask yourself, what are some of your biggest life struggles? If you’re going through a big life struggle, asking yourself these four enlightening questions can make the difference between victor and victim.
1. What have you learned from your struggle(s)?
After the dust has settled, do a post-mortem of the situation. What happened that you could have done differently, if anything? What advice would you give to someone in a similar situation?
We all know that sometimes we fly and sometimes we make mistakes. The most important factor to consider however is what was the lesson that was learned.
2. How can you use your struggles to help you?
Each and every human is faced with struggles at some point in their life. What makes someone successful is how they overcome their obstacles and utilize them to go forward.
When you are faced with a challenge in your life, ask yourself how you can turn it around and how it can actually benefit you.
3. How are your struggles showing up for you?
As challenges show up for you, how are you reacting to them? Are you resisting them, or can you embrace them? Sometimes things show up to us at a specific time and for a specific reason and resisting it can only make it worse. Pay attention and be conscious to how you are reacting.
Consider the person that was just laid off from their job. Of course it’s devastating and shocking. But then they go on to pursue a more fulfilling career path or go back to school. Both things they didn’t think they could consider while they were holding their old “jobs”. But they were pushed into making a change through their struggle.
4. Do you want to live life the hard way, or the easy way?
We all have a choice on how we want to live our life. It may seem easy to resign yourself to the fact you have no control over what life hands you, but the truth is you have full control over where you end up and how you choose to get there.
Are you going to choose to look at your struggles as a challenge worth persevering, or as defeat? By resisting, consider that you are making things harder on yourself. If you are able to accept what has happened and identify how you can use it to help you, the journey will be much more enjoyable and fulfilling.