This is not another article about how to get through tough times. There are plenty of those out there.
Instead of giving you advice, I want to change your mindset. I want to change your emotional state. I want you to see the opportunity in front of you. Yes, a difficult time is an opportunity! And no, this is not another “be positive and focus on the good in life” type of article. This is much more powerful. Let me explain…
People often say “life is full of ups and downs”. They’re wrong. Most peoples lives are full of routine and boredom, a few good times and a few bad times.
Like most people, you cling to your routine. Yes it might feel boring at times. But it’s easy, safe and comfortable. You’re a creature of habit. Call it survival instincts or laziness. But it’s true. You value your routine and seek a sense of normalcy.
Then something goes wrong and it feels like your life was turned upside down.
It could be an unexpected life event. Like getting fired, going through a bad breakup or getting bad news form your doctor.
Or it could have been brewing for a long time. Maybe it started with you feeling off and unsatisfied. And now it’s full blown depression where you’re having a hard time getting out of bed.
Your emotions get the best of you. You start thinking of all the other difficult times in your life. And you forget all the good times. You start feeling hopeless. You feel like you’re sinking without anyone there to save you.
Well…you’re wrong! You’re just lost in your emotions. They’re clouding your judgement and screwing with your thoughts. Emotions are temporary. And while they might feel real, they aren’t. There is no logic behind them.
Lets get logical. Instead of feeling down you should get excited. Yes, excited! A difficult time is an opportunity for you to step back and get some perspective. It allows you to pause and reflect on your life. It allows you to review the choices you made in the past. It allows you to questions your beliefs. It snaps you out of your routine and away from your normal everyday life. It gives you the emotional leverage and willpower to make changes.
Routine doesn’t produce breakthroughs. It doesn’t produce change. There is no reason to change when everything is going okay.
Difficult times snap you out of your routine. They force you to make a choice. At first you might choose to feel sorry for yourself. But sooner or later you decide you’ve had enough. You start using the pain to your advantage. You leverage the negative emotions. You decide to make some changes and get on with your life. You might even experience a breakthrough.
Let’s say you lost your job. You can use the pain of losing your job to improve your career as a whole. Maybe you decide to go back to school, then graduate and land a higher-paying job. Maybe you decide you’re sick of working for someone else and start your own business. Maybe you decide to switch careers and discover a much more satisfying job.
All those changes are possible because you lost your job. If you didn’t lose your job then you’d be stuck in your routine. You wouldn’t have thought of making any career changes. And even if the thought crossed your mind you wouldn’t have had the emotional leverage to take action. This is the power of going through a difficult time. You feel pain. And this pain motivates you to make a change. It sets you on the path of experiencing a breakthrough.
So if you’re going through a difficult time right now, you should get excited. Feel the pain and use it to make changes. Use the pain to change your life for the better. Use the pain to create a brighter future.