Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When life takes a turn for the worse.

Sometimes life takes a turn for the worse and it may be the reflection of what happens around us, the result of extraordinary events that have alienated us from the direction we had planned and future we had dreamt. They are natural disasters, wars, global crises, accidents or some uncontrollable event that befalls us.
But life can also go wrong when we realize that we have made a series of bad choices: when we’ve left a safe job before we got another one, when we’ve signed a loan we can’t possibly pay back, when we’ve plunged into some crazy addiction, when we’ve spent more than we could afford...
And then one day, suddenly, that which we thought was safe, has changed, it has transformed. And we have to start over: change the car, move house, change jobs, move to another country, or move to another continent. Change has become essential because life took a turn for the worse and we have to reinvent the future. We have to start from scratch without anything, in debt, tired, exhausted.
But we must move on and in order to change there are three basic attitudes we must adopt: accountability, adaptability and proactivity. This is the tripod of beginnings and successes.
Accountability is the acknowledgment that we are masters of our lives and we share in what is happening. Except for some kind of catastrophe that we could not avoid, we are always responsible for the decisions that led us to the situation we are in. It was not the others, it was us who made the choices, who decided, accepted, agreed, and who were silent. It is easier to believe that it’s the others’ fault - the neighbor’s, the boss’, the friend’s, the family’s, the companion’s - but it’s not true: the blame for the situation we are in is ours. And it all happened along our path, in an accumulation of small choices, small decisions that seemed not to matter, but when they were combined, acquired a brutal force that devastated our lives.
Adaptation is the second attitude: being able to live in the present, overcoming the difficulties - one day at a time. Living with what we have, as we can, but looking to the future instead of lamenting the lost life and stay stuck in the past. Adaptation was what ensured the evolution of species and is a stepping stone to success. Adaptation is making the best of situations.
Proactivity, the third approach is the ability to "chase": to get on your feet, wipe the tears, stop whining and get out there. It is investing in the work, overcoming difficulties, being dynamic, making things happen and pursuing change. It is the opposite of accommodating. It's always to be one step ahead, anticipating problems.
Sometimes people wonder about the lives of others, thinking that success was a matter of luck; it was something that happened in one day. This is not true: successful people do not have luck; they have the foresight to recognize opportunities and invest their energies at work to transform the opportunities into successes, and achieve their goals - whatever they may be (because success is relative and depends on the eye of the beholder).
Successful people do not stay on the couch waiting for the depression to be over, they are "go-getters" - they fight and they sweat. Successful people do not blame others for their problems, mistakes and failures; they take responsibility and learn from them. Successful people do not criticize others or speak badly of other people's lives; they speak of ideas and they plan tomorrow. Successful people do not whine nor keep resentments, they give thanks for what they have and they forgive others. Successful people do not leer at other people’s possessions nor do they envy what others have - they do not have time for that because they are too busy building their future. Successful people do not want others to be unhappy or unsuccessful, they are generous and want everyone to be happy and have success in their lives. Successful people know that the universe is a mirror: it gives your essence back to you.
Yes, when life takes a turn for the worse we need to change. But first we need to change inside.

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