WHY ARE THINGS SO HARD?

Today’s post is more opinion than strategy. It is a way of looking at things that I found to serve me. I invite you to take it in for consideration. It has made my life a lot less stressful at perhaps the worst times imaginable.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have been putting extra effort in at work, maybe even skipping sleep and working weekends. You show up for work one morning determined to do a good job only to find a note on your desk from the boss explaining your job has been eliminated do to downsizing. How about this lovely situation – You found that special someone. You finally have let your walls down and put every once of energy into creating the most loving and romantic relationship possible. You found out they have been doing the same exact thing… with your best friend. Maybe you have scrimped and saved to buy that new car you have been dreaming about. You even updated your insurance. Then your car is totaled by a hit and run driver, the day before your new insurance kicks in.

I think in life we have all faced situations where we have given it our all, with the best of intentions only to have life hit us on the blind side. Let me tell you from a motivational and inspirational perspective – it sucks. This can leave us scratching our heads or even laying on the floor in the fetal position searching for the answer why. It can even leave us jaded with the opinion, “Why bother to try, things will just go wrong anyway.” I recall when my car was totaled in front of my house as I was inside taking a nap things going from bad to worse. The gentleman was elderly visiting from Greece without a license. It was a cold January day in Wisconsin. I could see blood coming from his head and invited him inside to stay warm. After his son came and we exchanged information I mentioned maybe taking him to get checked out. As I waited for the insurance to get ironed out, I even sent the gent a get well card.

What was the result of my remaining cool and compassionate in the face of such a challenging situation? Well, even though we have the same insurance company it took weeks for them to settle. I ended up buying a car from a dealership down the street that sold me a lemon. After spending thousands of dollars to try and keep it running I gave in and sold it at a huge loss. Times like that can leave us angry at the world. Luckily I have learned some things to help me along my journey of life. One of them is to place motivational quotes where I can see them when needed. I happen to find this quote in the middle of all the car chaos.

Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.

I thought of some of the people I have known who have faced challenges far greater than I was going through at the moment. They remained positive and I was determined to do so as well. It reminded me of the ugly world of politics. Before an election you see advertisements attacking opponents. Do they attack the opponent who is last places in the voting? Never. It would be a waste of money and resources. It is always the person closest to them in votes. Life is that way too. I have learned people usually attack you or try to bring you down because they view you as some sort of threat. I have seen that with negative people attacking my writing because it is a threat to their pessimistic, blame oriented view of life. To consider that they have a good deal of responsibility for, and thus control over their life is a threat to their way of thinking.

It is when you are getting closest to achieving your goals that the challenges become the greatest. It is as if life is both testing to see if you both really want what you are chasing and if you are prepared to receive it. The old cliché that it is always darkest before the dawn holds some truth to it.

Next time life has you up against the ropes remember two very important things. One, life wouldn’t even bother challenging you if you were weak. There is no joy in defeating a weak opponent. Two, and this may be even more important, if you manage to make it through whatever situation you are facing, you will come out stronger and more likely to be able to kick some ass at whatever will come your way in the future. Much like working out, the heavier the weight, the bigger the muscle gain. Keep in mind you are never alone. There are others who have been through challenges as well and we stand with you.

AND WE’RE OFF!

It was a Saturday evening around 6pm and i was enjoying a nap after a long day working at the post office. Suddenly my lady wakes me up and said “i think i heard a car accident”. I closed my eyes and a sinking feeling came over me as i realized there was only one car parked in front of the house….mine. 

I jumped out of bed, grabbed my coat as it was a mere 9 ° outside.  Sure enough my car, i named Earl, that was parked in the street in front of my house was now several feet closer to my front door. Further down the street i saw what was left of an elderly man and his car. I ran to check on him and saw his head was bleeding and he seemed out of sorts. As i called the police i offered the man to come inside and a hot cup of coffee which he politely declined. Soon the police arrived and after about an hour both vehicles were towed away and i was left with the reality of having no car on a cold winter day. 

Here is where all of this leaves us. At the end of last year i told everyone i knew i felt 2017 was going to be a great year for me. I’m not into numerology at all, but something just told me “this will be your year”. This would seem to be an auspicious start, and truly my ford escape has seen its last days, but i am going to have a rental car that will tide me over and i am sure the insurance company will give me something. I called the elderly man’s son, who picked him up that evening the following day to inquire as to his condition which i was informed was greatly improved. I had a warm house to spend the evening in and was assisted by family and friends in getting where i needed to go. 

The takeaway here is even though i have been inconvenienced and may very well end up with less than i started with i still am very grateful. Nobody was seriously hurt. Perhaps if the man had not hit my parked car he would have went on the hit something far worse. Maybe something was about to go wrong with my car that he prevented? Either way 2017 is still going to be my year. It began with a great challenge to my positivity, but it also provided a chance to persevere and remain grateful. 

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON…

Quite often I am asked by people what to do when this goes wrong, or that goes wrong.  My answer has always been that it is easier to worry about developing an amazing life BEFORE challenges appear.  Life will always provide us with lessons and opportunities to grow.  Some people refer to them as problems.  That is not an incorrect statement, but only one view of them. It is how we approach these events which will come up in everyone’s life and usually at the most inconvenient time.  That is why I stress the time to work on developing your joy is now.  Have a game plan in place and you will discover that when a challenge shows up in your life, as it always will, it seems to hold less power over you.  I know this sounds good in theory, but let me give you a fine example of seeing the sunshine even on a cloudy day.  April 11th I was on my way to work when another driver ran a stop sign.  My hand went through the windshield and my car was totaled.  I was forced to use my first sick day in 9 years.  I have been paying for a rental car out of my own pocket as I wait on the other drivers insurance to come to a settlement.  I missed two days of work and one job, and one day at another.  My back has been in pain ever since that day.  I came home from the hospital thinking i could try typing and work on my book only to discover my computer had a meltdown and all my Microsoft word programs were gone.

Wait!  This is not sounding very inspiring you may be thinking.  Well all those facts are true, there are other facts to consider.  First let us look at the day of the accident.  To begin with, nobody was seriously injured or worse.  I got to experience my first ambulance ride with emergency personnel who were kind and concerned.  The nurses and doctors at the hospital were amazing. Not to mention I was met there by family and friends who were concerned.  At my second job I received a card signed by the other employees and several customers.  Which made me feel far more valuable than I ever realized I was.  I met a new lady who is also working on her first book at the car rental company and we are going to help each other through the process.

Sure, it would’ve been better to have never been in the crash to begin with, but I take lots of good away from the situation.  As I go forward with this I now know how cared for I am, I will eventually have a newer vehicle and have made some great friends along the way.  Life, even with all of its challenges, shines when you do.