A crappy year?
While the past 365 days may have been challenging in many ways [I originally wrote this in 2012 and this statement has remained true for every year since — coincidence?], I think it’s important to remember that it is our attitude that helps dictate how we feel about what’s going on in our lives. And if we’re alive, with a roof over our heads, a meal to eat, and still able to make decisions in our lives, then we actually have it pretty good. A large number of people in the world don’t even have their basic needs taken care of — and our lives, no matter how difficult they may get at times, often beat the alternatives.
Life isn’t always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you’d never had a problem in your life, you wouldn’t be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?
“Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” — African Proverb
I don’t know (many) adults who still cry when they drop their ice-cream cones.
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” — Zig Ziglar
Every year from the year we were born, our challenges change to reflect what’s going on in our lives (and the world). And they often increase in difficulty as we continue to evolve from one year to the next. Some things are within our control to change — other things are not — but what we always have control over is our attitude.
Many of the challenges we face in our teens are often not the same as when we are in our 20’s, 30’s and beyond. And while much of this can certainly be attributed to changes in our environment, careers & social status, at least some of it can be attributed to the life skills we’ve (hopefully) picked up along the way: Confidence, communication, organization, responsibility, and the ability to weather storms. We learn how to cope.
I think the movie Stepbrothers, which involves two 39-year-old “children” still living at home, highlights an issue with not having learned the skills necessary to push forward into the next phases of life…
If you want to be the very best you can be, then realize that challenges and contrast are a good thing and an opportunity for growth. And it is how you choose to react to those challenges that allows you to build your character and become a stronger person. Challenges are always an opportunity to reveal who you really are.
You don’t have to let the little things get you down — you don’t even have to let the big things get you down. Others may still complain about how awful or unfair or difficult life is, but you don’t have to be like that. Rather than focus on your problems, you can focus on how you’re going to overcome those problems — and have confidence that you’ll be able to do so.
Yes, it can certainly help to have a friend to confide in, vent to, or discuss your burden(s) — but it also helps to focus on what you’re going to do to overcome those burdens.
Which would you rather listen to:
- 1) a friend complain about how awful something in their life is or
- 2) the same friend explain something they’re dealing with and how they’re going to overcome it.
In the case of 2, they may even admit that they don’t know what they’re going to do, but if they explain their issues and express the fact they know that they will somehow find a way through them, it changes the entire tone of the conversation.
It’s the difference between “This is hard and life sucks!” and “This is hard, but I will get through this.” is a big one.
See also: The problem with problems
Would you rather the attention you receive be from people expressing how they “feel sorry” for you or would you rather the attention you receive from people be how they respect your attitude and ability to cope with what you’re dealing with.
You can decide right now that no matter what the next year has in store for you, that you are up to the challenge of handling everything to the best of your ability — and in the most positive way possible.
“I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you’re on it.” — Johnny Depp
Yes, mistakes will be made — as they almost always are anytime we encounter something new — but every mistake is also a learning experience. It is by developing the skills needed to overcome challenges that help us show who we really are.
So who are you going to be?
Originally Published on: Jan 1, 2012