Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Being Down and Out

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

My first girl-friend and I were together for some seven years. One day she simply announced that she had fallen in love with someone else. I remember the feeling of rejection to that day. It actually wasn't so much the lost love that I minded so much. No, the worst feeling was the awkwardness of admitting the fact that I had been dumped to my family and friends. It was simply tough for my ego to swallow rejection. But you know what, after a few days the pain had subsided. I mostly kept to myself for a while, got more serious about exercising, and then went out with someone else who made me realize for the first time what a true romance and passionate sex was really all about. So in hindsight, the days when we are down and out are just that, days!

I remember a couple of times too when my career was on the line. It was a feeling of immense insecurity. Every word that someone might have said or not at that time got evaluated. Every gesture and action got examined and replayed backwards in my mind. In those days my productivity slumped because my ego felt attacked, which is exactly what you don't want to happen. But I had no choice, I was paralyzed as a deer that is caught in the headlights. Still, miraculously, I survived, and soon afterwards started thriving instead.

How hard is it to keep going despite a feeling of alienation and job insecurity? Well, it is hard, but what choice do we have? I sometimes think back and wonder how much better my career might have fared had I known then what I do know now. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, just as Arnold Schwarzenegger reminded us.

I consider it a hallmark of a spiritual traveler to just keep going no matter what feelings might bubble to the surface, because deep down inside we know that this scared and emotionally hurt figure is not really us. The other day I stepped into an investor's office and he told me how someone had come and took his art-work away and put it into another's colleague's office, without replacing it with some new piece of art. I could only laugh when I heard this story, and remarked, "well, that's not a good sign". He shrugged his shoulders. You could see in his face that he only has his next investment trade to worry about. That is the attitude of a fighter. Rain or shine, headwind or tailwind, put your best foot forward and let what has to happen happen.

Susan Jeffers once titled her book, "Feel the fear and do it anyway!" Yup, experience the insecurity, but keep going. Do not listen to all the conspiracy stories your brain comes up with. They are mostly not true, and they pull you down. Keep telling your story and then see whether perceived reality is catching up with you.

To go back to the introduction of the beginning, my mother once ran later into the girlfriend who had dumped me. She said to my mother that she would only have stood in my way given that she felt that I was going places. That certainly was a new side of the story I hadn't considered before. Or take my work as another example. I had always presumed that my boss didn't like me very much at the time when I was struggling, yet one day an investor told me that she had fought hard for my promotion, so it must have been others who stood in my way at the time. Again, whether you succeed or fail, whether someone opposes you or mentors you, do your job, try your best and stand up to your fears. Just imagine, if you can deliver when the wind is blowing in your face how you will be running instead when the tailwind is coming back.

It is natural to be depressed when you feel unloved in certain situations. Just be careful with your interpretations of what the root-cause might be. Perhaps the WAY prepares you for something bigger and better. Be mindful of expressing anger. Just tell yourself that you may not know the entire story until the transition is complete. Until this day though, keep your eyes on your goals and the ball. You will be fine!

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