Monday, October 3, 2011
Life is Hard...And Then You Die - 40 Things I've Learnt in 40 Years
It's often said that the two things that are certain in life are death and taxes - let me add a third: tough times. Everyone goes through some tough times regardless of one's station in life, financial stability, or optimism. I know I've had my share of them. It is very easy in life to get frustrated because sometimes things don't work out as we expect.
In a green room event I attended with Jim Randel, author of The Skinny On series, he mentioned how important for people to recognize and accept that in any endeavor, problems can and will arise. Sometimes anything and everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
So how does one reconcile my philosophy of 'life is good' with 'life is hard'? Therein lies the rub: Life is a contradiction in terms. They way to experience 'life is good' is to first acknowledge 'life is hard'. By recognizing that problems can and will arise, problems become par for the course and are less likely to throw us off kilter, or heaven forbid, put us in a conniption!
Acknowledging that problems can arise helps us plan ahead, and put controls in place that will help avoid the situation altogether, or mitigate the consequences if the situation cannot be avoided. Beware of becoming such a control freak and anally-retentive that the problems appear bigger than they really are. That would defeat the purpose. I used to work for someone who was so obsessed with perfection that I could swear he actually willed the problems into reality by being so focused on what problems could arise!
The way I see it, life is good. I wouldn't know how good it was if there were none of the not-so-good moments. Just like I wouldn't know light if there was no darkness. Just like there would be no good without evil (and this is by no means an endorsement for evil!). The hardships and frustrations in our life keep us grounded and keep us from taking the magnificence of our lives for granted. Focusing on what is wrong with our life situation instead of how good our life is, misses the point entirely. It is like looking at a white sheet of paper with an ink stain on it seeing only the little white stain - forgetting that there is a lot more white around the stain. It is all about interpretation. No situation is inherently good or bad - it is the interpretation that we give to it that makes it good or bad to us.
Life is hard and then you die. Yes, maybe. But remember to live the life you love and love the life you live. And count your blessings. You'll be surprised how many you have. That is Life - Inspired.