Life’s challenges are the pathway to greatness
Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer
Last night I attended the graduation of close to 40 youth from the City of Coatesville area who participated in the work outplacement program by the Coatesville Youth Initiative. It was amazing to see so many young people apply for this summer job and rising to so many challenges. It was humbling to see how much they grew throughout their 8-week journey ranging from helping with community service projects to carrying out their at times rigid work routine. Most of all I will remember their smiles – they mustered their challenges and they did it with a smile.
Their happiness was so contagious and that made me wonder about the really happy adult folks. Do you catch yourself envying perpetually happy and content folks? They seem to have it totally together no matter what happens to them. They are engaged, motivated, and optimistic even under the most difficult conditions. How can this be?
Success like this leaves traces and all you have to do is following it. Make the investment and take a look the list below and also study people who already seem to have earned their black belt in unwarranted optimism.
- Optimism is a choice. Yeah, I know. Many self-help gurus preach and teach about that and each one typically offers a solution that can be bought at a nominal amount, of course. Here it is simply pondering what options there are and then to simply engaging in it.
- No one has the power to take that choice away from you. That should make you feel better already. NO ONE owns your choices and only you know what you know.
- It’s not a failure; it’s a success that has not happened yet. Mental reframing of the challenges ahead of you is key to staying optimistic. This is not some hokey advice, but the open invitation to shy away from seeing problems rather than opportunities right from the get go.
- It’s not whom you know, it’s who knows you. It helps when you have friends who know you, what you are all about, and what you aspire to become. A small yet very important difference. People who know you and your goals can create predictable miracles for you and you need not do a thing. Cool stuff!
- A smile and a little laughter will carry you and others through the day. Pay attention to when you make the effort of smiling when you interact with people. Don’t they appear to be much friendlier too and are they not much more leaning toward helping you?
- No matter how bad things are for you, they can be worse. Don’t believe me here? Go to e.g. a children’s hospital like CHOP in Philly and meet with kids who have cancer. If you have not seen optimism and hope in action, this should do it.
- Never fight with issues on your own. Seek community. Shared sorrow is half the sorrow. You are never really alone and this is not the time or place to become a martyr for your cause.
- Most human issues have been around forever. There have got to be solutions around. Ask friends and acquaintances, as well as engaging the Internet to look for suitable help.
- Answer the following question: will I still be thinking about the issue I am facing now in 2 years? Do not take yourself too seriously, period. A balanced life is so much more important than losing your hair and sleep over it. Do not be complacent either though; retain your sense of urgency and integrity and act on the future as it emerges.
- If it was easy, someone else would do it. The only people who usually do not believe you are managers with a low self-awareness and sense of being your quarterback first.
- Most issues are related to lack or inaccurate communication. That is something you can affect. Be the one who makes the effort to ask for clarity first.
- The vast majority of issues go away the faster you address them at the root. Speed rules in fighting issues. Ounces worth of prevention reap tons of rewards later in time, nerves / morale saved, and of course, money.
Make the effort looking into the mirror every day and making the commitment to really liking what you see when you stare at yourself. Be amazed how much this practice can change your outlook in life. Then fire off one or more of the dozen tips from above and see what happens.