Life is What We Make it
How did I get into this mess? That’s the question I asked myself when I realized that my company was unlikely to survive and all of the money and time I had invested was gone and could not be saved. What could I have done to prevent the failure? What should I have done before it was too late to save my family’s retirement funds? I spent hours thinking about decisions I had made and their results without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. In the meantime, I was paralyzed with what-ifs, afraid to make any decision due to my dwindling confidence. I was the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, too stunned to move.
Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright, essayist, and the last President of Czechoslovakia, understood my predicament when he said, “There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.” Havel spent years in and out of Communist prisons and decades under secret police surveillance, a situation much worse than I experienced, but I have no doubt our psyches were similar. While some reach the bottom of their emotional roller coaster, thankfully, it is not necessary to reach bottom before trying to improve your situation. A drug addict doesn’t have to overdose to know he has a problem, an employee doesn’t have to be fired to understand that the status quo is changing. Husbands and wives, business partners, friends know when things are not right, that relationships are not clicking as they have in the past. Whatever your personal situation, if you’re feeling unhappy, disillusioned or abandoned, it is time to consider what you can do to make life better.
In my case, deciding to change was the result of finally growing tired of being “sick and tired.” When I looked around me, I could see members of my family and friends who had dealt with, or were dealing with, worst circumstances than I faced, but seemed to be happy, eager people who enjoyed life. What was their secret? How did they find the courage to rise day after day despite their troubles or the unlikelihood that their circumstances would ever improve?