For most of us, life offers abundant opportunities for both laughter and tears. The good times you savor—the hard times go to your heart and into your soul. Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character. And yet, where do we learn how to deal with those challenges, hard times and difficulties?
In school, we are taught how to read and write. But what about the keys to living? Where do we enroll in Life 101? Where are the classes dealing with the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, the failure of a relationship? Unfortunately, those lessons are mostly learned through trial by fire and the school of hard knocks. The message of my book It’s Not Over Until You Win is that no matter how difficult your life may become, no matter how hard it gets, there is always a reason to keep on going and fighting because you can survive and thrive.
My suggestion is that, after you have been knocked down or pushed back by life, you should acknowledge the setback, understand why it happened and then make a leap ahead of where you were when you were hit. That’s how to become the person you always wanted to be.
Sometimes the hits just keep on coming
We are living in very challenging times. Pressured in the workplace and stressed out at home, people are trying to make sense of their lives. How do you keep on going when life knocks you down? It’s one thing to be positive when things are going well, but it is something altogether different when life catches you on the blind side:
- When someone you love is taken away
- When a catastrophic illness strikes you or a family member
- When your “lifetime” job is suddenly downsized
- When the relationship that has kept you going falls apart
- When you go through the emotional torment of a divorce
- When your grown children refuse to grow up
- When your teenagers decide they are adults
There are times when you want to say to life: “Please give me a break. Just give me a chance to catch my breath.” But life doesn’t listen. Sometimes, as soon as we raise our heads, it knocks us back down. Such is life.
Believing is powerful
Believing in yourself requires knowing that your life has value and that there is hope. You don’t have to be on top of the world already to look up. No matter what your circumstances are, there is a reason for you being here.
So how can you begin to believe in yourself more? One way is through internal encouragement. Concentrate on doing volunteer work, working out, taking a class—anything that makes you feel good about yourself. Find positive expressions that work for you and put them on cards where you can see them during the day. One of my favorites was given to me by a friend: “Good things are going to happen to me.” Say it repeatedly, but each time put the emphasis on a different word or phrase:
- GOOD things are going to happen to me.
- Good THINGS are going to happen to me.
- Good things ARE going to happen to me.
- Good things are GOING to happen to me.
- Good things are going TO HAPPEN to me.
- Good things are going to happen TO me.
- Good things are going to happen to ME.
We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted. Failure, defeat and loss afflict us all. Expect it, and learn to deal with it. And then learn to get back to life without waiting for an invitation. One way to do that is to trust in a power greater than yourself, and to believe good things are going to follow—great things will occur when you get up, dust yourself off and have a go at life with renewed determination and courage.
This article was published in June 2008 and has been updated. Photo by GaudiLab/Shutterstock