When you’re struggling in life, sport, business, or relationships, remember that you’re the most valuable contributor of your own pathway to success and mastery. The vast majority of the time (because I know there is that one reader who will say “but in this circumstance, it could”), the struggles you experience won’t kill or destroy you.
You have the ability to rebuild and persevere. It may not be easy, may not be in the timeframe that you desire, and may not happen according to your plans, but every dusk has a dawn. You’re ultimately in control of your destiny, and accepting that mindset can empower you.
Here are 6 keys that you should understand about working through a struggle:
1. The struggle will end… eventually
No one really knows when, but it will end. After every dark night comes the sunrise. However, if you doubt that better days are ahead or you worry about the difficulty of today, you will miss the growth and glory of the day. When you get so worried about what may happen, you miss what is happening. Understand that no matter how bad things get, there will be an end and a rebirth. The most important thing is to separate your self-belief and self- identity from the struggle. You may be having a very difficult time, but you’re not a failure or someone who’s destined for difficulties, cursed, or followed by a black cloud. You’re a human being with an opportunity to define and determine your ultimate destiny, and the struggle can help you with that.
2. The most powerful thing you can do is accept
Accept that you’re struggling, accept yourself, and accept that you can work your way through it. Too many people romanticize the idea of their future selves and try to relive or overwrite the past, and this usually results in a failure to accept who and what you are right now. It may be painful and scary to accept what you are right now, but it’s a critically important factor as you try to move through a struggle. Look in the mirror and learn to accept who you are right now. You are what you are, good or bad; it’s only you looking back in the mirror. Learn to accept that the struggles of today cannot destroy you unless you allow them to by devaluing yourself, giving more emotional power to the struggles, or giving up.
3. The harder you try, the worse it gets
Have you ever tried to run uphill on ice? The harder and faster you try, the sooner you’ll fall. The natural instinct is to try harder. In fact, I have developed and published articles on the concept of the “RipTide” – those times when life suddenly turns on you. People forget to breathe, forget to take account of current resources, and forget to slow the mind down by focusing on the present moment. There are pathways that you can use to work through the struggle, but if you’re all worked up and trying to find the immediate answer RIGHT NOW, you’re not using your ability to persevere. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to experience a little bit of the stress and angst of the struggle. It won’t kill you.
4. Resist the urge to only search for external solutions
Such tools and skills can be helpful, but the true answer is the mindset behind the solutions. In other words, if you’re searching for a new mental trick, or an answer from an expert, a friend, or your favorite author, you’re abandoning the mindset of accepting yourself in favor of a quick fix. You hold the answer, so it’s time to listen to that mindset of acceptance and perseverance.
5. Struggles are the greatest lessons you can ever experience in life
I believe that struggles exist for a reason: to allow us to learn more about ourselves and to teach us how to succeed in life. Without challenges, learning is slower and less impactful. If you think about your life, some of the greatest lessons you’ve ever learned took place during times that were probably the most difficult for you. If you look for quick fixes and avoid the process of working through the struggle, the struggle will eventually return, but this time, it’ll probably be harder and more intense. It’s more productive to just accept that you have to learn through it and then embrace the journey.
6. You’re not failing because you’re struggling
Everyone struggles, but those who embrace the power of knowing who they are and what they embody are the ones who grow through struggles. What’s important is that you don’t compare yourself to others. Making comparisons is human nature, but understand that you only compare and evaluate yourself on those factors that you perceive to be weaknesses in you and strengths in others. Remember, acceptance is important – it’s where you start to build a pathway through your struggles.
It is hard to put a ribbon on the pain of personal, emotional, or relationship struggles, but the truth is that because of the outsider’s perspective I have with my clients, it’s often just necessary to encourage persistence rather than a quick fix. The power that each of you has is your ability to succeed through any circumstances and to create the future you desire. Start by understanding how struggles impact you and influence your mindset, and then learn to see them differently.In the end, only one question matters: “How can I be the best, most authentic person I can be?”