Everyone has a story to tell on their life canvas, and far more often than not, these stories paint a less than rosy picture of life. Especially for those who have been around for a few decades, their story is often one interspersed with moments of tremendous hardship. This may be in the form of financial lack, poor health, heart wrenching relationships or even undergoing unfathomable and repeated abuse both on a physical and emotional level. However, in the face of such adversity is also the moment when man rises to the occasion and demonstrates what the human spirit is truly capable of achieving even when life seems to make every attempt to break your will.
How to Turn Life’s Lemons into Lemonade
Very few people live a life free of heartaches and roadblocks. In fact, British writer and physician Havelock Ellis couldn’t have said it better when he quoted that to reject pain is to reject life. Of course, it’s part of human nature to get caught up in the self-pity and victim mentality role and complain about how life would be much better if only I had this or I had that or if things were this way instead of that way. However, the minute you recognize you have fallen into this mental trap, you can pivot your thinking and see life’s challenges as opportunities for realizing your full potential.
Life Tips to Remember
What You Resist Persists
When you resist life’s curve balls, it throws more at you. Adversity not only happens on an individual level but also on a national scale. It seems like wars, manmade disasters and natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis are the conditions of living. What this all means is that while pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional.
Build Your Faith
Some people rely on their religious faith to get through rough times. Even if you’re not particularly religious, you can still believe that there is light at the other end of the tunnel and that all hardships are fleeting temporary experiences. If you approach life from the angle that everything in life has a purpose and happens for a reason, then it can strengthen your resolve to persevere.
Build a Network Support System
Always remember that you are never alone. Even if you are alienated from family and friends, there are other places you can lean on for unconditional and nonjudgmental support. These days, the Web is full of online support networks in the form of discussion forums, social media and chat rooms. These resources are free to use, and you would be surprised at the support strangers are willing to provide. Most members, in fact, have or are undergoing similar experiences, which is why they are members in the first place.
Be Inspired by Real-Life Success Stories
Have you ever heard the quote about a man who cried because he had no shoes until he saw the man with no feet? No matter how hard you think you have it, there are always those who have it even harder. Think about the following real-life individuals who far exceeded expectations despite being dealt extremely unfavorable cards:
- Helen Keller – Became an award winning author despite losing both her sight and hearing at just 18-months old.
- Lance Armstrong – Won the Tour de France seven times despite being diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to his heart and lungs. Sure, he tested positive for banned substances, but that shouldn’t take away from his courageous comeback from a life threating illness.
- Winston Churchill – Became United Kingdom’s Prime Minister and one of the most prominent figures of the 20th century despite having a stuttering problem and underperforming in school.
Other Notable Figures
The names listed are some of the world’s most influential individuals. However, these stories aren’t unique, and there are hundreds of others who may not exactly be household names, but have life stories that are just as astonishing and inspirational. Consider the following and their respective companies:
Angela T. Jones – Angela T. Jones is a published author, radio host, movie producer and the brains behind Super Woman Productions and Publishing LLC. Her accomplishments are even more remarkable when you hear her life story. She became a single mother at a young age and raised her son without government assistance. She also endured a physically abusive marriage, had a miscarriage and was diagnosed with a severe illness and told that she wouldn’t live past 30. As of early 2014, Angela Jones is 39-years old and living strong. Her company Super Woman Productions provides writing, publishing and media training services.
Louise Hay – Hay House is a publishing company in the area of new age thought and self-help. It is founded by Louise Hay who came from very humble beginnings. She grew up in an impoverished and unstable household at the height of the Depression and endured repeated abuse as a teen at the hands of her stepfather. She was also raped by a neighbor and told that she was to blame for the incident. The culminated experiences left Hay to believe that she was worthless and deserved to be treated poorly. However, the birth of her daughter at 16 prompted her to look at life from a different angle. Today, Hay is 87-years young and the owner of Hay House, a multi-million dollar company that have produced some of the finest self-help authors in the industry, such as Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Jerry and Esther Hicks.
Dr. Maya Angelou – As a child who grew up in pre-civil rights Missouri, she endured daily racial discrimination and was also raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was eight. When she reported the incident, her mother’s boyfriend was killed by her uncle. Angelou became fearful of her own words as a result and became mute for the next five years. Today, she is hailed as one of the greatest figures in contemporary literature. She is also an author, poet, playwright, producer and director. She also served in two presidential committees and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008.
When life feels like a boot camp, remember that how you respond to your circumstance is a testament to your resilience. While you will inevitably feel pain, it is ultimately how you react that defines your character.