Overcoming Adversity

Articles by Peter Shane

Happy where you are in your life right now? Do you feel that your future will get better for you and your loved ones?
Many Americans are not only struggling on a daily basis, but also do not think that their lives will improve. In fact, many believe that their quality of life and their children’s will be worse than it is today.

“Almost two-thirds of Americans express concerns about covering their family’s basic living expenses, compared with less than half the public four decades ago. One in three say their money worries are with them all or most of the time, and the number who say they worry “all the time” about paying the bills has doubled.” – Washington Post

The US Census Bureau estimates about 15% of United States’ population are on food stamps. (This equates to about 25 million people.) Many of these people want to work and provide for their family, but need the governmental assistance just to survive.

Since its inception, the United States has been through extremely tough times: wars, famine, market crashes and so much more. Throughout the centuries, what has made us stronger has been our ability to always rise above each challenge. One of our current struggles is the seemingly endless economic slump affecting many of the middle-class.

Many are trying to navigate and find new ways to survive, as the old ways of making a living no longer work. So how do we overcome the myriad challenges presented by a struggling economy?

In 1959, psychotherapist Dr. Viktor E. Frankl wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning”, a book which has become a classic. In World War II, he spent three years incarcerated at Auschwitz by the Nazis.

After experiencing the daily horror of the concentration camp, he had the insight to notice that those who survived were not the strongest, nor the smartest, but rather, those that had a goal to focus on. These people had a clear vision of what their life would be after the war was over and chose to focus on this, rather than the day-to-day struggle to survive. Whether it was the thought of seeing their daughter married and playing with their grandchildren or something as mundane as tasting their favorite dish once again, it was these self-imposed goals that gave them the strength to overcome their adversity.

Not only did Dr. Frankl experience such dire straits but he also saw what it took to get through it and live, no matter the cost. He came to the conclusion that, “Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

You may ask, “How do I find the “right” action? Where do I start?”

Go back to the basics.

Obviously, before considering anything else, the three primal human needs of food, water and shelter must be met. However, once these are addressed, it is critical that you take the fundamental steps necessary to begin building your life back.

Step 1 – Assess Your Life:
See things as they really are and do not lie to yourself that life is good, when it is clearly not. Often, this will mean getting the help of someone you trust to tell you the painful truth. If consulting a professional is the best answer, then it is a step well worth taking.

2 – Create Your Vision:
This is your opportunity to dream and envision what your life will be like after you have gotten out of your slump. Build a picture of the future that you want to have, no matter where you are at today.

You must push though your comfort zone. Your goal will be your inspiration to get you through the daily struggles. It should be something that will excite you. Reflect on what your gifts and skills are and something you love to do and create your new life from there. This vision should revitalize your energy and remind yourself of what is important to you. This is the time to get it right and build the life you always dreamed about.

If you are hesitant about making such a change and going beyond your comfort zone, remember this: The regret most often expressed on people’s deathbeds are that they wished they had spent more time with the people they loved, doing the things they loved. They were not thinking of money, but of the special times they had. Make sure that you create the life that you want to live.

3 – Write Your Plan:
You may not be able to control everything outside yourself but what you can control is how you live your life.

Visualize what steps are necessary to achieving your goal. Remember to keep your plan specific and write it down – like any other good plan, you will need to revisit it often to ensure you keep headed towards your goal.

Do not let anyone or anything stand in your way. Make every effort to do a little bit each day and keep going, as you are in it for the long term. It may take a while, but only by being fully committed will your life be turned around.

I was fortunate to have achieved great success in my early 20’s. Then, I suddenly lost everything because I did not know how to handle my finances. As stressful and difficult my life was at that time, it forced me to envision where I wanted to be again and gave me the resolve to re-build my life. It was hard work that took a while, but I came back stronger and able to manage my life and money. This journey showed me how to appreciate life on a much deeper level. Through this life-changing struggle, it made me grow into a better person.
You must push yourself past your comfort zone – if not for yourself, then for your loved ones. When you do, you will break though and achieve your goal and life will be all the sweeter.

The late Dale Carnegie said, “You will achieve, only to the level that your mind can conceive”. Set clear goals that are backed by a solid plan. Be persistent and keep at it daily. Blessings to you and good luck. Please write us with your success stories so we can share it with others to help inspire them to have a better Quality Of life.

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