Editor’s Note: Please welcome Luken Surge, a new writer for The Daily Bell. We are dedicated to doing more than simply calling out all the things wrong with the government, financial system, and society. In line with the philosophy of our free guide, How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim Three Essential Freedoms, we believe grassroots individual empowerment is the most important step to freeing people from the constraints of the elites controlling government, corporations, and the media. As you will learn from his writing, Luken is a perfect fit for The Daily Bell, as someone who has, and continues, to apply this philosophy to his life.
Life Knocks You Down For a Reason
You are probably no stranger to the smackdowns life can dish out. Even when you put everything you have into your efforts, sometimes the universe knows just how to trip you up. And even though it might be hard to see in the moment, that knockdown is usually EXACTLY what you needed.
Sometimes life has to knock something down to clear the way for something better. What if you were heading in completely the wrong direction? Getting fired, being forced to move, or even getting dumped by a lover can be a blessing in disguise.
Pressure gets us to move, decide, or to figure something out. You could be dragging your heels on leaving your current situation, even if you are unhappy, out of your inherent fear of change. Even when you have your goal centered in your vision you don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out, or what bends in the road are going to lead you right where you need to be.
When Walt Disney’s first studio shut down, and he was faced with a choice: give up or keep going. At a point when he was ready for his dreams to come true and for the world to see his work, it all started crumbling around him. Had he packed it all up and given up right then and there, he never would have moved to California where he created Oswald the Rabbit.
And when the rights to Oswald were stolen from him he could have felt so burned by his struggles that he could have given up there. But instead he chose to put everything into Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and their friends, eventually resulting in Walt Disney being one of the most recognized names on the planet.
Walt Disney saw the silver lining when he got knocked down. When others might have seen a career doomed to repeated failure, Disney saw opportunity in the wreckage. His success didn’t come from good luck, perfect timings, or a convenient series of events.
How many people have heard of Oswald the Rabbit? If the rights were never taken, he could have wasted his life on a mediocre cartoon. Instead, he found something better and built an empire.
Challenges are going to happen and life is going to throw some roadblocks in your way. How you handle it and what you do next will be the greatest determining factors of your success.
You might not at first understand what is emerging. It’s easy to get too attached to the things that are changing or falling apart. In our stubbornness, we might not want to let go of a person, a job, or a home.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” –Fake Socrates Quote
I have definitely had my share of situations that had to get bad before I would let something better in.
When I would get a job I would hold onto it for dear life. My fear of homelessness, failure, and of losing the things that mattered most to me would keep me clinging to every job I got, even if I sucked at it, hated it, or if it didn’t pay enough. None of that mattered compared to my FEARS.
But at the end of every situation that I stayed in our of fear, was one that I had even less control over. I had no plan ‘B’ that I could store safely in my back pocket for a rainy day.
No, instead it was jump or let the ground crumble completely beneath me. So many times I was so stubborn that I couldn’t just let go of my own illusion of control, and open my eyes to new opportunities. Rather, I was the kind of person that thought that if I couldn’t see what came next it must be nothing. I am glad I was wrong.
A few years back I was working for a work-from-home customer service company for Xbox customers. There were some highs and then there were definitely some lows to the job. One main issue was the need for absolute silence in the background at all times. But that doesn’t work so well when you have dogs and when the kitchen is right next to the closet you converted into an office.
It became clear after some time that I wasn’t going to do well there for long, and like other times before I felt that very particular itch that usually meant change was coming.
Well, since I couldn’t see what I was going to do other than my current job, I held on and on until the choice was removed from my control.
I got sick and in my fever and vomiting I crashed out and failed to complete one of the steps necessary for calling out sick. I was a no-call-no-show and fired.
Following the Breadcrumbs
And just like that, I no longer had a choice. I had to figure out this career stuff NOW because I couldn’t keep dealing with these entry level jobs that made everything sound FANTASTIC only to end up still never making enough–and never going anywhere!
It was only after losing that job that I ended up heading down the path that eventually led me to discover digital marketing. Now, two years since that pivotal shift, I am fully immersed in a career that allows me to utilize a combination of my greatest passions, pays more than I have ever earned on my own in any job, and gives me a deep sense of satisfaction with both my work and the impact I am able to make in others’ lives.
I could have continued the cycle of terrible jobs after I got fired. If I hadn’t chosen the harder path and ventured down into the realm of self discovery I never would have found the industry that matched me or had acquired the skills that would make me successful. It was by finally being honest with myself on my natural abilities, and daring to do what I believed was right for me, that I am where I am today, writing this article, and serving other clients, from the comfort of my home.
Ever since I was a child I had wanted to be a writer, work with art, and deal with puzzles. Now, a single careertrack allows me to do all three however, and whenever, I want. THIS is what personal freedom looks like. And it all started because I got fired from a job I hated and dared to see the silver lining in a threatening situation.
These things NEEDED to happen for me to move down the path, though hard, that I needed to travel down in order to get where I am better off. You don’t see these twists and turns at the beginning of the journey. Prepare now to use futures challenges as calls to action for greater opportunities.
Being Aware of the Silver Lining
So you have a bad situation on your hands, now what are you going to do? Roll over and give up, or see the opportunity? When things don’t work out, and when you consciously look for the upside or benefit in the situation, you will actually find the solution to other nagging problems.
There are clues and pieces to your puzzle hidden in the rubble of your worst moments. If you have a mind to look for it, you will find the lessons in your mistakes and failures. You might first think that you have everything figured out but it’s when those perfectly planned pieces get knocked down that you finally get the glimpse of what other possibilities were hiding in plain sight.
Being aware of the silver lining also means being flexible. There are many different ways in which you can achieve your goals. When one route closes off it just means that you need to go one of the many other ways. Be flexible, adapt, and keep going!
Gathering the Clues
When you have a mindset wired to seeing the silver lining, you’ll realize that the bad things that happen are actually the clues you need in disguise.
If you get dumped, do the brutal self-assessment. Do I need to change my behavior, or were we just not a good fit? Now the way is cleared to find someone who better matches your wants and needs.
Get fired? Time to launch that freelance career you’ve been dreaming about. Tree falls on your house? Time to remodel the kitchen! Get kicked out of your parents’ house? They just saved you from wasting the defining decade of your life.
Times like these bring clues. A hint: The clues rarely point down the more comfortable path. It is likely the hard road that will lead to the outcome you really want. The path you end up traveling rarely looks like the one you expected or saw conveniently placed before you.
Learn from the Lobster
How does the lobster know when it’s time to shed its shell? It gets too big for its shell and it starts to become uncomfortable. As it grows the shell gets tight and stifling. The pressure and discomfort it feels signals that it’s time to shed the old to allow the new to emerge. And yes, that will leave the lobster feeling very vulnerable in the interim.
For a lot of humans, it is a hard process to accept and act when faced with times of change. Even if the outcome is more favorable, if we are too comfortable where we are at we would have no reason to move. It is when life exerts various kinds of pressure, signals in the form of negative events, that we finally get the hint that it’s time to try something new.
Check out this quick video for a unique perspective on how to handle stress.
How can you get the job you really want if you are too afraid to leave the one you have or even try for the new one?
How can you move to the place you really want to be if you aren’t willing to sell your house or leave your high school friends behind?
When was the last time you heard of someone who never took a risk being successful in reaching their goals and living their dreams?
If you aren’t willing to do these things on your own, sooner or later life will hand you the “opportunity,” even if it looks like misfortune.
How much stress is it going to take in your current situation before you change it?