I’ve been thinking today (It’s Thursday btw), and I’m finding this really hard to put into words. It’s something a guy named David Foster Wallace touched on in this really interesting speech he gave back in 2005 to a graduating college class. (It’s 22 minutes long, really interesting but I mean come on, who has 22 minutes right now?! I’ll link it anyway, it’s worth the listen).
The basic idea is that we all have this choice. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we all decide how we react to what happens to us, and how each event will affect us. When something bad happens, for example, we decide to either let it consume us, or let it make us stronger. It’s not that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but rather, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, if we choose to let it make us stronger. It’s easy to imagine people you know or have heard of that have been completely consumed by some tragedy or failure, and never came out the other side the same. It’s not as common to hear of people who thrive after failure. We’re in awe of these types of people. I’m not trying to say that it’s easy to make that choice, to let a bad thing help you get better. It takes a lot of awareness, perspective and patience.
It’s such a hard thing to try and explain. It’s like in the moment something happens, you make this decision, consciously or unconsciously, on how you’re gonna deal with this experience. You’re either gonna let it overwhelm you, or you’re gonna use it as fuel. You’re gonna use it so that next time you’re in that situation you won’t even flinch, because you’ll know exactly how to deal with it. Once you can do that, it’s hard to think of any adversity that can hold you down permanently. Sure, things are gonna happen, and they’ll suck. They’ll feel like your whole world just ended, and it’s perfectly okay to feel like that for a while. The thing you cannot do is feel like that forever. You have to find something, through all the crap that’s thrown at you, that’ll pull you out of it.
A good friend of mine told me something he’d heard in a video a couple of weeks ago:
“If you wanna change your life, figure out how your worst day was your best day.”
It’s that simple really. Figure out how to take a positive out of all the bad shit that’s happening around you. Just make that decision. Do that, and well, there’s not much that’ll be able to hold you back, is there?