How many times have you found yourself slogging through your life, pushing through your day at work, jumping over hurdles and thinking “why can’t this just end?!?!” No doubt, (not the band, the phrase, Gwen Stefani is not randomly coming into this conversation) you have had moments where you were caught in desperation asking for a reprieve. We all struggle. It is part of life. Don’t take the struggles you face for granted, for on the other side of struggle lies progress. We CANNOT have one without the other.
We are going to face challenges. We are going to fall on our faces. We are going to have people turn away from us. We are going to grasp at air sometimes when we are reaching for a hand. We are going to come up short. We are going to hear “no.” We are going to experience grief and loss and denial and betrayal and sadness (boy, what an uplifting book this is) and more. Life is rife with disappointments. That doesn’t mean we get to let them rule us. For each of these emotions (and that is what they are, our way of feeling through certain situations), there is an exact opposite of which we wouldn’t truly know unless the negatives reared their ugly mugs.
On your journey to becoming and living your best self, you will get slapped with a tremendous amount of challenges, varying in their scope and depth. Strength, freedom and joy are gained on the other side of these challenges. Every single inspirational figure in the annals of history forged their legacy due to some form of struggle. I have yet to read a story about someone who woke up, was gifted with amazing talent, strolled through life and brought love and freedom to the masses without any set-backs, failures or hardships. That just isn’t the way this world spins.
If you look back on your own life and think of some of your biggest wins, I bet there was a feeling of a loss or a fail somewhere pretty close by. As with any emotion, we get to decide what purpose the feeling of these struggles will provide. We can look back on so many “success stories” and gain insight into the recurring theme of struggle.
-Henry Ford’s (you may have heard of the car company) first company-The Detroit Automobile company, went out of business in 1901, the Henry Ford Company founded later also was abandoned and his third company almost failed due to low sales.
-KFC’s “secret” recipe was almost kept a secret. Harland David Sanders (a.k.a. “the Colonel”) had over 1,000 rejections before a restaurant finally agreed to work with him.
-Albert Einstein (goofy guy, crazy hair, crazy smart) did not speak until he was four years of age, and did not read until age 7. He was also expelled from school. Eventually, he did ok for himself (and the world), winning a Nobel Prize and basically changing the way we all looked at the world.
-Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a television reporter because they felt she was “unfit for TV.”
-Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.
-Jack London (author of White Fang and The Call of the Wild) was rejected 600 times before his first story was published.
-Michael Jordan (you may have heard of his shoes), was cut from his high school basketball team.
-Stephen King was rejected 30 times when he tried to publish “Carrie.” He actually threw the book into the trash, his wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it.
-Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He also started (and failed) at a number of businesses.
-Thomas Edison was told he was stupid as a child and couldn’t learn anything. He made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before gaining his success.
-Fred Astaire was regarded quite poorly by the testing director of MGM at his first screen test. The director said of Astaire: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Can dance a little.”
-Lucille Ball was thought of as a failed B movie actress and her drama instructors told her to try a different profession. She persevered and had 13 Emmy nominations and four wins, she also was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors.
-Harrison Ford (Han Solo, Indiana Jones, The Fugitive) was told in his first film by the film’s executives that he just didn’t have what it took to be a star.
-Elvis Presley (you may have seen his dance moves) was told by a manger of the Grand Ole Oprey (after firing him after one performance) “You ain’t going nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”
-Tom Landry (famous coach of the Dallas Cowboys) had the distinction of having one of the worst seasons on record (never winning a game all year) and winning 5 or fewer games the next four seasons. He eventually won 2 Super Bowl rings, 5 NFC Championship victories and held the record for the most career wins.
The list could go on for eternity (I bet I already lost a few people due to the length of this post) but I will stop there.
DON’T LET SLIPS, FALLS, SHORTCOMINGS, OR HURDLES STOP YOU FROM BEING WHO YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE OR REDUCE YOUR EVENTUAL IMPACT AND LEGACY!
Fall down, get up, look for the opportunities in the struggle (because that is what all challenges are, distinct opportunities), and carry-on!
Have a Struggle-RIFIC week!
Yours in Health,
Joel Lindeman D.C.