Going through a rough patch in life and how you maneuver can make the difference between triumph and fiasco

Triump or fiasco
All human unhappiness comes from not facing reality squarely, exactly as it is. (Buddha)

When the doorbell rang, I was startled because I was not expecting anyone on an easy Sunday afternoon.  And I wondered who it could be.  To my surprise, when I pipped through the window I saw Veronica, my neighbor who I only met a couple of times at the parking lot.  Strange. I thought as I went ahead to open the door.

Veronica had misplaced her house keys somewhere between her house and the supermarket, so she said, and she needed somewhere to stay until her boyfriend brought the spare keys.  So I welcomed her, offered her some tea, and we started chatting away while watching an old movie.  In this movie, there was a guy who was going through a rough patch in life.  He had lost his job, and was at the verge of becoming homeless, but somehow he managed to work his way through and became a wealthy man.  A typical case of ‘from grass to grace’.  When the movies ended, Veronica and I analyzed the lessons we had learned from the movie, because somehow, we could relate with what had happened, because everyone goes through a rough patch in life.  Life is about going through up and down situations.  However, when going through a rough patch in life, the most important thing is to have the resilience to maneuver and bounce back—and not to stay down.  How?

Count what is left and not what is lost.  The reason why most people do not recover from setbacks in life is because they focus too much on what has been lost, which is not productive, because it builds up a lot of anger and resentment towards other people.  As a result, they end up wasting time and energy—that would have otherwise been put into better use, to rebuild their lives.  The best thing to do when facing a hard situation in life is to count what is left, and use it to propel you towards rebuilding your life.  For example, if you lose your job—no matter how prestigious it was—you still have the qualifications, skills and experience that you can use to secure another job; you have two hands that you can use to do some manual work as you wait for the right job to come along; you have a mind to develop a business plan that you can use to start an income generating project.  The list is endless depending with your situation.

Ask for help.  People are the best resources that anyone can have.  Where I come from, we have a proverb that says ‘a person is people’, which means that no one can survive in this life without the support or interaction with other people.  Asking for help does not mean that you are weak, it is an indication that you are wise, and you know that on your own you cannot make it.

Use your imagination.  Imagination is one of the greatest gift that everybody has.  If used in the right way, imagination helps you to focus on positive outcomes in life, which in turn helps you to make the right decisions that will steer you towards attaining our goals in life.  Think about it, everything we see around us started off as someone’s imagination.  You too can do it.

Work smart.  This simply means that you should determine what needs to be done, in order to get yourself out of a rough patch that you are going through, and giving it your best shot.  It means that you may need to put in extra effort, by working out of your comfort area, in order to attain your goals in life.  For example, getting a second job or starting a side business to raise extra cash, moving to a cheaper house to save money to offset your loans, or selling your car to raise capital for business.  Whatever the situation, there is always a way out.  Always.