Learning through Life’s Challenges

The things I have picked up through this process.

I usually have a lot of conversations, so I can’t remember who I was talking to, but I remember us concluding that one of the best ways to learn anything is through challenging situations, tough and demanding as they may be. I mean, if everything was always going our way, then we would be operating like perfect humans living in a perfect world, but our imperfections are what makes us, us. The lows are the ones that toughen us up and enable us to see things from different perspectives.

You keep refining yourself, your character and your skills, then testing the waters to see if you have improved, gained more personality, more skill, more experience and whether you can now you can swim a little further, a little faster and with a little more ease.

This reminds me of when I first started swimming and how much water I would swallow (yuck!) or how I would run out of breathe, because I hadn’t mastered the skill. At that point, I hated swimming because it felt so difficult and there are some people who were my age and so good at it already. Good thing though, is that I wasn’t doing this on my own, so in as much as I made mistakes, we had a coach who would teach us the techniques and then test us. He would do this by literally pushing us into the pool from the deep end and watch us struggle to swim from one end to another, flapping our little hands and legs, swallowing and chocking on water and losing breathe. He would only pull you to the rails with his long stick when you were on the verge of drowning, otherwise, you soldier on to the other end or at least until the shallow end where your feet can touch the floor of the pool (that’s if you remember that you’ve reached the shallow end, because your eyes are fixated on the rail).

There’s something about getting to a place where your feet are rooted to the floor. You feel like you’re in control and secure.

Looking back, I can say there are things I am picking up from this process of learning through challenges. The last 6 months have been my ‘Wow! That’s a lot of things not working out’ phase. From relationships to work, which is technically my entire life! The small pool now feels like an ocean, and the techniques of swimming are so different, meaning I have to unlearn some and then learn some more. Trying to go through it without feeling I am less of a person or like I am regressing in life, and noting that it’s just a part of the journey that one has to pass through, the same way the sun rises and sets every goddamn day. It stops for no one and that’s the same way I have to keep on going. You have to wake up face the day, then turn in and get some rest.

For some inspiration, you need to remember that;

  • You’re braver than you believe…

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.

A.A. Milne

Don’t look at things at things from face value. There are so many decisions I have had to make (more so in these last few months) that I never thought I would dare make in my lifetime. So so risky. It only happened when I realized that I have to self-preserve and that’s when I dared to just shut my eyes and take the leap. Also, discovering that I actually have to look out for myself before anything else. That at some point you have to be a little selfish so that you can be the best version of you. Selfless is good, even great, but you end up losing yourself to others when you put them before you. Deal with yourself first and that way, you’re able to deal with others, because you’re sure and confident about yourself and at that point, you will not be compromised.

  • You change, because change is an inevitable part of life

Change happens whether you like it or not, whether you are ready or not. So the best thing is to learn to handle the changes that come your way, positive or negative. Change cannot be ignored, you have to do something about it, because it will literally haunt you. The thing with change is that it could find you when you least expect it or it could be brewing and you were just unaware of what’s happening. Then there’s the kind of change that happens gradually and if you’re cognizant, you adapt to it and so the impact is less overwhelming. It means that you have to be mindful, so that as the changes present themselves, you are ready to sail in the direction that will still get you to where you want to go. You won’t go bumping on rocks and getting injured while at it.

  • Your perspective matters

The way you choose to see things, and by things I mean both the good and the bad, is very critical. I personally always choose to look at things from a positive perspective even when everything seems to be screaming otherwise. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I believe that everything happens for a reason and now I believe that it’s for you to find the reason so that it can add up and make sense to you. And mostly so that you can learn from it and hopefully apply those lessons so that you can be a better human.

  • Take charge of the little that you can control

There’s a lot that we live to chance, because we don’t have much control or influence over it. However, for the little that you have control over, take charge. First things first, yourself. Take charge of yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your decisions, always ensure that you leave yourself room for choice. Which leads me to,

  • It’s not a dead-end, just an opportunity to take a step back

Ever taken a wrong route then you end up at a dead end? What do you do when that happens? Do you stick there and feel disappointed that that’s the end of your trip? Or do you trace back your tracks or steps and go back to that point where you can try a different route or explore other paths that could potentially lead you to your destination? I know that realistically, we do the later. And for that reason alone, so should you treat the other things that happen in your life. When you feel you’ve gotten to that point where you’re stuck in a rut or you’ve driven yourself to a dead-end, take a step back and see what other options you have. This is because you actually have other options, you just choose not see them. Don’t stay there, because staying there will add no value to your life, nor to the life of the passengers in your ride.

  • Take it one day at a time

The best way to deal with situations in many instances is to take it one day at a time. I realized that sometimes I worry too much about tomorrow, yet no one really knows what tomorrow holds. If you deal with the things that you can deal with today, do the most that you can today, reconcile with today, then that means you’re actually indirectly working to secure your tomorrow. Tackle things as they come as opposed to accumulating them, then one trying to deal with all of them, because that can feel extremely overwhelming.

  • A heart of gratitude

Take note of the small things that happen in your life and learn to appreciate them.  It’s these small things that add up and make up the big things. Big things just don’t happen, they are a accumulation of all those things you do every other day. You’ve managed to make that call, to finish working on that document/project, to do your exercise, to hang out with your loved one(s), to have that chat, to write that post, to eat a healthy/hearty meal, to go for a road trip, to clean up, to read a book or watch a show, to sleep through the night, get a new hairstyle and so on. For all that, be grateful.

Stay Inspired,
Kawi