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Life difficulties: Enemies or allies?

Life difficulties: Enemies or allies?

Today I came across the following quote: “If you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.” This made me think about all those self improvement articles and self help books I have read. And I realized that, although most of them really make you feel good at the time you read them, that feeling doesn’t last very long. The next day you may feel like you always have; nothing has really changed.

I don’t say that self help books don’t help – sometimes the power of words is greater than you think. I’ll admit that good self help books have changed lives, but I can see that there are a lot of fake “gurus” out there who are just trying to get money off of people’s misery.

Is there a way to differentiate between a fake guru and a wise person with good advice? I am not here to tell you how to do it, I just say that articles like “10 Simple Steps to Win the Life you Deserve” or lines like: “You can have your dream house and a happy family if you just think positive” seem unreliable to me. But, hey! Wait a minute! Haven’t I written an article called “Say no to negativity?” What happened? Don’t I believe in positive thinking any more? Just to make it clear, I never said that you must remain negative thinkers and for sure, I don’t underestimate the strength of being positive. I confess that positive thinking is my life philosophy, and that it has helped me more than once in my life. Certainly, I do not claim to be a self help guru, I am just a person saying what I believe.

I’m saying that just “being positive” alone can’t get you anywhere. You have to try to overcome the obstacles that come your way. Positive thinking is really helpful in dealing with everyday problems. But what if real hardship came into your life? Then, you have to change yourself. If you are a stressful person that panics at every little bad turn and you blame the lack of money, for instance, as the root of all your problems, do you really think that your attitude will change if you suddenly inherit a large amount of money? I bet you’d still be miserable!

So, life’s obstacles and difficulties…there is a subject no guru talks about. Difficulties – are they our enemy or our ally? Nature teaches us that difficulties may seem an “adversary” but without them we cannot survive. So, we may consider them an ally. Let me justify that.

Once, scientists wanted to examine a rare species of butterflies. They took the butterfly in the lab when it was still a chrysalis. As the chrysalis was fighting to get out of its follicle, a scientist thought to help her. The butterfly died… Not only did its life not get easier, but it couldn’t survive. Or, let’s look at trees. If you decide to plant a tree, you’ll put the seed in the ground. The tree has to push up to find its way out. In other words, nature tells us that difficulties are there for a reason.

And the question is: how can I change myself? Changing yourself is not an easy procedure. On the contrary, it is a procedure that lasts for many years, maybe for a lifetime. And certainly you can’t do it in one night, because of an article you read. But that’s what self improvement is about. It is a continuing fight to overcome difficulties and survive. In fact the “degree” of improvement is measured by the difficulties one person has come through and survived. Don’t get lost in the dreamland of positive thinking, and don’t be afraid to deal with the difficulties that rise in your life. As Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

 
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