Growing up a middle class family, I never felt I was missing anything. We always had Christmas presents. There was always food on the table. I could join sporting teams and given every opportunity the privileged 15% of people in the world get to experience.
Later in life, when I realized how privileged Americans were, I began to wonder what it must be like to be someone who wakes up to wonder if they would have food to eat, or where they might be sleeping. In our privileged culture we have the opportunity to experience such disparity by choice. That is, if a person over-extends themselves or entrepreneur experiences a venture collapse lifting oneself, or a family up from the bottom can be a traumatizing experience, but we still have the opportunity to do it again.
Anyone who’s trekked into the landscape of creating their own way, developing new ideas or companies, and mastering new ways of doing business will eventually encounter a roadblock, hit a wall, even experience complete destruction of well-thought-out plans. Every entrepreneur knows of the risks involved. It is often said, if you’re not ready to lose it all, you won’t have the strength to make it through. Those who’ve ever accomplished anything had to encounter pitfalls and failures. The failures, however, are not failures of self, but only lessons to direct the next step.
There are hundreds of examples. Here are a few you may or may not know:
~Soichiro Honda’s unique vision got him ostracized by the Japanese business community.
~R.H. Macy had a series of failed retail ventures throughout his early career.
~Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding a fried chicken empire.
~Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”.
~After Harrison Ford’s first small movie role, an executive took him into his office and told him he’d never succeed in the movie business.
~Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.
~A young Henry Ford ruined his reputation with a couple of failed automobile businesses.
~While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years.
~J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first “Harry Potter” novel.
(Business Insider online 2016)
These pitfalls are part of the process. Through my recent encounter with failure, I discovered the truth of what I’ve spoke about as a teacher. If one has access to water, the battle is half solved. Having access to water and exercising is the foundation for a healthy life. Food can be found. In Hawaii, you can find many wild edible plants that are healthy and medicinal. Maintaining a healthy mind through it all is what keeps you going. It means letting go of attachment and expectations. Maintaining physical and mental health really is the primary force for living well. From there, one can use the strength to create anew.
I see many people with lots of “things” who can barely move and seem so uncomfortable in their body. In this fundamental knowing, I see the stark contrast of how we’ve created living in this material world. People who are fit and at their natural body weight do not need to each so much. It is the nutrient density of the food that determines the quantity. Wise ones know this. I eat a simple dish of dark greens and find fullness and vibrancy. If we as a species moved into this simple wisdom all our problems would be solved, but gluttony and external gratification have become the teaching methods of the young, so much so that there is a generation of people who know nothing else. It is also these attachments that puts stress on the one attempting to lay it on the line and risk it all for a new life.
Those who’ve been stripped of external things either move into wisdom or panic at the loss, and fall victim of ego control. Drugs, alcohol, complaining, and blaming will only continue the experience. A strong person can say, thank God I have the ability to make new choices, and I will start with the choice to appreciate my body and my ability to learn.
Helen Keller is one of my inspirational mentors. One of her many quotes: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
So if you find yourself in a state of deconstruction, read the stories of those who’ve been through it. Keep your head up. You’re not alone. There is a lot of deconstruction happening these days throughout the world. Cry when you need to. Let it out, then lift yourself up. Pray regularly and look for the signs. Perform a ritual to shed unwanted energy. Burn some sage around you and your home. Love yourself. This too shall pass.
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