The power of YET

Yes. You read it right. Three letters, one word. And yet it changes a whole paradigm.

“I don’t get it”

“I can’t do this”

“This doesn’t work”

I’m sure we’re all familiar with those moments of uncertainty and feel that life’s such an epic failure. If you’ve ever been there or are in this situation now, take a deep breath. Take your headset, go someplace where you can find tranquility or even just go for a walk…think about the three statements above but add YET at the end of each sentence.

It may not be easy, but it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be able to beat the challenge.

Two of my fave people (who sadly have passed away), to me are the best examples of resilience and strength.

Steve Jobs founder of Apple, tells us why we should never cut down trees in the winter time when he says

Never make negative decisions in the low time.

Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.

And Stephen Hawking, former professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time paints resilience through,

One, remember to look at the stars and not down at your feet.

Two, never give up work. Work gives you purpose and life is empty without it.

Three, if you’re ever lucky to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.

And when we’re at the lowest point in our lives, don’t forget the three letter word that can change everything and the power of YET.

Kick ass 2

It’s the first time I’m giving a second “kick” at random thoughts on this topic as I attempt to wind up my posts of Relative Joys on resilience and strength.

1. See failure as a beginning, not an end.

Some things are just not meant to be. Deal with it. No use crying over spilled milk. If at first it does not succeed then try, try again. We’ve heard these lines before and they remain relevant till today.

2. If you don’t go after it, you won’t have it.

Chase your dreams, no matter how tough it is. Having a goal (but let’s stick to being realistic) is better than none. You don’t want to be called a deadbeat or a leech, so stop acting like one.

3. Always do more than what is expected of you.

Sometimes we just give what we want. Well, hell yeah – that’s all we get paid for! We’ve always hated the class “show-off” or the kid that raised his hand after each teacher’s question or the guy at the office that the boss could rely on during crunch time. Guess what? That’s your fault. Stepping up to the plate means doing much more than what’s in your job description. The boss always prefers a team player.

4. Assume nothing and question everything.

Never believe in everything you hear. Yep! People always promise everything. They’d even tell you that they’re Moses and you’re off to the Promise Land. They just say that to F with your head. And I’ve been redundant saying “no greater fool than the fool that was fooled by a fool”.

5. Make peace with the past or you’ll pay for it.

It’s never good to cling on to what was and can never be again. Let it go for God’s sake. Dwelling on the past is detrimental to both physical and mental health. Forgiving and forgetting is not as easy as it seems but letting go of what was is forgiving yourself.

6. Stop thinking so much and start acting.

I know people who just keep thinking about the WHYs in life. Questioning on why their plans have been stone walled, why things aren’t working their way, why life is not fair. They’re called signs. There are signs that are written all over the wall! If you can’t see it, you’re still in a stage of denial. Slap yourself and move on. You cannot do if you do not move.

7. Never compare yourself to others

Envy is the harbinger of greed, graft, corruption and evil. You know why people get involved in shenanigans? It stems from envy. These low life appreciate only how green the grass on the other side is. The Americans call it “keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome. I call it pure envy. Appreciating what you have and living with what you have, is called contentment. Doing good should make us sleep better at night.

8. Teach others what you know

The greatest leader will always be the one that creates a greater leader. Teaching has always been my cup of tea. Sharing your time and knowledge is irreplaceable and unmatched. As they say, you reap what you sow.

The Oprahs of our Lives

Born in an isolated farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1954, this iconic woman had a difficult childhood. The story of her life is an inspiration of resilience and strength.

Born to unmarried parents, she was shuffled to a ghetto in Milwaukee at 6 years old and then lived with her father in Nashville at 12. The poor, urban lifestyle exposed her to repeated sexual abuse by men that others in her family trusted.

Today, Oprah, in spite of her difficult childhood is one of the wealthiest women in the US and the highest paid entertainer worldwide. But her story is not about just working her way to the top. Along the climb, this woman is substance has reached out to countless nameless people who needed help. Her generous contributions to charitable institutions and organizations has endeared her to people and has served as an icon for hope in spite of life’s challenges.

Philanthropy is not everyone’s cup of tea. And while there are philanthropists in our midst, not everyone starts from rock bottom and has had changing moments in their lives. Those changing moments provide one the true impetus and opportunity to extend help to our fellow men when we can. While helping our neighbors is not an obligatory act, the act of sharing the largesse for the greater good is a defining moment when we extend help to those in need (in any little way we can). After all, it’s been said that “to whom more is given, more is expected”.

Charity does not have to be announced with all pomp and fanfare. The daily kindness we share in our own little way to people who need that helping hand goes a long way.

We don’t have to be AN Oprah in life in order to make things happen. In order to make this world a better and inspiring place. We can all be LIKE Oprah in this world. Helping people who fight their battles on what is right, just, and true – in our small ways.

One day at a time. One step at a time. One moment at a time. Together, we can all make those small differences a large matter. Because this is who we are. People who are strong in spite of the odds.

Strong is all you can be

“Life’s not fair.”

It’s a usual shoutout we give when we’ve been used, abused, betrayed or face tragedy.

We can react in two ways – lose hope and fall into self-destructive habits or use the challenge to find our inner strength.

It’s important to remember that we can never let fear decide our fate. Doing that allows the oppressor to bully you. Let go if you must. Forgive when you can. Forget, no matter how difficult it is, because it’s the real act of forgiveness to whoever has hurt you and yourself.

We’ve all read, felt, and shared stories of resilience on social media and among TV, movie and reality shows. The inspiring stories of our fellowmen’s resilience at the lowest points of their lives and the opportunities given to them by kind hearted people show us that there is kindness and love and hope in a world that’s strangely evolving into so much cynicism. After all, most of the characters have less in life than many of us.

The ultimate challenge today is to share more of the paradigm on strength and resilience rather than abuse and bullying. The rudeness enveloping much of society today is like a highly communicable viral infection that must be contained. And eradicated. While we are so passionate about curbing crime, we seem to shirk at the thought of combatting those who put people down.

I believe, that while we all have personal battles, I have always said, that there are those we need to walk away from because it’s a mountain that’s not for us to move. As for the ones we can, let’s move this.

The Phoenix Zones

Suffering is real. Recovery is hard.

There’s no such thing as a free meal in life.

But resilience is real as well.

In Greek mythology, the Phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates and lives again.

Dr. Hope Ferdowsian writes about the Phoenix Effect and building Phoenix Zones to overcome the challenges of our time. By combining studies on survival and resilience, Ferdowsian takes us to the places where the “injured can heal and thrive if we attend to key principles:

– respect for liberty and sovereignty

– commitment to love and tolerance

– promotion of justice

– fundamental belief that each individual possesses dignity”

Associated with the sun, a Phoenix obtains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessors.

Like resilience, we rise from our ashes. We die with the decisions we make in our lives based on these key principles pointed out by Ferdowsian. We die a little each time we fight for our rights and other people’s justice that is rightfully theirs.

Remember: the ones who said you couldn’t do it are watching.

We either fail miserably, or rise like the Phoenix.

Stories on Resilience and Strength

Falling and failing will always be life’s greatest teacher. It is from these failures we learn to rise up to the challenges. It makes us stronger and hopefully, better in a good way.

The older we get, the more challenges come our way. Even when you’ve supposedly “retired” from the humdrum of life, life has a way of finding a lemon to throw your way. In reality, life doesn’t get easier. We just get stronger.

This month, I write a few more stories on resilience and strength and the relative joy of people who have gone through hell and found heaven at the end of their journey.

To my followers, thank for for having over 5,500 views and almost 3,500 visitors since I started this blog 3 months ago in a little room in Tokyo while finding my relative joy with my family. I am grateful for the “likes” and the “shares”.

Some people asked if I could venture into a more political slant and rant. I told them that this blogsite is not themed for that purpose and because there’s really so much negativity already out there, I’d like to share a more positive mindset. Besides, politics is not my cup of tea. Staying focused on the central theme of this blog site would also help me achieve inner peace and settle my mind into achieving life’s relative joy.

I draw my strength from the lessons and decisions on the road less traveled. And I am always excited at starting all over again.