The resilience of the human spirit is something to marvel at. Across the globe, every day, every person is fighting a battle. For some, the skirmishes are small and minor, first world type problems. For others, it’s outright war, for other still, it is literally life or death.
It is in the midst of the depths, in the horrors of a concentration camp, we get the meditations of Viktor Frankl, on man’s search for meaning. We get the counsel of Nelson Mandela in the long walk to freedom. We get the journals of Ann Frank. Glittering diamonds of insight and wisdom buried amongst the dark dirty coal, or perhaps, forged from it, from years of pressure and hardship.
I get into impossible situations, I have friends in impossible situations, every day is a battle to not lose hope, to last another 24 hours. It seems like all doors are closed, like there are no good options. The perpetual assault on mind and soul can leave one dark and hopeless. I never know what to say to offer comfort. I can only think to tell them what to do. And what to do might be simple, like endure it, go through what you must but stay sharp to the slightest opening, to the slightest opportunity for escape for change. But the fact that it’s simple, does not mean that its easy.
It is fortitude and persistence that keeps us going at these times.
On a long enough timeline, you can innovate your way out of any problem
I heard that quote about two years ago and its stuck in my mind. I think I heard it from Tai Lopez, and it is attributed to Jeff Bezos, but I’ve never found any reference to it online. Regardless of its validity, I think about it a lot.
It encourages one to always think in the long term, to consider the overreaching arch of our intentions and our actions. We may be pressed to the wall today, but we can slide inch by inch, day by day and eventually break free and launch our counter attack.
But you have to be patient. Even when it seems like everyone is moving but you, even when it seems like you take two steps forward and you get smacked ten steps back. You have to be persistent. You cannot give in.
Life isn’t fair. For some people it moves along breezily with no real challenges, for others, it’s a brutal grueling grind. I don’t know who allocates luck or who deals the cards, all I know is you play the hell out of the ones you’ve got.
It is okay to be mad. It is okay to be angry. It’s fine to slip into depression. Sometimes we must retreat into the darkness. The anguish at rock bottom serves to hurt us, to break us open, to loosen things, to refine us. The trick is not to let it consume us so much that we get swallowed in it. We can embrace the darkness and its lessons, but we cannot allow it to take root and take over our hearts. We must hold on to the light, we must hold on to hope.
The main battle ground is the mind, and it is enemy territory. It is often an unruly beast fighting against our control. But the harsher the outer environment, the more we must cultivate our inner garden, our inner citadel, our stronghold. You have to protect your mind, you have to feed it the right things. You have to practice, memorize, affirm. Your imagination must become stronger than the reality outside you. Channel your emotions, channel that anger.
And then you must act. Relentlessly, persistently. You push, you make the moves, you go for the interviews, you improve, you get better, you gain skills, you feint left, you pivot, you switch it up, you keep trying and trying, chipping away, building, brick by brick, tap by tap, stroke by stroke.
Until you break through, until you get what you want.