I work with Strugglers. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it but looking back, I can’t avoid the conclusion. And I’m not complaining – it seems to come naturally and I enjoy it.
Now the Strugglers don’t enjoy it all. I’m talking real struggle here, not just the occasional late night or weekend at the office – that kind of struggle can be quite fun, particularly when you know you’re going to succeed and the get the result you want.
I’m talking chronic, life-sapping, relationship-killing, what’s-the-point-of-it-all, terminal struggle. The kind that makes you forget what it’s like to get up in the morning full of energy, expectation, excitement and joy at what your life has to offer.
Some of you will have been there. Some of you are there. And here’s what I think you need to know, based on my own struggles and those of fellow Strugglers…
But just before I get there, I need to make a couple of things very clear.
Firstly, believe it or not, some chronic Strugglers don’t want to change. They are comfortable in their misery and nothing (yet) is going to wean them off it. I say yet, because it is only a matter of time before the pain begins to outweigh the comfort of identifying with the struggle.
Secondly, when your identity is borrowed from an idea of what you are, challenging that idea is akin to attempted murder, or at least GBH, of the ego. So if you feel that your long-term, painful and unfulfilling struggle is justified and right and proper, do not worry that I’m going to fly in and deprive you of it. You have every right to struggle for as long as you wish. Just be aware that it may not be sustainable.
So, finally, here are the things that Strugglers need to know:
- You are not alone
- Your struggle has nothing to do with your circumstances
- It’s your choice – you have absolute discretion over your struggle
And that, dear Strugglers, is all you need to know to transform your struggle into a life a meaning, fulfilment and achievement (or Freedom, Purpose and Profit as my little tagline goes).
It really is that simple… I said simple, not easy. Though it doesn’t have to be difficult, unless you prefer it that way, which, as an experienced Struggler, you probably do.
Let me expand a bit to make it as clear as possible:
- You are surrounded by fellow Strugglers that keep their struggles to themselves. Why? for exactly the same reason that you do.
- We all love to attribute the way we feel to circumstance – particularly the (dreadful) behaviour of others. This is the biggest mistake a human can make. And if it were true, we would all react in the same way to every adversity.
- The way we feel is our choice. As soon as you relinquish that power by blaming anything or anyone else, your emotions become like a cork in a storm. We can choose how we feel, if we really want to.
And what all this boils down to should be of huge comfort to any professional, dyed-in-the-wool Struggler:
To transform your struggle you do not need to change your circumstances – you only need to change your mind. And if you take care of your mind, your circumstances will look after themselves.