Returning From Rock Bottom

It was Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling who said:

“And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

This was first uttered when Rowling was working on Harry Potter, out of money, out of work and recently divorced.

Rowling reiterated this message in a 2008 speech at Harvard.

Rock bottom sure doesn’t feel good, but it IS good.

It means there is nowhere left to fall and all this wonderful space in which to rebound.

In doing research for my book, it amazed me how many people were this close to giving up when they felt they hit rock bottom, but they persisted and endured.

There is nowhere left to go but up.

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Help Putting Problems in Perspective

Here is a photo of the earth taken from the moon.

When we fly in an airplane even as high as 40,000 feet, we barely see the curvature of the earth let alone the entire earth.

When we are stymied by a problem in life, the closer we are to it, the harder it is to grasp the enormity of it and where it begins and ends.

People used to think the earth was flat essentially because that is all they could see of it.  There were no satellites or explorations that would indicate otherwise.

I find this helpful in dealing with problems.

When you know you have a problem, pull back and take a wider view – the wider yet, the more helpful.  I use this imagery because it helps me focus.

The closer we observe our problems, the more limited our ability is to solve them.

A bitter divorce is a battle of money, lawyers, court, custody and other things from close in, but from further back it is the inability of two people – sometimes because of their families of origin and no fault of their own – to work well together as a unit.

Pull back, observe, recalibrate thinking to take in the bigger picture.

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  • Thanks Jerry, This is so true. Often people tend to go inward and think “it’s only happening to me”. I’ve always tried to take a wider POV and found it much more helpful to solve any issue. It takes awareness and work.
    Your thoughts reminded me how important perspective is.
    Your Philly friend on the west coast…Bill O’Brien

End Suffering

Psychiatrist, neurologist and author Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time.

It’s deep, about his depressing and abusive incarceration in a World War II concentration camp and yet when I read it on the beach, I came away feeling uplifted.

What did Frankl make of the suffering he went through, how did he survive it and what it all meant when he was freed by Allied troops only to find his new bride had been killed in another concentration camp.

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

That Frankl could find meaning in sacrifice in a cruel world is uplifting to the rest of us wrestling with the ups and downs of our daily lives.

When all else has been taken away and we are in pain, Frankl is saying the freedom to “choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” is the thing that can allow people to overcome their challenges.

Today, can we take what is causing us pain and choose an attitude to give it meaning?

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The Secret to Living Well & Longer

It’s all here in one sentence:

“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.”  — Tibetan Proverb

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Become a Super Achiever at Work

  1. Everything you promise, deliver ahead of schedule.
  2. And beyond expectations (which means it is key to get others to talk openly about their expectations and then make a note of it).
  3. Be a good listener.
  4. Have the heart of a servant.  If you aim to please, you will be a rare person in today’s business world.  If the word servant turned you off just now, you may want to get your ego in check.  Humble people succeed more often than arrogant ones who often have a short shelf-life in companies.
  5. Readily give credit to others and back it up with evidence (examples).  People who recognize the work of others are almost indispensable.  Giving credit to others cost you nothing, gets you everything and requires no work at all.
  6. Be true to who you are.  If your values do not align with that of your employer, look for work where they do.  Don’t wait for the employer to make the move.

Being smarter than everyone else is not as important as working harder than everyone else, constantly focusing on achievable goals.

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