When Life Gives You Lemons…
No one likes to deal with obstacles or face hard times, but it’s a part of life. The way we handle ourselves in the face of those obstacles determines whether we are swallowed whole or transformed by them. They say, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Unfortunately, that’s not always true. For some, what doesn’t kill them can make them bitter, or jaded, or fearful…
But not us. We turn lemons into lemonade!
When faced with obstacles – let’s call them lemons – we all get to choose how we respond. We can look at the lemon, and knowing its flavor, complain of its bitterness. Or, we can see an opportunity to make a tall glass of ice cold lemonade! It’s our choice! And what we choose means everything! Our response is the difference between whether we learn the lessons available to us or find excuses not to.
So what stops us from making the best of things and overcoming adversity in our lives?
The belief that life is supposed to be fair.
Internalizing the belief that life is supposed to be fair causes us to feel a sense of entitlement that can weaken our resolve and cause harm to our mental wellness. Besides the fact that our ability to recognize fairness is limited by perception – an understanding based only on the partial knowledge of a complete truth – there’s nothing to support the idea that because we exist, we’re owed a certain way of life or special treatment. Accepting that we’re owed nothing frees us from taking offense when things don’t go our way and gives us greater strength to overcome obstacles as we work hard to create the life we desire.
The belief that it someone else’s fault.
When obstacles come our way, we’re sometimes tempted to place the blame elsewhere. This person did this, that person did that… If we want control over our life and destiny, we have to accept control at all times. When something’s amiss, it’s always our responsibility. It’s by accepting this level of control that we find the motivation, innovation and full presence of mind to effectively handle difficult situations as they come our way.
When we fail to accept control over our circumstances, we limit the power we have to transform them. Instead of complaining, we should motivate ourselves towards action and innovation.
We can do this by…
Always take responsibility.
No matter who’s at fault, if we’re part of the situation, then we’re ultimately responsible for how that situation affects us. This is the mindset that allows us to better see the road ahead and the decisions that present themselves with more clarity. If we don’t like what’s happening, do something about it. We must always be aware of the power we have to create, shape and influence our circumstances. And that having such power ultimately makes us responsible.
Thinking like a warrior!
A warrior never loses in his mind. No matter how the deck is stacked, he sees only his inevitable win. Like a warrior, we must reject excuses. Valid or otherwise, excuses are nothing more than placeholders for regret. When the obstacles come, we must be ready, and we must believe that we can and will overcome them.
Making necessity is the mother of invention.
The greatest motivation is when our backs are against the wall. It creates a need that fuels creativity like nothing else. We can and should use this to our advantage. Creativity unlocks opportunity like little else. The better we get at using creativity to challenge our obstacles the easier it will be to overcome them.
Life comes with no guarantees except the ones we make to ourselves – and keep! The more we realize the power we have to design our lives, the more conscious we’ll be of how we think and react to situations seemingly out of our control. Turning lemons into lemonade is not about performing miracles, it’s about accepting what is – both the circumstances as they are and the power we have to change them.