Staying Strong When Things Go Bad

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Tue 2013/04/23 20:04 JST in Japan


“Why, why, why?!” - I’m sure many of us have asked themselves this question at some point in their life when bad things happen. Sometimes we seek an explanation as to why something bad happened - an explanation may make us feel better.
When we can't find an explanation, we end up feeling worse. When that something is unfair, we also feel angry. Bad things are even worse when it’s related to a bond that you had with a person or an object.
  • Somebody stole something from you - why you?!
  • Somebody close to you stabbed you in the back - why you?!
  • Folks who you don't even know start to gang up on you either in real life or the net - why you?!
  • That project you are working on is going haywire all of a sudden - why you?!
  • You been studying all year and failed your exams - why you?!
  • You discover that you have an illness - why you?!
  • Your boyfriend/girlfriend dumped you for your brother/sister - why you?!
  • And so on and so on...
I have a very strong belief that things that go bad actually help you become stronger to prepare you for more of the same (or worse) as you continue your journey through life.
Life is like being the captain of a ship sailing the seas of life. Its not always calm seas and clear blue skies.
Its the first time you are facing a fierce storm. There is a huge intake of water, the rudder breaks, the mainsail is up when it should be down, you panic and you end up capsizing.
The following day, you find yourself on an island with your battered but repairable boat.
The island that you ended up on has scarce resources but you don't complain - you use your resourcefulness to make do with what's available.
In this situation, many people would start to complain and blame others or use the situation as an excuse to give up. A classic example is “I can't do blah because I don't have the money.”
Excuses like these are very easy to make and may make us feel better in the short term but in the long term its very damaging as we start to accept the situation instead of doing something about it.
Make do with what you have now - if you need more then go and get/make it yourself later.
Now back to that battered boat of yours. Make do with the resources you have on the island to not only repair but at the same time reinforce weak parts of the boat such as the rudder. You come up with a smart way to lower the mainsail even faster than before and before you know it your boat is ready to sail the seas once again.
You are back at sea continuing your journey through life and come across another storm. This time you are more prepared with not only an upgraded ship but with new learnings too - learnings that you would not have gained unless you went through that previous storm.
You dont panic like last time. You now know how to steer through a storm based on wind direction. You also now know that the wind and waves can turn shallow areas of sea into a more dangerous place than open areas as waves become more steeper and so on. You say to yourself “I can do this.”

Multiple bad things never happen at a time of our choosing

But as you battle with the storm, a giant sea serpent appears who likes the look of your boat and wants you for its 3PM snack. Now you have 2 bad things happening at the same time.
“This can't be happening! Why now?!”
All of a sudden it feels like something or someone really hates you. When more than one bad thing happens to you at the same time, its sometimes unbelievable and can take a long time to recover unless you are armed with the knowledge that all of this shite that is hitting the fan is for your own good - even though it may not seem so at the time.
The giant sea serpent takes a bite out of your hull and you capsize ending up on the same island again the next morning.
But this time you are armed with learnings from the previous time you ended up on the island. You fix your boat in less than half of the time it took and this time you paint your boat with a layer of poisonous giant red ant poo paste which may or may not prevent that giant sea serpent from trying to take a bite out of your boat - but you won't know until you try.

Bad things will always happen to you - deal with it

Stormy seas and sea serpents are not pleasant at all but there is nothing we can do to prevent them - its part of nature and will come back again and again.
In life, shite hits the fan and bad things happen all the time - but just imagine that nothing happened and that life was plain sailing - life would be dead boring and you might as well end up being a vegetable.
Everything may seem all lost when bad things happen but if you let go of that rudder and purposely let your boat go under then you are a gonner for sure.
I’ve been around for about 4 decades now and while life is not getting easier, I’ve gained many learnings to help me deal with many bad things that have happened in the past. The storms (bad things/challenges) are getting bigger but the rewards are getting bigger too but this is because I choose to upgrade my ship each time and fight the storm with new knowledge and techniques - instead of dropping everything and letting go.
As for illness - yep I have that too. I was depressed for a while but realised that being depressed didn't help the situation at all and decided that I needed to get on with life and make the most of it while I still can still walk. As soon as I decided to continue to live my life, my outlook on everything changed for the better and I'm able to forge forward.
As for the learning that I gained from being diagnosed with a sickness - I learned how to be positive in times of bleakness and its helped me continue until today and for tomorrow too.
Its very easy to just give up and when bad things happen, giving up is a way to prevent the pain from happening again. In the case of a once brave captain, she would steer the boat to the nearest tropical island and remain in that paradise of a comfort zone and die an uneventful life.
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with living an uneventful life - its absolutely fine for Harry or Sally but is it really for you?

Things going bad is necessary for us to learn and become stronger

Recently, something very bad happened in my life. And as with many bad things, it was so sudden and I was like WTF?!
I was initially in shock, angry and depressed for a while but soon back on my feet because I have a strong belief - things going bad is necessary for us to learn and become stronger. No pain, no gain.
This belief is not a religion that I hold onto hoping that things will turn out OK. Through past experiences of shite hitting the fan, I observe how I have adapted and learned to face similar bad shite. We all can adapt but only if we choose to. This belief has helped me get through *a lot* of bad shite ^^
Don't let the bad stuff that is happening to you drag you down through the depths of the ocean. Know that bad stuff is a necessity to help you grow even though it can be painful. With this knowledge in mind, you can get through anything. This knowledge has helped me and I know it will help you. I’m still mending from my wounds but at least my boat is chugging along and I'll soon upgrade it on my next stop with turbine engines and a titanium hull^o^
Stay strong and never loose focus. Don't let go of that rudder, don't let the ship go under.
As for the photos in this post - taken at various locations around the world ^^