A mix collection of inspirational stories gathered from the internet and personal experiences.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rest but don’t quit

Illustration by REY RIVERA
I think that all good, right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that all good, right-thinking people in this country are fed up with being told that all good, right-thinking people in this country are fed up with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am. — Monty Python
The “I am fed up, I want to give up” syndrome is a “now you have it, now you don’t” virus. You and a lot of other Filipinos are in attack mode once again as you experience setbacks or crisis situations — big or small — in your personal or professional life that put family members, friends, jobs and businesses in serious danger. These recurring circumstances make you go through persistent psychological stress and possibly temporary paralysis, spoiling your joy of living, your hope for progress, your determination to get moving, and to the extreme, your will to live.
The PDAF and DAP, Yolanda and Glenda, rice and garlic shortages, everyday traffic experiments, overcrowded railway transits, tandem crimes, political bickering that heats up by the day, corruption in high places of government, the increasing unemployment rate, rising population, and deteriorating family relationships are just a few of the things that suck the joy out of life. You can’t help but wallow in a world of growing skepticism and cynicism.
So what else is new? The interminable barrage of misfortunes, potholes, detours and roadblocks have been with you for years on end, unceasing, and seemingly hard to dismiss. “Only in the Philippines,” as you are wont to say, which is quickly countered by “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”
So what do you do? Give up in the face of all the frustration, fatigue and sense of failure? Or remain a cockeyed optimist, see the bigger picture, and continue to search, and hopefully discover the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? If you ask me, I will opt to fight the fight. Shake off the dust and dash. Take a few lessons anchored in patience, perseverance and professionalism. Keep them in mind every time the symptoms of the debilitating “I am fed up, I want to give up” syndrome starts nibbling at your heels.
Make your own luck. “Inspiration is one thing and you can’t control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. Good luck means hard work. Keep up the good work,” American jazz and fusion guitarist Kevin Eubanks declared. You should not sit around waiting for fortune to smile upon you. Claim your own destiny by sticking to your guns. Forget about bemoaning your “bad fate.” Life has more to do with how you deal with a “moment of truth” than what the moment of truth is. President Aquino is asking his allies to wear something yellow to show their continued support amid the challenges facing his leadership. Or you may have business partners running away with company money. Sickness or disease may incapacitate you. Your riches may turn to rags with one phone call or a stroke of the pen. When things don’t go your way, take charge of the situation and work to revert it. Kismet doesn’t just happen to the fortunate. It happens to those who act with determination.
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Nurture the word “possible.” As newly canonized saint, Pope John XXIII said, “Consult not our fears but your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” Perseverance is the cousin of possibility. You should not give up even when your relatives tell you you’ll never make it. In fact, you should turn that into a challenge to pursue your dreams. The pessimism of others can dampen your spirit, or deflate your optimism.
Let not failures send you home with your tail between your legs. There are no impossible dreams, only people who do not have the drive to search for the silver lining. It would be best to patiently write down the lessons learned from every failure, and from there, take one step at a time to continue the interrupted journey. No matter what happens to you, someone has to endure a far greater trial. As a friend spiritually mused, “Show me a person without a pair of sneakers, and I’ll introduce you to a person in a depressed area with no feet. Identify me a country forever threatened by calamities and poverty, and I’ll remind you of war-ravaged Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq. Name me an employee who hates getting up every day at five in the morning, five days a week to report for work, and I’ll lead you to a young adult who would give his soul if it meant being able to sit up from his bed of his own free will.”

Train your energies towards positive thoughts and deeds. This may be difficult, considering all the negative occurrences around you, putting your already frayed nerves through more serious tests. But why dwell on negativities? They can only attract other gloomy consequences. Unless you actively envision a Philippines where good things happen regularly — and where Filipinos aren’t out to backstab each other or pull each other down like crabs — you can’t realistically expect anything to the contrary.
Actively filter out the cheerless and dispiriting stuff we’re exposed to.  Kidnappings and drugs happen. Graft and corruption occur all over. Factories close down. People lose their jobs. Trees get uprooted, houses collapse and crops are destroyed. But you can agree that more good is happening to you than bad. Tune out at some point, and plug into positive thoughts that bring hope and aspiration for a happier life. “Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind,” influential philosopher Aristotle pronounced.
Respond to rejection with renewed resolve. Don’t allow rejection to put you in a paralyzing mode. Instead, use it as a platform to prompt you to strive even harder toward your goals.  As pop sensation Taylor Swift declared, “You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses that you never thought you’d experience. You have rejection and you have learned how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it.”
You can counter disappointments with a strategic and creative roadmap for success. Look at every rejection, not as a stone wall, but a stepping-stone that can bring you to greater heights.
Harness the power of proclaiming, “Yes, I can.” Do this each time you start a new endeavor; conquer your fears and insecurities as you reassure yourself that you can surmount the challenges you confront now and in the future. As self-improvement motivator Israelmore Ayivor said, “You can’t do anything unless you allow your passion to motivate you. People may tell you, ‘You can do it,’  ‘You can make it,’ ‘It’s possible,’ but when you tell yourself always ‘I can’t make it’, it’s your choice that rules everything.”
Keep raising the bar of professionalism. As you achieve the goals you set for yourself, don’t rest on your victories. Up the ante, set the standards higher and aim for greater success. Life is an unending journey of hurdles, but also of fruitful completion. We get better and better as we fail. But fail fast, learn from it, pick up the pieces, succeed, and succeed some more. “My idea of professionalism is probably a lot of people’s idea of obsessive,” American film director David Fincher said.
Make a resolve to patiently persevere towards your dreams. Develop the professionalism to turn them into reality. You must love yourself. You are defined by your uniqueness — a diverse individual with the ability and passion to think and act and live as you want. Of course you’ve had moments of tears and joy, triumphs and defeats, but no one can rob you of the free will to avoid sadness, dread and negativity, and lead your life to happiness, passion and positivity. Actress singer Julie Andrews enthused, “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”
Never, never, never give up on yourself. Get tired of being angry, tired of being fed up and disappointed. Defeat the “I am fed up, I want to give up” virus. “If you’re tired of facing challenges in life, learn to rest, not to quit,” poet Nishan Panwar averred. At the end of ityou’re never considered a loser until you quit trying.

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