It was 8 PM. I was riding Toronto Subway from Spandina to Lansdowne. As reminisced through all that had taken place during the day, I started to notice some hand unusual hand movements of the woman sited across from me.
“Don’t be like your dad, ” she shouted at her three year old son, who was trying to free her grip, wanting to walk in the train.
“Men are monsters,” she shouted, at this time everyone in the train cargo was looking at her.
“Andrew, you are a monster.”
“No, ” her son freed himself, “you are a monster.” In no time the train was in Dufferin, which was her stop. She left quickly holding her son and shouting at him. As she left the cabin and as the doors closed I wondered why she has so much bitterness, I wondered why she repeatedly called men “monsters”. Could she had a divorce or separation. I empathized with her situation, whatever it was that she was going through it must have been a tough situation.
That night, as I thought through this incident, and wondered what could be that that made that woman to be so angry at men, I remembered how it is to be in the path of a monster. It was a time my father and I encountered with monster, a very hungry lion in the bushes of Kenya.
It was on a Saturday morning and the shimmering rays of of the sun hit ground with promises and peace. We had come to this part of Kenya to see our piece of land. We had camped for the night at an old school.
“This are hyena’s footsteps, ” my father told me as we started to walk into the bush where our land was supposed to be located, he lifted his hands towards Mount Kenya and asked the Creator to protect us.I had seen him say this kind of prayer a few times in my life, all those times were times when he and us were going through some difficulties; so I knew he too feared for what might happen.
As we walked further into the bushes we saw deers, giraffes, and herds of Zebras. All was calm but not for me, I feared a lot; I wondered why we had come here. I knew my dad had the best intentions to show me a piece of land that he had purchased but I could not reconcile why it had to be in wildlife environment. Without asking many questions I just followed him. For over an hour we went around the bushes, we could not spot the piece of land, then my dad remembered, “let us go that way,” he pointed,, we started to walk. After a hundred or so meters we saw a clearing and a water pond. As we walked towards the water pond we saw zebras, deer and antelopes have their mid-morning water drink, then my father stopped.
“Let us go that way, ” he changed direction, ” it should be somewhere near here.”
We walked a little further the direction he was walking, again he pointed.
“Our land is here, ” he stopped, thanked Creator again facing Mount Kenya.
We started to plant some trees that we had brought with us, then we started to hear roaring, loud roaring. We both knew it was a lion roaring, but thought it was either chasing a giraffe or just roaring to declare its territory, we continued with planting trees. But the roaring started to grow louder and louder, we could now hear it coming towards us.
“Let us ran, ” dad told me.
The more we ran the more we could hear its roaring getting louder, “I can stay behind to die….you are young you need to escape the danger, ” dad told me. As we ran through the bushes we met with a Saburu herder, he had a herd of cows crossing through the grassland. We raced around him, and past him. Then stopped to catch breath, at this time the roar was less, we continued to ran, until we could hear the sound anymore.
My escape from the lion encounter help me appreciate every opportunity I have been given to live, I see that I was given to see today for a reason.
My story has something to do with the story about the woman probably encountering a situation where she feels like encountering monster or monsters in her life, what we have in common is that monsters are real; they can be inform of persons, a challenge, an emotional experience….whatever it is it can make our lives overwhelmed and in some situations very, very painful and for some, they may feel feelings of numbness, apathy, depression, fear, loss of hope and death may seem as the most logic way to slay the monster.
But what I learnt that day when I encountered with the lion, and any day I have felt like another monster is out to kill me is that there is still a door of escape waiting to be opened.
In those moments when monsters are facing you, please remember:
- Acknowledge that failure is part of the process.Failure is a natural part of growth. When you struggle to make a project work the way you envisioned it, it is a sign that you are stretching yourself. If you were able to achieve every goal you set for yourself with little difficulty, that’s an indicator that you’re playing it safe, and not pushing yourself. Seth Godin, 18-time best-selling author notes, “the person who fails the most wins.” It’s not because failing is glamorous. It’s because each time something doesn’t work, you learn. Each failure will bring you closer to solving the problem you’re tackling. You gain insight into what resources are needed, what approaches work better than others, and in what areas of your plan are most vulnerable. As a result of this learning, you can tweak your plan of action, for better results the next time. James Dyson went through 5,127 failed prototypes of his vacuum cleaner over fifteen years before he got to the one that worked. It was prototype number 5,128 that launched his billion dollar technology company.
- Embrace who you are and all your humanness. Self-doubt plagues us because we desperately want to be somebody we’re not. I often want to be perfectly disciplined, for example, and when I’m not I come down hard on myself. The key, I’ve found, is to remind myself that although not perfect, the person I am is pretty darn great. I just need to embrace the reality that I’m not always as disciplined as I’d like to be. And I also need to remember that I have had many successes in my life. (Just like YOU.)
Let your emotions run their course. Breathe, stretch, curse, scream, cry, laugh, sing, meditate, exercise to release endorphins, read a book, punch your pillow, vent to a loved one, etc. Do whatever it is that you need to do in order to clear your mind. Take a deep breath and let out all emotions related to the setback. Refrain from bottling up your emotions. Trust me, I’ve been there one too many times and it has never resulted in anything good. I promise you’ll come out of this feeling a lot better.
- Let it go.You can choose to let it go and move on. The reality is that life is filled with peaks and valleys and we don’t know when we will experience the good times versus the bad times. Disappointments and setbacks are part of life and it really isn’t personal. It is important to get to acceptance fairly quickly because having negative thoughts about your experience will consume you. For me, it took many years of practice to just let things go. I would replay the negative thoughts over and over in my head often questioning each action I took. It was unhealthy and never solved anything. I learned falling into the negative thought spiral made it more challenging to move on from the situation. Now when I experience set backs, I know I have a choice to either take it personal or accept the experience, learn from it and move on.
- Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary.Your big breakthrough will come when you recognize that all your inadequacies, all your limitations, and all your failings, losses and setbacks, are only temporary. And once they pass in the real world, they’re prolonged existence is simply an artificial reality you cling to with your thoughts.
- Know that nothing is too hard for God.When faced with an enormous obstacle, it’s easy to fall into the error of believing that the obstacle may be bigger than God. Yet we know that’s not true in our hearts; however, our actions of unbelief and doubt reveal otherwise. We must stand firm in the faith that God is who He says He is—the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Nothing is too difficult for our God to help us overcome.
- t’s not true in our hearts; however, our actions of unbelief and doubt reveal otherwise. We must stand firm in the faith that God is who He says He is—the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Nothing is too difficult for our God to help us overcome.
- Find gratitude in the present moment.This always sounds at bit cliché – promoting gratitude as a universal solution – but the reason it’s always mentioned is because it works. Even after a loved one passes, the actual present reality of our lives without this loved one isn’t unbearable unless we compare it to the impossible fantasy of them still being alive. The reality is, we still have our own lives and our health and passions to explore… we still have other wonderful family members and friends who love us… and that’s just the start of things to be grateful for. Now, this reality isn’t always full of happiness – sometimes it has unpleasantness – but you can embrace that too, instead of wishing it matched up with a stressful fantasy.
What helps you persevere and bounce back from life’s setbacks? How do you motivate yourself through difficult situations on a daily basis? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights?