Issue #7 - Don't Let Life Get You Down Before Reading This
Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world.
Whether you're looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you're in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of reading, I aim to expand your awareness through a quote and a piece of content that made me go hmm...
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"Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times." - G. Michael Hopf
How open-minded are you?...
To me, one of life's biggest paradoxes is that what we believe to be bad usually ends up being good, and what we believe to be good ends up being bad.
What on earth are you on about, Seb?
Take winning the lottery, for example.
Studies show that 70% of lottery winners end up poorer than before they won, and a third go on to declare bankruptcy.
Something which at first glance seemed incredibly positive ended up being someone's death knell.
On the flip side, have you noticed the common theme amongst many successful individuals?
There is usually a moment of intense trauma and pain, triggering introspection.
When Benjamin Franklin was ten, his parents could no longer afford to send him to school.
Walt Disney was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Star after the newspaper told him he didn't have enough imagination and creativity.
Three years before the release of the first Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling was going through a divorce, was receiving government assistance, and could barely afford to feed her baby.
On the surface, these situations do not seem pleasant. These individuals most likely felt hopeless, lost, and frustrated.
However, it's easy to forget that adversity is the jet fuel for change.
Through these feelings, emotions, and challenges, these individuals created change and became the widely-cited success stories that they are.
Ultimately, these once-negative experiences became the stimulus for their growth.
They battle-tested them, increasing their resiliency and helping them to define their values.
I'm going to throw out a contentious example...
Take Hitler. Of course, I would never wish something like WW2 upon anybody.
But we cannot discount the immense innovation in commercial products, advances in medicine, and the creation of new fields of scientific exploration, all because of the trauma humanity endured during WW2.
And more importantly, these traumatic events spurred a shift in consciousness and a rethinking of what we believe is morally right.
We reenvisioned and restructured our values toward human life, and, as a result, the Nuremberg Code was born– A list of ethical research principles, with the primary focus being that voluntary consent of the human subject, is absolutely essential.
As should be evident, not everything in the world is black or white. I'd even go as far as to say what's black is usually white.
This brings me to...
Insightful content which made me go, hmm...
A few years back, I stumbled upon one of the more thought-provoking talks I've had the pleasure of listening to—a talk between Gabor Maté and Tim Ferriss.
Although Gabor and Tim explored an array of subjects during the discussion, there was one particular quote that grabbed me.
It is a bit of a meaty quote, but I would say this quote has had a greater impact on my life than any other:
"Your conflicts, all the difficult things, the problematic situations in your life are not chance or haphazard. They are actually yours. They are specifically yours, designed specifically for you by a part of you that loves you more than anything else. The part of you that loves you more than anything else has created roadblocks to lead you to yourself. You are not going in the right direction unless there is something pricking you in the side, telling you, "Look here! This way!" That part of you loves you so much that it doesn't want you to lose the chance. It will go to extreme measures to wake you up, it will make you suffer greatly if you don't listen. What else can it do? That is its purpose." - A.H. Almaas
It can be easy to become complacent and let our emotions get the best of us. As a consequence, we fail to take ownership of the things that happen to us.
When confronted with a challenge, we don't tend to respond to reality but rather our perception of reality and the accompanying feelings.
Our ego and inner demons cause us to perceive the event through our past. Often unearthing anger, frustration, sadness, hurt, etc. As a result, we put up internal barriers in an attempt to lick our emotional wounds.
However, if we can maintain confidence in ourselves, believing the world is here for us, we can objectively view reality as it is.
Rather than automatically perceiving a challenge as negative and against us, we would look at the situation through the lens of a student, asking ourselves, "What can I learn?"
No matter what you are going through, positive or negative, don't pass up the opportunity to learn.
“Life is the only real teacher. It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfillment, then elderly people would all be happy, But the lessons of experience are hidden.” - Dan Millman, "Way of the Peaceful Warrior"
Life is always giving us what we need. However, sometimes, we just have to shift our perspective.
There will be times we feel hard done by, challenged, and frustrated, but as Almaas points out, this is simply "The part of you that loves you more than anything else has created roadblocks to lead you to yourself."
To summarize, don't take life's challenges with a grain of salt. Use them to create change, learn from your mistakes, and distill down what you value in life.
Next time you're going through a painful period, don't let life get you down. Step back and look at the big picture. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this situation?"
In turn, I am confident that positive reverberations will emerge from your situation. As they say, "it is always darkest before dawn."
Alternatively, if everything seems to be hunky dory, don't become complacent. As Mark Twain once said:
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. I hope you found it insightful.
I always welcome feedback and thoughts. So, do not hesitate to respond to the newsletter email, comment on the article or reach out via Twitter.
The future is bright!