You might think I’m mad for saying this, but I consider myself lucky. Utterly, ridiculously, almost laughably lucky. Why? Because growth isn’t served on a silver platter; it’s earned through sweat, tears, and times so tough they make granite seem like putty. Let me be blunt—most of us wouldn’t change a damn thing unless the universe kicked us so hard we didn’t have a choice.
Consider it a gift, this ‘no choice’ situation. Hell, I call it a ‘Gift of No Choice.’ I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if I hadn’t been paralysed in that diving accident decades ago. And I doubt I’d have the steel-edged resilience that’s kept me going. My loss of a computer shop? Another chapter in my book of bouncing back. No, it doesn’t make life less painful, but it sure as sugar shortens the suffering.
So, how do you grow in a life that swings like a pendulum between beautiful and brutal? I reckon there are a few ways.
To quote Jack Kornfield, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” When life is sailing smoothly, we float along like driftwood. But when we’re thrashed about by life’s storms? That’s when we’re forced to navigate. The harsh reality? You grow in ways you wouldn’t have if you’d stayed in your comfy armchair. You think it’s a punishment, but it’s really an initiation—a baptism by fire, if you will.
If you’ve ever heard of Richard Rohr, you’ll know he often speaks about the ego’s limitations. Think you’ve got it all figured out? Bollocks. There’s always another angle, a fresh perspective just waiting for you to embrace it. Read books that challenge you, talk to people who confront your viewpoints. Instead of shielding yourself from discomfort, welcome it. Why? Because an open mindset is fertile soil for growth.
Ah, the deep, tranquil waters of meditation—a sanctuary in a world of chaos. Yet, it’s not about escapism. It’s about diving deep into your own mind and coming back up with pearls of wisdom. Zen Buddhism emphasises the impermanence of life, echoing Alan Watts’ advice to “Let go of the illusion of control.” You want growth? Delve into meditation. In stillness, you’ll find the vibrant energy of change.
Do you want to be the driftwood or the navigator? Your circumstances—whether they seem fortunate or not—are your training ground. Don’t curse them; capitalise on them. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s damn well worth it.