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How to Overcome Harrowing Adversity and Successfully Rebuild Your Life

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Does the following sound familiar to you? You feel trapped in your life. You try so hard to keep it all together, but nothing seems to go your way, and no matter what you do, those dreadful events keep on coming. Because of this, you have no motivation left to get up in the morning. You isolate yourself and don’t want to see friends or family because you just don’t want to endure this life any longer. If this describes you, I know exactly how you feel!

As Abraham Hicks would say, “For good or bad – when it rains, it pours,” and for many years, my life was a never-ending tropical storm. I lost both of my parents within one year of each other and had no family left. A few years later, I lost my business and all financial assets during a nasty divorce. Two years later, my 10-year-old daughter disappeared. 

I immigrated to Canada in 2004 to start all over, and due to fraud, I found myself with no income, effectively homeless, and potentially $150,000 in debt. I literally drove myself insane looking for the “good” in all of this because like everyone says, it all happens for a reason and always for the better.

It was more than I could endure or so I thought. People often feel defenseless against adversity — they suffer in silence, live hopelessly, and lose the ability to control their own lives.

Adversity is one of the leading causes of homelessness, depression, drug addictions, and suicide; it ends someone’s life every day! I knew my life was spinning downwards fast. It was time for a change and probably my last chance to take action. It is always so much easier to tell others what to do, but the time had come when I had to accept the challenge and get back on track by practicing what I preached. 

I recreated a happy, successful, and fulfilling life for myself again —while knowing that whenever the next hit came, I could manage it. It was not easy since I was only accountable to myself, and yet I saved my life. I proved that it can be done and the strategies I’ve learned and passed on to others do work.

Here are four strategies that I used to overcome adversity and rebuild my life that can help you too:

1. Work with your feelings

Don’t take adversity personally and see yourself as the victim. You may think that life has conspired to hurt you, but the truth is that it’s never about you! You are not a failure. 

Everyone experiences adversity, and you’re part of the majority, which makes you a regular person. And when “it” happens, accept it and stop looking for the good in the bad; there is none. Searching and not finding it will just worsen how you feel, trust me…I have been there!

Remember, whatever happens is not the problem because your emotions are. If you are the person who makes a tiger out of a cat, then you will have to deal with that tiger. Feeling pain is a normal part of dealing with adversity, yet suffering is optional.

It is useless, unhealthy, and destructive in itself. Just feel the pain the moment it happens, and then allow it to pass. Most importantly, realize that you’re going through a tough time, not toward it.

“Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” – Marta

2. Don’t isolate yourself

Realize that you’re not alone, so let friends and family help you. Sometimes people around you don’t know what is going on in your life and how they can support you. Don’t be shy, and ask for help.

Talk about your situation with people who care and hear their opinions; sometimes we just can’t see the obvious. Also, stay away from toxic people. Instead, add positivity in your lifethrough optimistic people, events, and places. It’s important to understand that people are happy to help you. Don’t forget that!

3. Take action toward a better life

Now that you have your feelings under control, acknowledge your situation. What is really happening, and what is the worst case scenario? Write down what has happened to you and what you want to happen; put it on paper, and make a plan.

Acknowledge your strengths. Look back on things you have accomplished. Do you see all the fantastic stuff you are capable of? Thoroughly check your resources and what is available to help you reach the next step. Address your needs and take care of yourself. Do something good for you and your soul.

Now is the time to set goals and be the creator of your new life. Be prepared for the next attack, which will come without fail, and brave it with determination. Most importantly, realize that change for the better will come one step at a time. Just keep on walking, and keep your target in sight!

 “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost

4. Maintain a can-do attitude 

Stop being a victim, and take control of your life. Remember, it is not the event that counts, it is how you deal with it.

There are two elements of utmost importance when fighting adversity:

  • The love for yourself – If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect that someone else does? Not loving yourself has its roots in the past, but whatever it was is gone and will not come back. Instead, every new day is a unique chance for you to create something beautiful in your life. 
  • Your attitude – Your thoughts will eventually create words. Your words will create deeds. Your deeds will soon become your habit. Your habit will eventually form your character. With the right character in place, you can face anything. And that is important because the next hardship will come.

Are you ready to take control and create a life you love? Aren’t you tired of regularly cleaning up the broken dishes of your life? Isn’t it exhausting to feel defenseless, hopeless, and afraid? Don’t give up control of your life by feeling sorry for yourself and risk depression, homelessness, drug addiction, and even suicide.

Start taking control of your life today. Set big goals, chase your dream, and rebuild your life to experience happiness again. Go out and create your own success story, so you can achieve anything you desire.  

Have you ever hit rock bottom and had to rebuild your life? How did it go? What did you do? Share your ideas and stories with us below!

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5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom

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At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.

My journey to rock bottom

I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.

I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long. 

Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name. 

I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.

I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.

I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.

I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.

I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

The climb out of rock bottom

I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.

Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.

Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:

1. Failure isn’t real

There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.

2. You’re not stuck anywhere

If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!

3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway

Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

4. Everything is temporary

The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.

5. You have great power over your life

I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.

No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it. 

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How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need

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Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.

As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly,  Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.

5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity

Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.

1. Improves Your Attention Span

There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.

According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.

2. Increases Neuroplasticity

For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.

Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.

Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.

3. Sharpens Your Memory

A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.

A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.

The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.

4. Improves Cognitive Thinking

As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.

To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.

One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.

5. Reduces Stress

Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.

Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life

My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.

The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.

Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:

  • Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
  • Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
  • Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
  • With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
  • With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
  • As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
  • Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..

A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.

Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.

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This 5 Minute Test Will Instantly Change Your Life

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Twelve months is too small for a life plan. The moment you understand this, the new year celebrations become a cliché. Success in life is always a build-up of several years of consistent “little” progress. The new year celebration is for gratitude, not for life planning.

People often overestimate what they can achieve in a year. But they greatly underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. I discovered a whole new way of making progress in life quite recently. It was from the story of how a friend of mine made her most profound life progress yet. It began with a simple test that can change your life.

My friend was working in a small non-governmental organization that year. She was unsure of how to go forward in life. Life was looking scary and she was getting confused. Then, she attended a conference and took a simple test that helped her change her life. 

Here are the 5 questions you must answer in the next 5 minutes:

1. What do you want to be doing (as work) 10 years from now?

Forget about today. Forget about next year. Let us go a bit further into the future. This question is not asking what you think you will be doing in 10 years. The question is asking what you would like to be doing in 10 years.

Saying that you want to be traveling around the world doesn’t count. Even if you plan to retire by then, you still have to be doing something to be responsible. To be doing nothing is to have no reason to be alive. Other people must feel your impact in some way. So, add 10 to your age and write down what you would like to be doing then.

My friend wanted to be working with top international organizations like the UN. She wants to be winning grants and handling big projects in her field. What is yours?

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

2. Who is doing what you want to be doing in 10 years?

Believe it or not, there are people that are already living at least a similar version of your dream today. Do you know them? If you think there aren’t any, I challenge you to get on the internet and find out now. 

Try as much as possible to find at least five names. Write only people whose life conforms to your answer in question 1. For my friend, she realized most of those she knew who had this life were in professors in academia. Go out and find your potential mentors today!

3. Identify (from the people you listed) who you need to become to get to your dream

It became clear to my friend that she ought to aim at becoming a university professor. Interestingly, she had always wanted this but never gave it attention. There is a person you’ll need to become to make your dream a reality. Until you identify who you need to be to have the life you want, your life will be without focus or direction. Who have you identified you need to be?

4. What job, work or responsibility will put you on a straight path to becoming who you’ve identified in question 3?

For my friend, she instantly knew she should be seeking a job opportunity at a University. It was the straight path to rise through the ranks to become the person she desired to be. Now, it is not about money or the pressure of getting something worthwhile to do. She had a clear target.

Becoming who you need to be will require that you have some experience credentials. You will get that experience by working somewhere. This is about handling a particular responsibility where you grow and develop. You need that job or responsibility that will put you in line to become who you need to become. So, what is that job for you?

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah

5. What is the training that will qualify you for the job in question 4?

My friend already had the training and qualifications she needed, so she took off with finding the job she had identified. It took about 3 months of researching job opportunities and taking very bold steps prior to landing the job she wanted at a university.

Most people need some amount of training to land the job they have identified. Work training has become easy today because of the internet. There are myriads of training opportunities that exist in any field you can think of. If you can’t afford the ones you are seeking, I can assure you that there is a free one somewhere that can get you started.

In the professional line, many schools around the world now offer online degrees. In the gig economy also, there are lots of training by experts in various spheres. There is no way you won’t find an online course that is right for you. 

Is a particular training coming to mind right now? Take action on it immediately! The training gets you the job. The job makes you into the expert. Search out the training you need and take action immediately!

Conclusion

Once you identify the training and start it, you begin working your way from question number 5 to question 1. From the training, you get the job. From the job, you grow to become an expert or authority in the field. From becoming an expert, you will be free to live the way you want.

For some people, this can indeed take 10 years. But for most, it takes less than that to get to question 1.

My friend is now transitioning from the job to the expert. She made new changes after reevaluating her goals with another test. She recently quit her job at the university to get a more ambitious job in a bigger city. And yes, it is with an international organization.

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