Regardless of the situation you and I are in right now, it’s better than the worst. Believe me, it could’ve been much worse. Humans have the tendency to magnify circumstances beyond proportions the moment they experience change, discomfort, or a setback.
If you’ve lost a job recently — I can empathize. I know there are bills to be paid and a family to be fed. It’s a mess and you’re convinced things couldn’t have been worse. Trust me, you wouldn’t have been able to do all that you want to do right now if were dead. Everything boils down to perspective, and here’s one I learned from John Maxwell — “there’s always an answer.” We just need to look for it.
The prerequisite to finding your answer depends on how quickly you can suspend your judgments and negative thinking so you can focus on what’s positive and are able to leverage the opportunities in front of you. Which may mean going back to being an intern for a little while so you learn new skills, create and build relationships until things become normal or you find a suitable job, whichever is earlier. Perhaps, you need two or three of such internships to make ends meet?
I heard John share a story about his father, Melvin Maxwell (who sadly passed away at the ripe age of 98 a few weeks back), who took up three part-time jobs during one of the economic depressions in the 1960s. His father was able to get food on the table for the family when everyone else were struggling to survive. How? By simply focusing on what he had to offer — help — to the ones who needed it. For free. The beneficiaries couldn’t pay him but always remembered him. So, when a paid opportunity came by, Melvin was the first person on their mind. Why? Because he went out of the way to serve them.
It’s important to note that Melvin stayed positive throughout because he understood that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how they think. Successful people never think it’s all hopeless. There is always something that can be done. It may not be the most desired but it’s still better than nothing. So, it’s important to make the most of what’s at hand than worry, whine, and complain about what’s not in anyone’s control.
If that’s too archaic for an example, let me tell you about my friend, Mukul, who was made redundant in February this year. The timing was horrendous as the world was waking up to the pandemic and everyone around him were being made redundant too! He couldn’t have hoped for the worst — he had bills to pay and a family to feed. What did he do? He got creative and started to pitch himself as a freelance copywriter while looking for a full-time opportunity on the side. He took on projects from referrals and freelance marketplaces regardless of the pay. His focus was on volume — more projects would lead to more money, enough to pay the bills and feed his family. Sure, he didn’t have enough to live his normal lifestyle but he was content with what he had realizing that most people didn’t have the skill he had developed over the past several years while he was working for his former employer.
At the beginning of this month, he was hired for a 6-month contract for a massive ad agency as a copywriter. The pay is more than double of what he was making per month! Sure, not a full-time opportunity but does he need one? He’s essentially created an opportunity working on small projects that essentially offered him peanuts. But instead of worrying about how “low” the pay was for the efforts he was putting in, he focused on increasing his output because that was in his control. That along with managing his lifestyle helped him eventually get a breakthrough.
Of course, this isn’t typical. Most people give up or get frustrated when they don’t “see an opportunity coming.” But we know opportunities are like gold mines, we have to go out and look for them. The mines won’t come to you. For my friend, not giving up hope and utilizing his existing skills were the answer. For the several millions who’ve been effected, the answer might be something else. Some have gone all into YouTube or Twitch to become full-time content creators, some have gone out of the way to teach, counsel, and help others in need. I know a friend who asked her community to support her during the crises and guess what they did — bought her e-courses and coaching services, fetching her more than a $6,000 in just 2 months!
What mattered the most in each of the cases is that these people never gave up hope and kept looking for answers that helped them get their lives back on the track. Was it easy? No. Simple? Definitely not. But they kept at it because the alternative was to give up hope and perish. That’s what positive thinking does to you — gives you hope and direction amid chaos. You’ve just got to believe that it works.