Sometimes life is unfair. We didn’t plan on that part, Right? Actually we cannot! Like Mike Tyson once said- ‘Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face’. Yes, Life is going to challenge you sometimes. When it happens you have a few choices, deny, hope or thrive!
Today, I want to tell you two stories. That’s it. No big deal, just two stories.
First Story – The Boy From Manhattan
The first story is about a boy from Manhattan, New York. His father was a renowned actor and a filmmaker. As a child, he was literally surrounded by drugs. His father, a drug addict, gave him the permission to use marijuana at the age of six. What are the odds of this boy living a normal life? Not surprisingly, he began using drugs and alcohol day after day. On the bright side, during his childhood he made tiny appearances in his father’s films. In his teenage years, he got real lucky and had some mind blowing opportunities in movie industry. In a quick flash he became one of the best-loved kid in Hollywood.
Ringing any bells? The boy I am referring to is none other than Robert Downey Jr. or for easy to grasp let’s say The Iron Man.
Despite his active drug and alcohol addiction, Robert Downey Jr. made a name for himself as a young actor in mid to late 80’s. But unfortunately drugs landed the troubled actor in a drug rehab programme as a part of court order. In 1988 the spiral went down and down when he was send to prison for heavy substance abuse. That was a mistake that have to be punished. But for Downey Jr. the prison culture was really hard and concurrently eye-opening! He spent almost one year in prison and came out as a whole new person. Everything was different afterwards.
What changed Downey Jr.? There is actually a term called post-traumatic growth – and it refers to the personal growth that comes from experiencing a crisis. There is one other term called phoenix phenomenon, suggesting that a new life arises from the remains of old way of being.
You need to know what to do when the sun is not shining – Robert Downey Jr.
During his tough time in prison, he accepted his flaws and transformed himself to a whole different level. Slowly he took a giant leap from forgotten star to a passionate successful Hollywood actor. He worked really hard and as a reward the biggest role of his career came in 2008’s Iron Man. That movie spawned sequels and eventually became linchpin of the astronomically successful avenger franchise. With a whopping $80 million dollar salary, Robert Downey Jr. later became the highest paid actor in the planet.
That was one heck of a Hollywood comeback story, right guys?
Second Story – The Butterfly
Second story is about a butterfly! OK, don’t judge me yet!
Once upon a time a man found a butterfly that was starting to hatch from its cocoon. He sat down for some time to watch how the butterfly struggles to force out itself through the tiny hole. Feeling extremely unhappy, the man decided to help the butterfly out. He took a pair of scissors and cut the remaining bit of cocoon. With his help, the butterfly effortlessly managed to get out of it, but with a swollen body. The man waited for butterfly’s wings to turn large and watch it fly away. But it never happened! The butterfly kept crawling around for rest of its life.
Despite the man’s kind heart he didn’t realize that the restricting cocoon was in fact an unavoidable struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small hole. This was nature’s way of forcing the fluid from its body into the wings to prepare butterfly to fly once it was free. If you never struggle, you will never grow! A caterpillar, which is not something incredibly gorgeous, get wrapped itself into a cocoon and there the ultimate suffering happens. This is the very same place where the butterfly creates its eyes, wings and body. But remember, it has to go through that process – the ultimate struggle.
Face the fact! it doesn’t matter you are a Hollywood superstar or tiny butterfly, everyone is suppose to struggle in life at some point – because of their own reasons and in their own way. You cannot learn without experiencing the pain, and success is how high you bounce back when you hit rock-bottom.
I am going to tell you something we don’t want to hear, it is guaranteed that we are going to struggle in life, like the butterfly did. But so often we don’t know the fact that these struggles we go through will take us to our absolute beauty. Hard work is the key to success. But it is not always only hard work alone. I don’t think there are no other qualities so essential to success of any kind as patience and perseverance.
Anybody can work hard for a month or a year. But slogging away for years? That is perseverance. Perseverance is doing something despite difficulty or delay in success.
It’s important to face life struggle
From a research, scientists found that up to 70% of people experience positive psychological growth from their hard times. For example – a deeper sense of purpose, a greater appreciation for life and loved ones, and an increased capacity for altruism, empathy and desire to act for the greater good. We must learn how to thrive in the face of adversity! We can learn how to change and grow no matter the obstacles we face.
Go out there, face your fears and challenge your own obstacles. Be your own hero. To the victim, adversity is bad but for a warrior, hard times are life’s precious times for self-evaluation, growth and opportunity. Would you rather be a victim or a warrior? And remember behind the clouds, the sky is always blue!
Let’s hear it from the Manhattan Boy himself –
Remember that just because you hit rock-bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there. – Robert Downey Jr.