“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” — Oscar Wilde
I will never forget this feeling until the day I die. They say that you should trust the journey in life, but on this particular day in 2011, my life had crumbled apart. I was on an airplane heading to Madrid and I had literally just lost everything. My business came crashing down. My wife left me. I lost my money. My friends. My home. And all semblance of my sense of self. It was gone in a plume of smoke. And I was there, left to pick up the broken pieces.
Every attempt to dull the pain didn’t work. Alcohol. Pain killers. Sleeping pills. None of it. All I could think about was, why is life so hard? Why are we constantly in a state of struggle, battling to keep our heads about water? And, why oh why does it always seem like bad things continue to happen over and over again? I asked myself these questions on that flight, but then repeatedly in the months following the epic and catastrophic meltdown that was my life.
How did this happen to me? Why did I let things get so bad? What did I do to deserve this? These were the questions racing through my mind at a million miles a minute. On that flight, all I could pray for was disaster. Every bump of turbulence was welcomed. I hoped and wished that plane would plummet to the ground, abruptly putting an end to my life and all the pain I was drowning in. Those were selfish wishes. Not because I wanted anyone else hurt. Only because I couldn’t bear it any longer.
You see, I had been on life’s incessant rollercoaster ride. I experienced the ups and downs and constant gyrations that sent me on the rollercoaster ride of success and failure. Maybe it’s just me. My personality. Too sensitive. Too giving. Too kind and caring and willing to give the clothes off my back to help someone else at my own expense. But in my own spree of selfish, yet unselfish behavior, I lost all understanding of what it really meant to be alive, to be present or be grateful for anything whatsoever.
Why Is Life So Hard Sometimes?
When life crumbles all around you and you’re left to pick up the broken pieces, life can seem so hard. Like a war, you’re constantly battling armies that invade your territory from every angle. And as this crescendo of noise and fear and anxiety peaks, all you want to do is run and scream. But here’s the thing that most people don’t realize. Sure. Life can be hard sometimes. No one ever said it would be easy. But it is worth it.
Let me explain.
On that plane ride to Madrid, where I was heading towards an impending doom and to play out my eventual demise, I had no idea what life would have in store for me. Over the next couple of months I continued to literally self-destruct. It was an epic display of alcohol and pain killers. I just wanted to dull the pain. I remember how much I prayed during that time. I was so lost. So broken. In shambles. Unable to see the proverbial forest through the trees.
After another night of partying until my face fell off, I woke up with this strange feeling inside of me. I turned over and heaved. I ran to the bathroom, thinking I was about to throw up the evening’s boozy contents, and what I saw stream out of my mouth shocked me. It was blood. Flowing like a crimson river from my mouth like vomit. Dark red filled the toilet. I could almost smell death. And I panicked. All of a sudden, I felt dizzy. My head was spinning and I hit the concrete on the bathroom floor.
When I came to, I realized something. Clearly, I was killing myself. But did I really want to die? All of those wishes for my impending death seemed to invalidate themselves. Right then and there, I knew I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live. To experience what life had to offer. Something drastic needed to change. I knew that. But I also knew it wouldn’t be easy. I had to change everything. To rearrange my entire life. In short, I needed help. And I also knew I had to go home.
Months after I arrived in Spain, I headed back home. I wasn’t ready to die. I wanted to live. To experience life. God was carrying me. I knew it. There was no other explanation for that time. Nothing else could have changed aside from God in my heart telling me that it wasn’t my time to go. There was something I had to do. I wasn’t sure what it was. Had no idea what would come next. I just knew that this couldn’t be it. This wasn’t the end.
Sometimes You Need A Hard Reset
As a software engineer and so-called techie, I knew that I needed what we call a hard reset. There were bugs in the code. The software was flawed. Everything that I thought I knew and loved and wanted was flipped upside down on it’s head. I remember heading back on that plane not wanting to die. That was something. I knew that life would be hard going forward, but I also knew that I wouldn’t give up.
I couldn’t give up.
I just needed a hard reset. I needed to change my ways. My habits. My obsessions. I needed to stop doing the things I had been doing. It was a cry for help. But I knew that the best person that could save me was God. So I prayed and prayed and prayed. I woke up every single morning at 6am and went to a church just to pray to God. Please save me. Protect me. Comfort me. Show me the way.
And he did.
The next years of my life were like a spiritual awakening. A miracle. Everything changed. There was this renewed sense of spirit. A drive that turned on. The flame of hope had sparked into a conflagration. And everything changed. Everything. Every part and piece of me experienced and evolutionary upheaval. It’s like I left that old person back in Spain and was born again. Sounds strange. I know. But that’s precisely how it felt.
You see, here’s the truth. Life is hard. It’s not easy whatsoever. But no on ever said it would be easy. But it is worth it. I knew that there was something waiting for me in life. I knew that everything I ever wanted would eventually come to pass. I just knew it in my heart of hearts. For me to give up right there would have ruined every beautiful experience that I’ve been blessed with since then.
No. That wasn’t the end. It was a rebirth.
A new beginning.
5 Reasons Why Life Is So Hard
If you are struggling with something right now in life, and you’re questioning your very existence, then my heart goes out to you. It truly does. I know that pain so well. When everything around you comes crashing down, all you want to do is self-destruct. But you know what. Something you don’t realize is that you were meant to walk this path. You can’t understand it right now. But I assure you, there will be a rhyme or reason for it one day.
Take solace in the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That pain will manifest into something extraordinary. This is not the end. It’s your chance to start again. Fresh. New. From the beginning. To rise from the ashes like a phoenix. It’s not time to give up. You can’t give up. Yes, life is hard and it won’t get any easier. Understand that. Embrace it. Welcome failure and pain. Because it will build you up and make you stronger.
1. We are emotional beings
As humans, we are emotional beings. We are wound up like a coil, just waiting to spring based on pre-conceived notions, generalizations and perceptions. If we think that something should affect us negatively, it does. The truth is that we don’t always look for the silver-lining or the best in a situation. We simply react based on emotions. Remember, the heat of the moment can burn you for a lifetime. And it often does .
Of course life is hard when we’re simply in reactionary mode. How can we attempt to do anything with a level-head when we’re simply a slave to the emotions brewing in our minds? Those emotions make us over-spend, overeat, over-drink, and overindulge in just about anything. And of course, businesses feed on these emotions and play into our underlying psychology in places like casinos where oxygen is pumped into the air and vibrant colors are used to make you spend more.
2. We hinge our happiness on others
Life will always seem hard when we hinge our happiness on the others. Whether that’s a spouse or a friend or someone else, happiness is not sourced from other people, it comes from within. Of course, that’s easier said than done. It’s hard to be happy when you’ve based your entire existence around the presence of someone else in your life. Or on their overall happiness. Even worse, when that person makes your life more difficult, it’s hard to keep your sanity.
So how do you extricate yourself from a situation like this? It’s not easy if it’s become habitual behavior. But you have to find happiness from within. That’s the only source of happiness. No person or money or thing is going to make you happy. It just won’t. It might last for a few days. But after that, when the feeling subsides, you’ll want something else. It’s a constant Hedonic Treadmill that we’re on. Find a way to break free and find true meaning in life if you want to overcome this.
3. We don’t realize how much effort things take
I’m the first person to tell you that things are hard and they take a long time. Nothing is easy. Nothing comes simply. It takes hard work and effort. Blood, sweat and tears don’t even aptly describe the amount of effort certain things take. Have you ever seen that meme where there are two miners digging, and one just gave up before he struck gold or diamonds or whatever? That’s just the way life often goes. We work so hard and then we give up, even though we could have been so close.
Sure, things can seem incredibly difficult when we’re constantly jumping from one shiny object to the next. How can we expect to have any peace of mind when we take on one opportunity after another, thinking that they’ll bear fruit, but we give up too soon and try the next thing? You have to put in years and years of effort to see the overall products of your work. Success takes time, but as long as you don’t give up, anything is certainly possible and achievable.
4. We are constantly struggling with criticsm
We all struggle with criticism. I know this has plagued me in much of my earlier life. I wonder what people will think of me. What will they say or feel? Why do I even care? Shedding this skin was hard. While we’re only human, you can’t expect life to be easy if you’re constantly worrying about what others think. This is deep-rooted into our culture and our society, but it needs to be something we extricate ourselves from.
You can’t be happy or sated if you’re worried about the opinion of others. You simply cannot be. It just doesn’t work like that. Finding a way to break that cycle is hard. But I have found one thing that works well. Take the one thing that you’re deathly afraid of, that you think people will criticize you for, and go do that one thing every single day. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at it. With practice, everyone improves over time. For me, it was doing my podcast. What will it be for you?
5. We have impending fears that often overcome us
We’re all afraid of something. Whether it’s the fear of being broke, losing your loved ones, or anything else for that matter, each of us is plagued by fear. Oftentimes, we fear things that we know will be painful. That’s natural. But how do you overcome something like that? Obviously, life is cyclical. Bad things happen. Even to good people. Does that make life any easier to know? Of course not.
In order to truly break free of fear, you have to accept that things are outside of your control. But you also have to shift your focus. Remember that like attracts like. If you think negative thoughts, you will attract negative circumstances. There is pure power in your thoughts. So if you keep your thoughts clean and have a positive outlook on life, fear won’t pervade your mind as much. And when it does, cast it out like an exorcist casting out demons.