No one can win fighting against Life.
A young man we had coached a few years ago pinged us saying he was in town and wanted to meet us. We caught up for coffee.
When he first met us in 2012 he had an alcohol problem, his wife had left him and he was out of job. He looked every bit the way he was feeling then – beaten by Life – and he was low on both confidence and self-esteem. But when we met him last week he was looking very different – he was glowing, it appeared as if he had grown younger and, important, he radiated happiness.
As we got our coffees, he said, “I am still struggling to land a job. I still have not found a companion. But I have stopped drinking, I have stopped pitying myself or blaming others. I have made peace with my imperfect Life. I have learnt to be happy despite whatever is happening in my Life!”
This young man has unlocked Life’s secret to happiness. He’s discovered that Life can be spectacular even during a crisis. In the Life coaching conversations we had had with him, six years ago, we had shared our learnings, from our own crisis (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal). We told him that he must not fight Life; he can’t hope to win fighting against Life. No one can. So, acceptance is the key. Accept your current reality, go to work on changing it, but work without any expectations. Only then can you be really, truly happy.
Vaani and I have seen this from our own experience. Of course, like everyone else, we too began by setting conditions on our Life. We said that we will be happy if we get this or that, if our problems are solved or if we get all that we want. But we soon realized that Life has a mind of is own. It just keeps on happening – in its own inscrutable way. So, we reckoned, as long as you keep insisting that Life listens to you and gives you all that you want, you will be unhappy. We looked around us and found that it is in this state that some people feel depressed or some lean on crutches like drugs or cigarettes or alcohol. And others turn angry and violent. But Life is not bothered about how you are feeling or what you are doing to yourself. So, in effect, you are fighting alone and are fighting a battle that you will never win. So, we concluded, why fight? We simply accepted our Life for the way it is and surrendered to its Masterplan. To be sure, our problems have not vanished. But our ability to deal with them has improved greatly. Important, we have learnt to be non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering.
We have learnt that all of Life’s problems fall under two categories. One category is those that you can solve with your intelligence and initiative. So, why worry or fight those problems? But there are other problems that will solve only in their own space and time – no matter how hard you wish, work or pray. So, why worry or fight those problems again? Just accept them for the way they are. Acceptance is the key to happiness. Acceptance does not mean inaction. Acceptance means dropping a wasteful fight. It means trusting the process of Life.
Our young friend, like Vaani and me, has understood this truth about Life. And that’s why he’s glowing, he looks younger, he’s quit a ruinous habit and he’s happy despite his circumstances. You may want to consider this perspective we share here – simply accept your Life for what it is, no matter what you are going through. Then, you too will discover that Life can be spectacular through a crisis!