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Staying on Top When Your World's Upside Down


Use adversity as a platform for change

Tác giả: Joe Tye

“Fate cannot be changed; otherwise it would not be fate. Man, however, may well change himself, otherwise he would not be man.”
Viktor E. Frankl: The Will to Meaning

No one has ever had their world turned upside down as radically and tragically as Viktor Frankl and the other victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Frankl went from being a successful psychiatrist with a busy practice to being an inmate in the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, where he saw death all around him, and knew that every day could be his last. In his bestselling book Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl wrote that the one freedom no one can ever take away from you is the freedom to choose your attitude, the freedom to choose how you respond to what happens to you

In the quote above, Frankl is saying that you cannot undo what has been done; you cannot undo fate. But what you can do is choose how to interpret it, and how to respond to it. You can choose whether to become a victim or, assuming it hasn’t killed you, emerge even stronger, as Nietzsche promised you would (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!).

As I write this, I’ve just had an email exchange with a young man whose eyes were badly damaged by a Lasik procedure; he is depressed and has been contemplating suicide. I shared with him the story of another exchange I had several years earlier with a young woman in a very similar situation. She almost took her life because the catastrophic Lasik outcome left her with severe and unremitting pain and untreatable vision anomalies. But rather than taking her own life, she started a nonprofit organization to help other young women understand that cosmetic surgery, including Lasik, would not help with self-esteem issues, and in fact could well make them worse (Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon who developed the concepts of Psycho-Cybernetics based upon his insight that surgery on the outside cannot fix problems that reside on the inside).

Whatever way your world has turned, and whatever emotional or physical pain you are suffering, the message is this: you cannot, perhaps, change that fate, but you can choose how you respond to what has happened. You can, as a result, become a stronger and more powerful person.

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