How do you handle adversity?

“To not give a f**k about adversity, you must give a f**k about something more important than adversity.”

Mark Manson

Happiness is a problem

When you hear the word Buddhism, what immediately comes to mind? For me it’s peace and serenity. Funny that when Buddha sat under a tree for 49 days, he came to the conclusion that life is a form of suffering. So how does a religion based on the premise of suffering, evoke images of calm and tranquility? Because one of the founding principles of Buddhism is that when we accept that pain and losses are guaranteed then we let go of trying to resist them.

If you have ever practised meditation then the concept of resistance will be familiar to you as you learn to watch your thoughts instead of interfering with them. Trying to be happy all the time will create insurmountable resistance, it is like using a bucket of water to put out a house fire. You could spend hours filling the bucket and chucking water over the towering flames or you could stop your pathetic attempt to solve the situation and dial up the fire brigade.

Do you feel that once you get that promotion, that pay-rise, that good-looking boyfriend or girlfriend, you will be bestowed with happiness and euphoria as a gift from the heavens. No single event can lead to permanent happiness and the belief that if I achieve X then I can be happy is false.

It’s refreshing to speak to or read about people you admire. You will learn that their lives are still full of turmoil, pain and sadness. Aim for purpose rather than happiness. Injecting heroin is a good way to achieve happiness, haven’t tried it but it’s not something I would recommend.

Everybody enjoys what feels good, not everyone is willing to suffer and struggle for a better life. With Summi, I have written nearly 25,000 words and read countless books, many of which are available to you on the website. Since March, I have made a grand total of £0.32 from Summi. Choose a struggle rather than a victory. Instead of what you would like to succeed at, what would you tolerate failing at? Summi could be shut down tomorrow; I am still a more knowledgeable, refined and skilled individual than I was before. Look for a way to become a better person through your endeavours. Appreciate the struggle as well as the reward.

You are not special 

Any problem you are having right now, with almost certainty, there will be people who have had your problem, are currently facing your problem or will encounter your problem in the future. It’s one of the main benefits of reading books: you find the solutions to these common problems. Despite your problems not being unique, it does not take away from the grief you experience, rather that you are not special or entitled to special treatment.

Your girlfriend or boyfriend can break up with you, yes it hurts and you will feel empty and depressed but millions of others have gone through that experience. To then claim, that you deserve counselling, antidepressants or two weeks off work is delusional. There are people in this world who do not have clean water. There are people in this world who are starving. There are people in the world that when they get ill, it could be their last moments on this planet because they do not have access to medicine.

Our problems are often trivial compared to what the rest of the world goes through on a daily basis, yet we want all the support and the rest are expected just to get over it because they are ‘poor’ or living in ‘developing’ countries. Love Island received 4178 complaints this year for issues such as ’emotional trauma’ and ‘discrimination’. 632 viewers complained that Laura experienced emotional trauma after Idris told her that Jack kissed Georgia. I wonder how many women in Saudi Arabia would claim ’emotional trauma’ when it is nearly impossible for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse to obtain justice because the police often insist that women and girls need to obtain their guardian’s (male) authorisation to file a complaint – even when the complaint is against the guardian.

Defining good and bad values 

Firstly, good values are reality-based, which means they need to be achievable and suitable to you. Chris Sacca, an accomplished investor, company advisor, and entrepreneur, wears cowboy shirts everyday. That’s one of his values and he has his reasons. This does not mean that you should start wearing cowboy shirts as well.

Secondly, good values are socially constructive, for example, honesty is a socially constructive value because it benefits others as well as yourself, and to realise how important honesty is imagine if everyone lied. You would not be able to get anything done. Your friend would say he’s meeting you today and stands you up. Your boss tells you that you are finishing early instead you are finishing 2 hours later than usual. Your girlfriend tells you she loves you, but really she hates you. Money would be worthless and life as we know it would collapse.

Finally, good values are controllable. You decide whether you want to be honest or not. You may be tempted to lie, especially when the truth may hurt, but deep down you know what’s right.

You are always choosing 

We can not control what happens to us. But we can control how we respond. When we get rejected for a job, we can either get upset and give up or we can keep trying, gaining more experience and tailoring our CVs and Cover Letters.

We can always choose our next move.

“The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it”

Mark Manson

Further reading

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