How to turn every challenge into an opportunity
The one simple answer to the above all encompassing quasi-life guidebook is the word perspective. We are born, we live, we die and during the course of our earthly existence we encounter hurdles, injustices and obstacles that seem insurmountable. I can definitively tell you that from the many challenges, fair and unfair, that populated the path of my 50-year life, the only event that we as humans are currently unable to overcome is death. There is no other scenario presented to man, that with perseverance and an alteration of positive perspective will change for the better. This statement as loose as it may sound scientifically has an empirical basis in material science in which the object-subject relationship is a dynamic entity in which one can affect the material constitution of the other by simply shifting the relative perspective. The experiments carried out over the last decade focused on the measurement of material density in controlled lab circumstances in which the relative position of tangible objects were systematically altered and their density coefficients measured. What these studies simply demonstrated was the arbitrary and misleading nature of the object-subject dichotomy, in contrast to the reality of the more fluid like nature of matter and energy in which nothing is resides in a fixed state and the only constant to be expected is the lack of constant.
These basic experiments in physics have immense implications for the study of human experience and specifically the manner in which ostensible tragedies are dealt with. For example when I was fourteen my mother died suddenly and the following morning I had a conversation with myself during which I accepted that the loss was tragic but I had a choice. That choice was either the experience of loss would overcome me or that I would take the experience and use it as a stepping stone over which I would get stronger, grow and become successful. Naturally I made the latter choice and from that point in my life I never let the loss of my mother hold me back from pursuing my dreams and goals. In fact in many ways and in what might seem slightly odd to those that have never suffered a parental bereavement, there was an incredible sense of liberation that emanated from losing the most important person in your life, overcoming your greatest fear and knowing, without question, that there would never be another life challenge that you would not be able to overcome and succeed. In the psycho-emotional processing of this incident I also acquired the ability to turn the loss of my mother into the platform of life opportunity from which I was able to reach once unimaginable heights of professional success. I often liken this experience to that of the jeweler examining his finely cut diamond from one angle and perceiving a very unique view that changes drastically when he alters the angle of his perspective.
Life is not what happens to you but how you deal with it that counts, and this is all that you will be remembered for. People will talk about the solution more than the problem, and will be simultaneously intrigued by the strategy shown in overcoming the challenge and the character of the man that orchestrated the deft move. Life is often likened to various martial arts but the one which I believe which most accurately reflects the counter forces of life is judo in which the defining tactic is that of using the momentum of the attacker to the advantage of the attacked. Similarly by studying the form and function of the energy dissipated by the aggressor, allows the individual under attack to gauge his counter attack, which occurs most effectively when he positions his perspective of the attacker in such a way that the attacker becomes a part of the energy flow coursing at right angles to the view of the attacked. Although seemingly complicated as described in words, what this strategy achieves is to alter the balance of power in favor of the attacked.
The judo analogy operates rapidly with only a few seconds to assess and react, in contrast to the challenges of life, which decidedly require patience, and self-control to ensure the right moment is seized thus ensuring the best possible outcome.
Chess is the obvious example that is frequently applied to the game of life and the conversion of difficulty into opportunity requires forethought and most critically out-thinking your opponent. The fast learner will rapidly assimilate the key strategic moves of his opponent, as in life the habits, arguments and tools of gamesmanship if easily detected will weaken the individuals overall strategy. One of the central defining characteristics of the successful chess/life player is the ability of self-control, and this same quality works advantageously in the game of life in which it is important to conceal intention and emotion lest they reveal parts of the overall strategy. To use a rather extreme of this tactic would be that of a man and his friend pinned standing facing each other across the top of their car that has just been hijacked by robbers who are holding guns to the back of their heads. Now from this brief description it would be entirely understandable to expect one or both of their anxiety levels to precipitate an unpredictable event resulting in the death of either of the two unfortunate individuals. However this scenario is completely controllable and could be converted into an opportunity for personal growth and fortification of self-esteem. Imagine that one of the victims is sweating, shaking and his eyes are twitching from side to side while his friend is motionless with a slow breathing rate and a complete sense of serenity, which through his constant gaze he communicates to his agitated friend. Before long the friend achieves this temporary state of nirvana allowing the bandits to remove their valuables in a civilized and trigger free manner. All of this yoga like self control results in a peaceful conclusion and the everyone goes home with body intact. Now some of you reading this article might initially think only of the material loss suffered by the unfortunate victims, but a much closer psychological analysis will reveal that the more balanced of the two was able to control an extremely volatile situation from within the confines of psycho-emotional processes thus confirming a special ability and providing a perfect but more nuanced example of turning a challenge into a character building opportunity.