"Etre maître de soi - Controling oneself" by the phenomenal artist/photographer Gilbert Garcin, 1999.
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." Ernest Hemingway wrote these words 85 years ago in the towering ornament of literature "A Farewell to Arms", to describe Word War I. His text transcends its impetus and is undeniably a powerful denunciation of the horrors of war but also of the cruelty of life as a whole.
We live in an age when our lives are regularly punctuated by career crisis, by moments when what we thought we knew about our lives, about our relationships, comes into contact with a threatening reality. We are captivated by a state of superfluous criticism, where everyone takes a small part of you to come into a complete vision of who you are. The imposed fear challenging your authenticity -your competency to stay true to yourself- keeps thousands of people stuck in a rut every day, too afraid of their negative fantasies to take a leap of faith. It's hard to unlearn that way of thinking and it's even harder to shield yourself from being hypnotized by this constant hypocritical monologue.
Looking back at my life, there have been many moments of pain, disappointment and failure. But I've rewritten the script and didn't allow myself to feel lost or like a depressed victim of circumstances. The key to leveraging my fears is having reached the realization that I cannot walk down the road of life holding hands with comfort and growth simultaneously. In these moments of self-doubt you need to embrace the challenges and develop your own compass and trust it. The indispensable first step to getting what you want out of life is this: Decide what you want. Take risks, invest in your mind, allow yourself to fail, dare to be alone and remember that the first person through the wall always gets hurt.
How can someone gain strength from adversity in order to thrive? How can you make your own luck? Well, I personally find it hard to believe in fate or karma, on the contrary, I think that the onus and thrill of finding opportunities falls squarely on us, not on the "system". And it's imperative to be very intentional and strategic to seek every opportunity that advances you to your objective. Life is not a ladder that we climb from one predictable rung to the next, but rather a rocky cliff where we are all free-climbing. There's no safe path to follow, we can only depend on our own intuition, ingenuity, and determination to rise to the top. Concern yourself with your goal, develop the habit of doing your best at all times and under all circumstances and focus on only those things germane to the issue at hand.
Even during extreme hardships, when you feel you are riding a pendulum from self-doubt to extreme frustration, when everyone seems like trying to prove you wrong and everything is against you, practice detachment from your own thoughts and your current situation and try to take a bird's eye view of your own thinking. In that very moment you will come to realize that you need to align every small fraction of conscious decision in order to build a much larger foundation for the implementation of your goals and you might then be also very likely to yield something orders of magnitude better. Chase your dreams, focus relentlessly on your goals, desire their fulfillment more than you want to breath and believe in yourself even if no one else believes in you. After all, life is much like chess, at the end the king and pawn go into the same box. So don't let yourself be consumed by negativity, move forward and embrace two principles that can truly evolve you and the world: love and solidarity.