5 Tips to face hard times

Steps to take to never surrender in front of Life’s adversities

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

Aquaponic systems on a rooftop under the snow

Aquaponics teaches us that the toxins can be converted into nutrients to boost life. It’s a chemical reaction and nevertheless it’s true for our daily life, as well, since at the core of any ominous experience we can find a positive lesson to learn. Still, as bad as the situation gets,we always may find a way out.
I know how annoying this statement may sound to anyone who’s facing hard times which seem unending, because to me at the moment it’s the same. But however hard the troubles are, there’re strategies to overcome them. It just depends on our willingness to succeed despite all the adverse circumstances.

So, I want to share with you some tips that are working for me, helping me and my family to get through this time of precariousness, while I’m launching my company.

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#1 Breathe…and stop brooding.

“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.”
Albert Einstein

Dwelling on your current troubles seeking for a plain and immediate solution, it’s only a waste of time and of your precious mental strength. Whatever is occurred to you can’t be solved overnight by your continuously thinking about it. Your mind is a powerful tool and all the answers to your issues are stocked in it, but they need time and patience to be elaborated and then converted into actual actions. Unfortunately, often we don’t have time to spare, although rushing toward nowhere isn’t a long-term option. It’ll result in messing things up and get you stuck in your fears.

I met many entrepreneurs in different professional sectors who, pushed by the necessity of a prompt income, ran around like ants, working hard to gather money, never stopping to brainstorm their business’ economic situation. Therefore, at the end their productive capacity was much lower than the amount of resources deployed for the job, both in economic and psychological terms.

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#2 Change your mindset and assume the responsibility of your mistakes.

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I know that this step is one of the hardest to take, but it’s also crucial. Indeed, it’s easy to stigmatize the errors as guilt, letting the blame of your misfortune fall on you. At the same time, if you kindly accept without judging yourself that your troubles are directly related with your past actions or inaction, you won’t feel anymore an helpless bystander of whatever is occurring to you, but a proficient and reactive actor of your present moment. It takes courage to go outside your comfort-zone and change the habits that had proved to no longer work for you or your business. Because the truth is that if you embark yourself on another feat, without having deeply understood what you’ve previously done wrong, you’ll risk of failing this time, as well, for the same mistakes.

On Saturday morning I was talking with a 44-year-old woman in a bar of her past broken relationships. She was like justifying them as episodes of her life, that were supposed to occur anyway and however she felt wrecked by all these men who had gone away from her. I attempted to make her question the fact that whether her relationships had always followed the same script, maybe there was anything she could have under her control. But she didn’t want to think about, since she answered that all this questions would drive her mad.

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#3 Don’t be ashamed and ask for help.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Mentally strong people are enough humble to show their vulnerability to others. Anyone depends on other people to survive and being resilient means to admit your weaknesses. Perhaps the challenges you’re tackling are overwhelming at certain moments and you’re aware of your temporary limits in bearing alone all the burden. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, on the contrary it means that your determination to succeed is prevailing on your ego’s defenses. Don’t care of the judgment of your relatives, friends or acquaintances, since this is your life and everyday the only one to whom answer for your actions is your conscience. Are you going to be proud of the life you choose to live? This is the only question, you must take into consideration, because at the end it’s what will really matter.

The last October I was attending a training course at the Ancona’s Chamber of Commerce. I was one of the youngest entrepreneurs among 20 people. Unlike them, the launching of my new company My Rivendell is rooted in the failure of my parent’s former Aquaponic company. So, it was crucial to explain them their business’ vicissitudes to make clear that the company’s failure was mainly caused by troubles within the company’s associates and not because of the food production system itself. Then, their reaction was to reproach my presumed naivety in the business world, since they couldn’t simply accept that I didn’t care for their judgment and I was not afraid of them as possible (far-fetched) competitors.

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#4 Start from your fears to revolutionize your life.

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
Jim Morrison

When you’re getting through a crisis, the wild instinct is to retreat into your own shell of shame, when instead you should force yourself to grasp the nettle and benefits from it to identify and then face your innermost fears. They should be your departure-point to find your path toward your goals. Indeed, they’re, together with your limiting beliefs, what had prevented you until now from achieving your goals. It’s essential to recognize that even if you rationally desire to succeed in any area of your life, there may be some unconscious fear that is holding you back in the kind of experiences, that are familiar to you. Because it’s normal, even if wrong, to get identified yourself with your past history, but you’re not your actions. Be enough brave to erase the former version of yourself to deliver the person you’re willing to be this time.

Many peers of mine, who’re promoting Aquaponics in Italy, have a dispersed and messy attitude toward this tough task. At the beginning of October, I was invited by 4 not-yet engineers to the Millenials fest “Siena Food Innovation”, where they had presented an Aquaponic aquarium. They were waiting for an appealing job proposal by any interested entrepreneur to set up their company and consequently decide what kind of service to provide. Indeed, they were afraid of losing one of the several business opportunities of this innovative field, so they simply didn’t choose but kept waiting for someone else to decide for them the right path to pursue.

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#5 Attribute a purpose-to-impact to your goals.

“Great minds have purpose, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.”
Washington Irving

Pursuing any goal requires firmness to be consistent in your actions despite the circumstances. You must bear anything will occur during your journey, without looking back at the other roads you could have taken, questioning whether your choice will prove to be right or wrong. It’s plenty of opportunities among which you can choose and the only chance to not regret the selected one during the several episodes of discomfort is to assign it a purpose. Something that helps you remain hooked to your goals, preventing the temptation of turning back in front of the obstacles that you’re going to find on your road. It should be an aim that you can reach just dreaming big and it gives you the certainty that yours was the only way supposed to be taken to accomplish it.

Doubts are assiduous visitors of my mind, overall in this precarious phase, while my father and I are attempting to fulfill our dream of creating an Aquaponic training center in the countryside of Tuscany. We’re gambling everything on this project, both financially and emotively. We’re walking a tightrope, swaying between on one side an economic pit whereas on the other side there is our haven. Day by day, I’m learning how to live up to the role of a visionary social entrepreneur. But it’s obvious that sometimes I wish of changing my path for an easier one and then I remind myself that I chose this road with the purpose of creating jobs and promoting a more sustainable food production system. Therefore, this is the only way for me to go forward.

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

Giulia Di Crescenzo

Written by

Social entrepreneur. Founder of My Rivendell: A farming haven for committed Dreamers. www.my-rivendell.com Promoting the Italian traditional lifestyle.

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