When life isn’t living up to expectations…

You’re down in the dumps. For whatever reason, life up to this point has gone unexpectedly, especially of late. The saying, “never give up” most likely only refuels the fire that you have for wanting things to progress or change. Let’s be honest, that phrase kind of pisses you off more than it motivates you. It’s the easiest advice that everyone is giving you — “Well just keep trying, you’ll get there”, or “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

What they fail to tell you is that Rome had architectural plans, a road map, and the resources to build! Resources that included engineering minds that were geniuses of innovation in their time. What they also fail to tell you is that the birth of that phrase is accompanied by an ending — “or so the peasant says”. What you would give for a road map, much less the resources to get going. But, no one bothers to attempt to understand how hard you’ve already tried, how much work you’ve been putting in, and how discouraged you are when they tell you, “you’ll get there”. Well, since we’re on the subject of Rome, I think it’s important to look at how they were able to think unlike anyone else which allowed them to build the legendary city.

Many of Rome’s ancient buildings that are still (half) standing today were built with a special concrete. Long story short, they developed a type of “paste” that allowed their buildings to withstand harsh climates and even chemical erosion. The recipe used was put together with slaked lime and volcanic ash. They also built tens of thousands of miles of paved road. In this road, they constructed specific “curves” so that water could properly drain off of them. Some of the roads are still used today. They were innovators and had to think creatively on how they could each use their gifts and talents to contribute to accomplish the work that was set in front of them.

Now, maybe you’ve been working your butt off for a promotion, maybe you’re trying to finish your degree and it’s getting more difficult, maybe you’re grasping at a job, anything to get you by, or maybe you’re going through a life change or a loss and the burden is significant to bear. You have to find the recipe to build the strongest base of you that you can. Sounds awesomely cheesy, I know. Sorry, but something as simple as mixing slaked lime and volcanic ash is not your answer. But, your answer could be as simple as your attitude. Giving up hope, in a way, is essentially called giving up.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs on Medium as I’m reading different posts. People love to create and start things that are their own. The truth is, if they aren’t able to get through the criticism and the “what the hell are you doing that for?” questions, then they will give up before they’ve even started. So, don’t let your hopes become thwarted before you even start your journey.

At this time last year I was unemployed. I wrote a post about things I learned while being unemployed and in one of the blurbs I targeted my attitude during this time. I said, “Are there times of bitterness, sadness, lack of confidence, and anger? Of course, but I can actively choose every single day to either entertain all that negativity or to put it to death”. I consistently had to choose my attitude. I think that’s lost on people sometimes. We think we’re a victim of our attitude. Like it’s some monster under the bed that just comes out and we can’t do anything about it.

If you’re thinking, “yeah but I can’t always help the way I feel and that isn’t my fault”. You are correct, but I’m talking about your reaction to the way you feel. Often times I will flat-out declare that I’m irritable just to make it verbal. It’s really an accountability measure more than anything else. If the builders were like, “you know what, look at all this crap we have to get done. We have to create the Colosseum and create the stuff to build the Colosseum?! Screw it, I’m out”, then we wouldn’t even have that wonderful phrase to highlight this post. Attitude is a huge driving factor to whether or not you’re able to turn the ship around.

Chances are, if you’re in a situation where you’re dealing with loss (of any kind), the attitude part may have to be your consistent battle every day. Prayer, meditation, music, writing, or reading books might be what you need right now every day to just keep going. That’s okay. If you’re trying to accomplish something, move up in the work force, get a new job, finish school, etc. then there is action that needs to go along with getting your attitude right.

What was significant about Rome was their methods and materials. As said before, they were innovative, creative, and different. There’s a reason for that. If you’ve been trying the same thing over and over with no change in the result, then change the method. Set yourself apart. Stop writing the same bland cover letter. Stop just “hoping” your boss is going to notice the long hours you’ve been putting in and will just hand you a promotion. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking if they can meet with you once per week or maybe once per month to allow you to expand on some of your thoughts or ideas about what the company is accomplishing and the work you plan to put in. Now, depending on what type of boss you have, this may not be okay.

If you’re running a start-up or your own business and have hit a road block on it’s progression, change something, anything that will allow you to get the right advertising you need to build a customer base. This could be networking with other businesses, emailing people and setting up presentations that allow you to advertise your own stuff, or expanding your social media platform.

When you continue to fail, over and over again (it may happen), keep a positive attitude and stay creative. Things sometimes take a lot longer than we would like or anticipate, but while you’re in the middle of the storm, look around and recognize areas that you can improve along the way. One of my favorites by MJ,

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

To be afraid of failure means to fail. If you weren’t dragged through everything in your life up to this point, you wouldn’t be the person you are today. Keep trying, keep changing, stay positive, stay creative, and never. give. up.

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