Last week, I spent some time with my brother, helping with his life transition and steps forward. I believe there are life lessons all around us, if we care to take note and soak it in.
Each of us has some type of destination we may be planning or contemplating. Getting started is always the challenge. Keeping the stamina to move through the obstacles and detours requires an inner strength and spirit.
Saying my brother is a “no nonsense” type of person would be a great understatement. His circumstances are almost insurmountable, yet he knows if he doesn’t push himself, he won’t get his life back to a place close to where he once was. For him, it is not about getting ahead; it is about getting his life back.
It can be tiring, and that also is a great understatement. The path ahead for him is extremely steep. Unfortunately, some people in a similar situation seem to give up or not try as hard. My brother is no saint, but he has the right attitude to get from where he is to where he once was. I am glad he is the exception, willing to scale the strenuous slope of moving from Point A to Point B.
Herein lie some of the lessons learned or key observations about getting to another point in life.
To make progress forward:
Observation 1: It takes individual effort and time. When all you had is essentially gone – from strong body to fulfilled lifestyle – getting back to even is more than challenging; it can be daunting. You have to make continuous effort and realize your circumstances will not change overnight. You need to break it down into small steps. You need to continue to make a strong effort each and every day. You cannot get overwhelmed by what needs to happen during the course of 12 to 18 months.
Make the effort while understanding you cannot skip ahead to a year’s worth of progress in a day; take each day to learn, gain strength.
Observation 2: It takes tending to the small steps. Some of the simple things in life can take effort, but you need to do them. Don’t take anything for granted. For my brother, just getting up from a chair takes tremendous effort, but he wants to stand, he wants to walk. Small things can take effort, so don’t ignore them.
Doing the small things will lead to getting to do bigger things.
Observation 3: It is a symbiotic relationship – the more you push forward, the more others will support and work with you. The more you put into making the steps forward, the more people will support you. In my brother’s case, the more he pushes himself, the more the PT and OT therapists work with him. It is the give-give relationships that move you forward.
Find people who you can have a mutually supporting relationship with.
Observation 4: It is a mindset, an attitude. You can view the world as being against you and just sit idly. You can be frustrated by life events. Or, you can view your situation as a fact of life and then set a course for where you want to be. It is an attitude; it is a mindset shift. It is an overstated axiom of the need for a “can do” outlook, but I can see no other way to approach your life.
Take your situation and have the attitude to move positively to where you want to be.
Observation 5: It is not giving up, getting discouraged. The slopes are steep at times. Don’t ever give up.
Observation 6: It is about doing some things yourself. Right now, it takes my brother at least 5 minutes to put his socks on. I could put them on for him in less than 60 seconds. Which way gets him further in realizing his objectives? Letting him do it himself, of course. For most of us, we want to help by lending a hand, but we may just get in the way. Sometimes we just have to let people do the job, even if it takes longer. How else will they get to where they want to go? Also, by doing everything for someone, wouldn’t that adversely impact the symbiotic relationship point?
Don’t bud in too much. By doing so, you may slow down the progress being strived for.
If I was in my brother’s situation, I don’t know if I would have his stamina or outlook. I would like to think I would. At times, you do not know until you are working through your dealt hand.
Whatever the Point A-to-Point B path you are traveling, these observations, I believe, are important to absorb. It is a choice we make in how we move to, and through, different life points. We need to make them fully and positively.
What other principles would you try to abide by in your life expeditions?