Ten minutes after I sent out the last week’s newsletter, I got a phone call. It was my dad on the other line.
“Your grandma is dead.”
Instantly, my eyes teared up. My voices started shaking. I uttered the only thing I could in that situation.
The shock came out of nowhere. My grandma was old but surprisingly healthy and upbeat. She didn’t have any underlying conditions. She was a positive person and didn’t stress nearly as much as the rest of the world.
The one day, poof. She’s gone. Forever.
As much as you may feel sorry for me right now, you didn’t know my grandma. You didn’t care about her as much as I did. The fact that she died doesn’t really affect you much.
But you have experienced loss as well.
A death in the family. A painful breakup. An accident that crippled you for life. I know this because nobody on this Earth is a stranger to loss in one form or another. As the old saying goes: “In life, nobody gets out alive.”
You can’t influence what will happen in life. You can’t know what kind of loss you will experience. People will die, accidents will happen, and you’ll be left holding a bag titled “The Meaning of Life”. Only once you open it, you’ll find that the bag is completely empty.
This doesn’t mean life is meaningless. It means it’s up to you to fill up that bag with whatever you choose. And even though you can’t know when life is going to punch you in the gut, you can always — ALWAYS — decide how to react.
You can sit down and cry forever. You can blame the world for your misfortune. You can become a bitter, hateful, distrustful person. Or you can realize that every single person on this Earth has and will experience loss. Maybe not the same kind, but loss all the same.
It is precisely in moments like these that your mental strength is built. If you break down in moments of hardship, then you’re not really strong, are you? All of your mental training is done precisely so you can deal with moments like this.
After the initial shock, I told my dad the only reasonable thing I could: “Whatever you need, I’m there.”
My entire family is heartbroken. All of them are grieving this unexpected death, which also brings a thousand different responsibilities and tasks. And while they will grieve, and be hurt, and break down, I won’t.
I made a decision to be strong enough to care all of them.
It reminds me of something Dr. Jordan Peterson once said: “Be the most reliable person at your father’s funeral.” I urge you to do the same. When hardships happen, especially if they affect people around you, be the one person who doesn’t break.
Be strong enough to carry the load. The world needs more people like this. It needs more people with a true Mind of Steel. And that kind of mindset cannot be built without being exposed to hardships.
Stay strong, no matter what happens.
P.S. Some time ago, I wrote this article that talks about dealing with pain and loss from the perspective of Batman. You might find it interesting.