What if it was a gift?


This year has been a challenge for everybody, everywhere. Even though we know others are going through the same struggle, we can still feel alone, out of place, and like things will never get better.

For example, here is a list of things that happened to me in the last few months:

  • COVID-19 pandemic, entire country on lockdown
  • Strong earthquake during the pandemic
  • Got a dozen of job rejections
  • My grandma died unexpectedly
  • My grandpa died a few weeks later

And that’s all in a span of a couple of months. Holy hell. You’d think I was having the worst streak in the world. And if I focused only on those things, I would probably feel the same.

However, I asked myself: “What if it was a gift?”

What if each of those bad things that happened is actually a hidden opportunity. Will I make use of this opportunity? Or waste my time crying over spilled milk?

  • Pandemic = more time, fewer expenses. Not spending money on events and going out meant I could donate more to causes helping people during these harsh times. And having more free time meant I could focus on building better habits in my life.
  • Earthquake, family deaths. While frightening and terrible experiences, they strengthened my Mind of Steel. While everybody else was panicking and breaking down, I was staying strong and wanted to be the person everybody else can rely on in these hard times.
  • Hiring freezes, job rejections. I sent out a lot of applications and went to a lot of different rounds of interviews, but I was rejected for almost every position. However, I used what I learned through this process to educate myself better, which helped me land a new job offer last week, which was better than all other jobs I was rejected for.

I know this email was all “me, me, me” but I’m simply using my example to illustrate a point. Shit happens. Life can be hard. Unexpected deaths, pandemics, and natural disasters hit you without warning. This can happen to anybody. Shit, it is happening to everybody.

When bad stuff like these happen, it’s always the wrong time. We are never completely ready for it. It always throws our life off-balance. But even though we cannot control these external factors, we can ALWAYS control how we react to them.

As a result of my actions the past few months, I feel stronger, have better habits, better health, and a new job. But had I decided to focus on the negative and cried “Why me? Why now?”, I would be weak, broken, and depressed. My life would be 10x worse right now as a direct result of my actions.

As Ryan Holiday said: “Something happened. You got pissed. Now two bad things have happened. That’s just a fact.”

The same goes for self-loathing, guilt, fear, or complaining. We can’t control what bad things happen to us, but we can make sure that two bad things don’t happen in tandem.

Stay strong,

Phil Janecic

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