I always thought that when you work hard, you will be successful guaranteed. As I grow older, I have realised that is not true for many people. I know amazing, very hard working, and immensely talented people who are still struggling to make ends meet. If hard work is not the key to success then what is?
The first time I watched, Trust Your Struggle TEDx by Zain Asher, I could not have asked for a better speech to answer the life questions I was asking at the time. As far as I can remember I always heard that education is the key to success the earlier you do it, the better your chances so I had my bachelors at the age 21 and my masters at 24.
A year after graduating was the first time I got a full-time job. In my job seeking struggle that year, I watched this TEDx talk religiously, because it gave me hope, it helped me wake up on days when I didn´t feel like getting out of bed. Even though I overcame the job hunting struggle, the message from this talk continues to speak to me throughout the many challenges I go through. So far, I have learnt 5 things about trusting my struggle;
- Struggle helps you question the person you are today and define the person you want to be tomorrow. During my one year of struggle, I took up a couple of jobs because I needed to do something that brought an income to pay the bills. During the work times, I had ample time to think a lot, something I always do anyway. But this time it was more profound, staying true to what I believe in and narrowing down what I want out of life exactly. I wouldn´t say I know exactly where I am going, but I like and enjoy the road I am on.
- Keep you head up during your struggle, this one is very hard however you can not afford not to do it. When you are going through a tough time looking down is the most comfortable and most natural thing you can do. But you shouldn´t! Stay afloat because you have to keep an eye on opportunities and if your head is bent to the ground your breakthrough might just pass you by, as opportunities are always up in the air. So keep your head up no matter how hard it is.
- Struggle always leads to something bigger and better. When I talk about this, I am referring to professional life because it would be very insensitive of me to say this to someone going through loss. A side note though, if you are going through a loss or grieving, please take time to listen to or read Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. In professional life, I can not even begin to list the number of times that the worst situations have lead to life-changing moments for so many people that we acknowledge as successful. The mighty Oprah has too, so please understand that it is darkest before dawn, live through the struggle as it will lead you to an unexpected greater reality.
- Enjoy your struggle. Believe it or not, soon enough you will look back at this time and just burst out laughing because it will be such a trivial issue. It´s hard now, yes, but accept it. Think of the worst that could have happened to you. Begin picturing what you would do if it were up to you to change the situation, stay in that mind frame, be grateful that you are alive as well as your close family and friends without overlooking the fact that you have to allow yourself to go through the pain gently.
- Have a support system; I can not overemphasise this because it is an absolute must-have for everyone. A recommended start for such a team is to have models, mentors, coaches, partners and friends. If you do not have a team with these types of profiles, start building it NOW!
These are the five lessons I have learnt in trusting my struggle. I like listening to peoples stories, so share with me, what are some of the lessons you have learnt from your struggle?
For anyone going through some struggle, you will get through it; I don´t know how or when but it will happen.
P.S. Keep your head high! I care about you,