Annie On Writing

June 2, 2012

Seeing Difficulties as Challenges

Filed under: My Journey as a Writer — Annie Evett @ 12:01 am

My ‘Pollyanna’ attitude has the tendency to disturb those who choose to dwell amongst the bleak outlook which has infested many parts of society. Early on in my life, I learned that its very easy to be cynical and negative. Its far more difficult and personally challenging to find the gold amongst the trash. While I can’t claim to have had a rough or disadvantaged upbringing, it was certainly not privileged. What I did grow up with, was the constant reminder that opportunity lay at most peoples feet, and that they were so blinded by their own perceptions of how hard things were, that they never recognised the jewels and gems strewn around them.

I feel blessed with the life I have had, but can’t pretend that the challenges and hardships which have presented themselves to me were small or inconsequential. Personally and professionally I’ve been sideswiped by those who I can only imagine feel the need to belittle someone for their own power play or gratification. I only mention it as it saddens me that anyone would want to waste their considerable talent on something as meaningless as.. *shrugs shoulders* .. I can’t even imagine. I draw on Ghandis non violence teachings where I employ a lack of hatred or ill-will towards them with a sincere wish they channel their energies into more positive pursuits. I most certainly would never publicly discuss or mention details on the mass media outlets that many in our society feel is appropriate to air their dirty laundry. The personal challenges my family faces are sometimes so great, at times I feel its just all too much to continue; and yet, Pollyanna pokes here head round the corner and I manage to make it through another day.

Though I am no foreign language expert, I’m lead to believe that the word for “crisis” in Chinese is the same as the word for “opportunity”. It’s a notion I’ve always held closely; perhaps as part my ‘silver lining in every cloud’ upbringing.

I make no excuses for my over enthusiastic energy which I willingly invest into any project I become involved in. I strongly believe in the free flowing nature of exchanging energies. I have a virtual sack of mottos and quotes desperate to make appearances to address any situation, including Nietzsche’s “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” ,  “In the middle of difficulty,” observed Albert Einstein, “lies opportunity.”  and “I complained because I had no shoes; until I met a man that had no feet.”  That’s not to say I have my down moments, but they are kept at a strict minimum.

Authors, as do most creative artists, are plagued with self doubt and critical analysis. Our plots, like our lives, aren’t perceived as interesting until there is a challenge or twist to stand in the way of our success. An outsider might perceive that many challenges experienced by creative artists are those they make for themselves, or those they attract, either consciously or unconsciously.

It may come as a surprise to many people but – “Stuff” happens all of the time. One of the most disempowering responses a person can have when ‘stuff’ happens – is for them to cry out to the universe “Why does this always happen to me?”  It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Perhaps a better question or observation may be in looking for the lessons or learnings the situation presents.

When we focus on the challenges, difficulties or problems, we are focusing our energy on the negative aspects of the event. Its a much better expenditure of our energy to look for the positive outcomes or opportunities which have been created. Strength of character is only revealed through the way situations are reacted to and handled. After all – no-one would enjoy reading a book if, for most of the story, the main character curled up in foetal position and moaned about how unfair their lief was and how they couldn’t cope. Life, like a great adventure story, is so much more exciting if you rise to the challenge.

Civilisation progresses when people turn challenges and problems into opportunities to invent tools or technologies. Personal and professional development is similarly structured. Some people, like some civilisations, are content to stay at a certain level; either through comfort or fear. It begs the hard questions –

  • Have you stopped looking for opportunities – if so – is it out of fear or comfort?
  • Are you happy to settle with what you have now?
  • If you aren’t living the life you imagined you would have – why not?
  • If you aren’t succeeding in your writing life the way you thought you would – why not?
  • If you could live your ideal life  – what would it look like?

Its up to you then, to decide how you wish to accept the next challenge presented to you. Once you begin to recognise the plethora of opportunities which surround you, you will begin to seek solutions and alternatives. In turn, bigger opportunities will present themselves as a result of you expecting to find them.

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