Live Well Above Your Problems by Graham White

The majority of people live life just above their stress level.  They only deal with situations long enough that they can focus on activities that provides them with more immediate gratification.  

More successful individuals have learned to push themselves out of their comfort zone, far beyond the immediate situation to develop strengths that enable them to deal with ever increasing levels of challenge.

Imagine someone swimming in a lake.  They're not a great swimmer, but the water is calm.  Suddenly the wind picks up and the water gets a little choppy.  They begin to panic until they find a log to grab hold of.  The danger has passed, they are able to tread water on their own, and they're happy again.  

Wouldn't you know it, but a storm begins to brew.  They begin panicking all over again, desperately search for something to hang on to.  Thankfully, as they're just about to drown, another log floats by.

The wind dies down once again.  And they begin dog paddling towards the shore, grateful that the water is once again calm, but no stronger or wiser from the experience.  Rather than committing to becoming a stronger swimmer (or even better, having a boat take them in), they are simply grateful that they are able to manage for the moment.  They continue this process over and over, feeling successful while they're treading water but never really getting anywhere.

Are you treading water?  Are you living life just above your problems?  Is your definition of success simply not experiencing problems at the moment or are you preparing yourself with the strength and knowledge to get through the future challenges that will most certainly come?

Jim Rohn talks about life being like the changing seasons.  After every summer comes a fall and eventually a winter.  Are you preparing for your winters while the sun is shining (like the ant), or are you living like it will always be summer (like the grasshopper)?  When winter comes, and it always does, will you be prepared for the challenge although it will be difficult, or will you be begging for help - looking for someone or something to solve the problem you didn't anticipate?

Have you always managed to survive somehow and feel that is enough?  Of course spring follows winter and certainly you will find some relief from your situation, but do you choose to desperately grab onto the log, or do you figure out a way to climb into the boat?


 How To Live Above The Line:  

  • Commit to making every adversity a learning experience: Stop complaining about life.  Life happens to everyone.  Successful individuals find a way to become strong enough to deal with what life throws at them.  What type of person could handle what you're going through with ease?  Who are the people that have gone through what you're experiencing and are stronger for the experience?  What do you need to do in order to develop the strength that they have?  

  • Don't stop learning: Once your head is above water, keep working.  Simply because you're no longer gasping for breath doesn't mean you're experiencing success.  Keep developing yourself so that when life throws you another curve you are far enough ahead to deal with the challenge without feeling like you're drowning all over again.

  • Be happy with what you have, but never settle for what you have:  Always keep working towards being better, stronger, wiser and more disciplined.  Take the issue you find most challenging and make it part of your focus when times are good.  -- For example, don't just discipline yourself to watch your spending when times are lean, watch your spending when everything is going well so that you develop a habit that will eventually guarantee that you don't experience financial crisis anymore.

  • Don't wait until you hit bottom to ask for help:  Successful people are humble.  They ask for help and look for assistance when they think they might be experiencing something they can't handle themselves.  Lose your ego and stop trying to prove you're right about everything.  Where has it got you so far?

  • Listen & Read:  Stop talking so much.  Start listening to people who know more than you.  Read books by the best minds on the subjects that you struggle with.  Make reading a part of your weekly routine the same way it was when you were in school.  Do you think successful people are just lucky?  Take a look in their personal library and see all the studying they've done since they left school.

  • E-mail Your Question:  Check out the Resource and Article pages.  If you can't find the answer to your question there, E-mail your question about your current challenge to receive an answer online.

Graham White