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An Eye-Opening Question That Can Help You Get Through Tough Times

“Failure only feels bad when you’re in the middle of it.”


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Moreno Zugaro

4 months ago | 4 min read
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If you’re neck-deep in shit, don’t let your head hang.

Usually, you’re relieved when you wake up from a nightmare and come back to the safety and calm of your life. This wasn’t one of these nights.

Half a year ago, I woke up drenched in sweat, legs kicking the bedsheets, and thoughts racing through my head without any consideration for a speed limit or traffic rules.

Before my eyes were fully open, the merciless punch of reality hit me like a freight train. I was running a more than wobbly business, the woman I thought I’d spent the rest of my life with had broken up with me, and my to-do list was longer than Fidel Castro’s time in office.

The orange, dimly-lit digits of the clock said 1 am. With three hours of half-asleep tossing and turning done, I had five more to go.

We all go through tough times. Financial struggles. Breakups. An all-encompassing global pandemic. But as fellow writer 

Sinem Günel once said:

“Failure only feels bad when you’re in the middle of it.”

Once you’ve made it through the hard times, they become a distant memory, a lesson learned, and maybe even a reason for a good laugh.

But first, you have to make it through the adversities and obstacles — which becomes a lot easier if you ask yourself a simple, yet eye-opening question.

The One Lesson Every Painful Experience Can Teach You

I don’t know much about you, but I know you’ve gone through tough times before.

Did you feel the punch to the stomach when you realized you totaled your car? Did it feel like the end of the world when your ex left your sorry ass after they cheated on you? Did you nearly lose your sanity tackling a problem that seemed unsolvable at work?

Yes — but there’s one central lesson you can learn from all the times life pulled the rug from underneath your feet. You made it through.

Not only that, you made it through and came out better and stronger.

You learned valuable lessons. You learned to deal with heartbreak and what you want from a partner. You became better at organizing yourself and performing under stress.

What you’re going through now and whatever shit-hitting-the-fan-situations you’ll encounter in the future, they will feel bad. But instead of worrying, panicking, and having your anxiety consume you, ask yourself this:

Do I trust myself to make it through and come out better in the end?

I know you don’t always feel like giving an enthusiastic yes. Sometimes, the situation is so new, overwhelming, or scary that trusting yourself feels like betting on an overweight 14-year-old Dachshund winning the greyhound race. But consider these three aspects, and you’ll realize the situation isn’t as grim as it looks.

Everything you’ve gone through so far

A few years ago, I went through a bodybuilding contest prep, which is a fancy title for what should be called Three Months of Hell.

I trained six days a week and passed out on the dirty gym floor more times than I can count. The month-long caloric deficit made my mouth water like Pavlov’s dog every time I heard the word donut. On the last stretch, I dehydrated my body until my lips felt like sandpaper and my skin stayed in place when I pinched it.

The reward for my efforts was a glorious last place, which felt like the final crack in an already battered mind.

But I made it through.

Look at the hardest place you’ve ever been in. Then, see if your current situation is as bad. In 99% of the cases, you’ve survived worse before, so you’ll make it through this as well.

Every other person who’s gone through your situation

I don’t know what you’re facing, but I can tell you this much: Your problems aren’t unique.

Billions of people go through heartbreak. Millions struggle with their business or have trouble paying their bills. A bunch of unlucky ones lose family members to cancer, car accidents, or cults.

I know your situation seems special, but once you accept it isn’t, it becomes much easier to deal with.

If millions and billions of people — many of which less-abled, less fortunate, and less talented than you — have made it through, you’ll make it as well.

Every aspect of your situation that’s temporary

Heraclitus once said:

“The only constant in life is change.”

Yet, you often disregard this both paradoxical and profound truth because you’re too caught up in your head.

Relax, breathe, and look at everything temporary about your situation. Pain and hurt fade. The economy recovers. You date someone new. You get another job. Your diet comes to an end. After rain comes sun.

Most situations seem extra bad because you assume you’ll be stuck in them forever. Yet, the biggest storm usually passes within a few days or weeks. Everything’s temporary, so don’t assume your trouble to be any different.

Life can be tough. During the hard times, you need to trust in yourself more than ever. Don’t let your head hang when you’re neck-deep in shit.

Look at what you’ve gone through, what others have gone through, and everything that’s merely temporary.

Do you trust yourself to survive and come out better in the end?

Because you will.

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Moreno Zugaro

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Personal development & slightly inappropriate jokes | Digital Nomad | IG: morenozugaro


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