I was once told by a close friend that “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”
Today these words continue to encourage and motivate me when I struggle through times of difficulty; even while I’m living here in paradise.
Once a king called upon all of his wise men and asked them, “Is there a mantra which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time – in every joy, every sorrow, every defeat, and every victory – one answer for all questions? Something which can help me when none of you is able to advise me? Tell me, is there any mantra?”
All the wise men were puzzled by the King’s question. After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something which appealed to all of them. They went to the King and gave him a ring with words engraved into it, with a condition that the King was not to read it out of curiosity. Only if, in extreme danger, when the King finds himself alone and there seems to be no way out, only then he can read it. The King wore the ring without reading the engraving.
Sometime later, the neighbours attacked the kingdom. The King and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. The King fled on his horse and the enemies followed him. The King found himself standing at the mouth of a deep ditch. If he jumped into it, there would be no way out. The sound of the enemy horses were approaching fast and the King became restless. There was nowhere else to go.
The King remembered his ring and about the engraving. He decided to read the message.
“This, too, shall pass.”
The King read it again and again until something struck him. Yes! This, too, will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom; I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the Kingdom and all its pleasures are gone. I am trying to flee from my enemies. But just as those days of luxuries have gone, this time of danger will pass, too.
Calm came over the King. He remained still and silent. The King looked around at the place where he was standing and realized how beautiful it was. He had never known that such a beautiful place existed in his Kingdom.
The revelation of the ring’s message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about his pursuing enemies. After a while, he realized that the noise of galloping horses had receded and that his enemies had lost him.
The King gathered himself and reorganized his shambled forces and fought again. He defeated the enemy and reclaimed his empire. When he returned to the city after the victory, he was received with much fanfare. The whole capital was rejoicing and everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers rained down upon the King from every house, from every terrace as he trotted by. People were dancing and singing. In this moment the King thought to himself, “I am one of the bravest and greatest Kings. It is not easy to defeat me.” In all of the celebration an ego emerged in the King.
Then a ray of sunlight caught the King’s ring and sharply flashed into his eye reminding him of its message, “This, too, shall pass.”
He lowered his gaze and his valiant expression changed to one of humility. He realized, again, that if this, too, is going to pass, it is not yours. The defeat was not yours. The victory was not yours. You are just a player. Everything passes by. We are witnesses of all of this. We are the beholders.
Character building, guts, a rite of passage and increase self-confidence maybe the dividend of overcoming our difficulties however, What if the choices we make are in fact compounding our trouble? What if we subconsciously attract troubles into our life so we have something to motivate, distract, or justify to ourselves? Worse still, what if we don’t even realise our choices are compounding our troubles?
It sounds cliché but in my experience I needed to hit rock bottom.
Worse still, when I thought I had reached rock bottom, something else would happen and it take me even lower. I even made conscious decisions to hurt myself further in my self-loathing state.
My cynical joke, “it’s always darkest before it all goes pitch black”. Obviously I was not having a healthy relationship with myself and this unhealthy relationship only compounded my troubles.
What was my circuit breaker?
I gave up, all of it, all of me. I accepted that I couldn’t help myself. I was broken and for me I needed to experience acceptance without judgement.
After long searching, fighting, hurting, questioning and sincere prayers I accepted a peace offering. I accepted Christ in my life and in doing so accepted peace with God. Why? Because while I might not like myself and others felt obliged and even happy to point out my flaws; along with everything “This too shall pass”.
Peace has given me the courage to reconsider my priorities and embrace new experiences. It has provided both clarity and minimised distractions, enriching far more of my life than I had first expected.
Here’s some Tips I apply in my own life:
Thank you, from me to you. Thank you for allowing me to share my truth and being part of this journey. My hope is that these words inspire you, comfort you and you find peace.
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.
We meet again my old friend! It’s has been twenty eight years since we last greeted each other. I am here not to compete with you or anyone else, I’m here only to enjoy the experience and improve myself.
5.30am my toes gripping the ledge of the swimming pool as I roll forward and dive into the water.
These days my pool maybe surrounded by coconut palms, the water a comfortable twenty five degrees and the private competition pool less than fifty meters walk away from my home, however I still need to make a conscious decision to get in and swim!
Be it diving into a pool half asleep at 5.30am or wanting to achieve anything important to me in life. After committing myself I have always experienced an initial shock, then awareness and the reality of my decision followed by my acceptance and then simply getting on with the job or task at hand.
Regardless of how many books I read or courses I complete, for me success has required full immersion, simply doing the work and improving my technique and strengths along the way. Just like learning to swim; to become confident and competent required me to step out of my comfort zone and into the pool.
The danger is that success (earned or not) is highly euphoric as it releases natural dopamine’s within you. The quest for this natural high can become all-consuming if gone unchecked.
An even greater risk to us is when the expectations of success are not realised. Increasing our risk of depression and/or seeking external gratifications in order to self-validate. I have experienced both in and out of the pool.
Swimming has taught me a lot about myself and life. And while we love to test ourselves against others and everyone loves a winner; the real winner is the individual participant.
Why? Because simply committing and following through on our own personal expectations is self-empowering i.e. getting out of a warm comfortable bed and into a cold wet pool is character building.
Appreciating that while others may be more naturally gifted, have the newest equipment or simply be better, in most cases everyone can enjoy the experience of self-improvement i.e. learning to swim.
Doing the work is both meditative and a proven path for improvement. Most advances in life often happen after a long plateau.
And finally as with anything in life, to be your best you need to be committed and have committed people around you. Both those who love you and those you pay to help you improve. Accountability is the motivation to action.
Whatever you want to be, become, or achieve in life, at some point you are going to have to get in the pool. I encourage you to ask yourself, “If not now, then when?”
For a long time, I struggled to find my purpose and my “WHY”.
Discovering my "WHY" lead me to a paradigm shift in my thinking and planning. However discovering my “WHY” was the easy part of the journey. The hard part was the courage it took to continuously live life and staying true to my “WHY”.
So far this has as required my courage to:
Leave a well paid and secure full time job and start my own business, without any clients to begin, WHY? Because being true to authentic self, meant me taking full ownership of the outcome.
Stay, the trusted advisor for my clients whilst sensationalist media labelled the wider financial advising industry as immoral, criminal and unethical. WHY? Because being a trusted advisor to me means being at my client’s side both in the difficult and good times.
Back myself and an opportunity that would require me borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars and relocate 3000km away from family and friends. WHY? Because while money is important, it’s only important to the extent it heightens life experiences and events important to me.
Be honest with myself, my expectations and abilities. Recognizing when enough is enough. WHY? Because the choices I was making was hurting rather than helping me and those important to me.
Acknowledge in life there are no silver bullets to my problems however repeating the right activities, heightens my chance of success.
On my 25th birthday (my ¼ life crisis), I had approximately $200 to my name, an unfinished university degree and little to no professional skills; however, I knew my "WHY" and I was committed to see my goals become a reality. My financial and personal goal was to accumulate $1,000,000 by 50 years old so that I could fund my ideal life of travel and adventures, requiring $50,000 annually passive income.
By my 35th birthday I achieved my financial and personal goals.
By my 40th birthday and not living my life in alignment with my “WHY” I wanted to end my life.
Recently I celebrated my 45th birthday. Looking back twenty years since my ¼ life crisis, taking courageous actions remains just as scary today as it has ever been. However, now I step forward with a little more confidence than before and from experience I appreciate the importance of my choices being in alignment with my “WHY”.
Rules, expectations, opinions, comparisons, structure, attitude blah, blah, blah… Oh! How my head aches just thinking and reading these words.
When did my life become so rigid and predictable? When did I attract and start surrounding myself with dream stealers, sarcastic, fake and cynical, people with no self-esteem, whom in order to feel good themselves find fault with others? When did I become just like them?
My world had become dark, very dark and I questioned myself daily. Then I read the following quote
“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything”.
I also remembered a TV ad when I was a kid.
“The fish that John West rejects, is what makes John West the best!”
I had to make a choice. Not to run or escape but to rise above my misery and find my own clean air. I had to mature and become more accountable to myself.
Cheesy as it sounds I wrote a letter to my younger self. The message summary… “You have one life to live so ensure you live it with no regrets”.
I chose to mix it up, whist still doing what I love i.e. helping others, learning about money, travelling, personal and spiritual growth, outdoor sports, food and wine. More importantly I chose to act on my decision. And while I’m still a work in progress I many would say I now live in paradise i.e. Cairns
The career I love i.e. financial planning is already full of rules and expectations, so as an experiment I tried having no expectations in all other areas of my life. WOW!!!! Please try this experiment for yourself.
When I consciously placed no expectations on myself, by my surprise I did more, I enjoyed more, I became healthier, I needed less, I was authentically interested in others more and I became more grateful. Most importantly experiences became more valuable to me, than things.
Living with less expectations has made me happier and at the same time attracted other like-minded, generous and happy people into my world. Instead of darkness I am starting to see colour. I am more energised, more at peace and fulfilled.
Decide today to live life without expectations. Do it for your future self.
Here’s some Tips I apply in my own life
Page 8 of 17