This weekend, I started re-reading A Man’s Search For Meaning, by Victor Frankl. I’ve read it at least twice a year, for the past 3 years. When I start to feel lost, burnt out or confused about life it always helps.
One of the themes that hit me hard today: “It’s never about what happens to us, it’s always about what our reaction to it is.”
This is coming from a man who’s lived through Nazi hell – one who arguably lived through the worst that man can do to another: having everything taken from him and almost worked to death. I love the perspective the book gives to me. If he can keep going in those conditions, what do I really have to complain about?
What to Do When Life Covers You in Crap
Saturday morning, I woke up to a flurry of texts from Jordan. Our site was hacked again. Everything we owned was shut down and had been offline for over 8 hours at this point.
Not exactly what I was hoping for on Easter weekend.
Being hacked feels the same to me as when my sweet CD player and senior pictures were stolen out of my car. It’s a violation of personal space, it costs a lot of money and is emotionally draining.
But more importantly, in this case, the information on this site that saved my life and has helped thousands wasn’t available to be read by others who need it. They need it now – not tomorrow, but right now when they are searching for it. And if the resource isn’t available because of some hacker, that sucks.
So, what do you do when you realize that you’re being crapped on? Well, if you’re like me, my first instinct is to fight back and to make it stop. But in this lawless place called the Internet that’s not really an option. All we could do was reach out for help.
The same is true when it comes to health. It seems like when you don’t have “time” for it, health problems rear their ugly heads. And then there is a flood of emotions from anger, sadness, confusion, annoyance to hopelessness. The fastest way to stop these negative patterns and take control of the situation is to seek help from someone who understands it.
When being crapped on, step one is asking for help.
Then, Take the Next Step
Why am I saying a line like that? It’s not to insult you or treat you like a child. It’s actually because when I’m in a crisis, I know it’s really hard to keep my head on straight (and the hormones are raging).
I’m writing this as an action plan for you as much as it’s a reminder for me. I’m not immune… it happens to me more than most.
Step two is to turn the anger into gratitude, which is not always easy.
If you were just robbed, raped or broken up with, it might take a long time. We were robbed again this weekend. It cost us several thousand dollars and more of Jordan’s precious hair to fix it.
The man saves our company all the time. I’m so grateful for him right now.
I’m saying this because sometimes we get a spoonful of crap flung at our face (like getting cut off in traffic) and other times a dump truck will back up and unload it all on our head at once.
Such is life…
In all cases, the faster I can move from anger, self-pity and frustration into seeing what is right about the situation, the faster I will recover. Seeing what’s right about this is becoming grateful that it happened. And once I make this pivot in thinking I know I instantly become stronger.
In this case, we’re investing more time and money into protecting all of our assets and in preparation for our upcoming “Solving Leaky Gut” launch (more on that in the coming weeks). This is preparing us for much higher traffic and increasing security.
When it comes to health, there is a huge emotional component to it that no one likes to talk about. I’m not sure if it’s too new-agey or abstract or what, but as soon as you go there people are quick to write you off. But I’ll tell you this, the faster you move away from any thoughts about shame, blame and pity for being sick to thoughts of blessings, small joys and gratitude that you can do something about it the faster you will get better. And if you never adopt this attitude I’m not sure you will ever get well.
It’s really hard to do when your stomach has you on your knees in pain, but figure out a way to express gratitude. Even if means calling a few loved ones and just telling them how much they mean to you and how they’ve helped you. Over time, with daily practice you’ll be able to turn that gratitude inward toward your body.
Look, going from anger to gratitude isn’t something I was really even capable of a year ago but I’m finding now it’s very much like a muscle. Practice, do it more, flex it more, and the transition can happen much faster. This leads us to step 3.
Cleanup Your Face and Move Forward
Okay, so now that we’re grateful this giant pile of poop is actually going to help us be stronger let’s move forward and take action.
See, it’s not good enough to just be grateful. The next step is to ask yourself this: “How can I move forward and make this lesson part of my life?” Sometimes it’s easy to stop at gratitude, but if you do… then you might not actually make the change to prevent the same problem next time.
In our case, it was making some tough calls about security and how we set up our website in the future.
It’s painful for us (and for you) to make this decision, but it’s the best way forward and to keep it from becoming a recurring problem.
So, let’s say that your gut is really hurting right now, and doing anything seems impossible. What do you do then? Well, the first step is to write down a record of what you’ve been doing that’s gotten you to this place. What have your food, supplements, sleep, stress and emotional habits been in the last 30 days? Now, look at the list and pick a few areas to change. Maybe you’ve been extra stressed, so start some yoga. Maybe you’ve been wondering about starting some new supplements; do it. Maybe your sleep has been okay but not great; improve it. The point is: think about all the areas and try a few new things to help out.
Einstein said something like, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, these problems can turn into opportunities in life, and give us the ability to change. But to change we must take action and do things differently.
Do this! Don’t think about doing it, but actually do something different. It will be worth it in the end.
We All Take Crap Sooner or Later (so Expect it)
The truth is we will keep getting angry, frustrated and crapped on our whole lives. It never stops.
In my opinion, it’s always going to come down to how we react to it. Victor Frankl ended up writing, teaching and changing history because of how he responded to the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.
And in the past I might have spent much of my weekend mad and trying to fix things myself. Instead, the 3 steps above helped keep me sane. And Victor’s writing helped me realize that this too shall pass, and no matter how stinky and awful the pile of crap feels, it can always be worse.
The same is true for health; there will be setbacks. Sometimes you’ll be focused on loving others and forget about yourself. Other times fun or stress will derail health. It’s been happening to me ever since I started this journey 5 years ago and I fully expect it to keep going. The key is to see the pattern faster and start these 3 steps as fast as possible.
Remember Frankl’s message: it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we react to it.
Hope you had a better weekend!