Several years ago while attending a workshop, I heard a man say that there are times in our lives when we have to hit bottom before we can harbour any hope of positive change occurring in our lives. He went on to say that rock bottom is a place that many of us need to visit in order for the direction of our lives to change in our favour.
When an audience member asked how we would know when we have reached rock bottom the answer was this, “you know you have hit rock bottom when things cannot possibly get any worse.”
Not long ago I was coffeeing with a client from a long time ago and he was telling me how difficult his life has become over the past few years.
His marriage had ended acrimoniously and the company where he had spent 17 years had closed down – a victim of the recession.
He told me that he was constantly facing new and increasingly difficult challenges and that no matter what he did nothing seemed to work in his favour.
He looked at me sadly and said “Each time I think I have hit bottom something unexpected shows up and knocks me down. I guess I haven’t truly hit bottom yet.
Naturally, I asked the same question of him as had been asked of the workshop facilitator some years previously. “How will you know when you have finally reached rock bottom?”
And just like that speaker from several years ago my friend answered the question with these words. “When the day comes that nothing could possibly be worse I will know that I have hit rock-bottom. And I have to tell you that that day cannot come soon enough for me.”
How unfortunate that a so-called professional motivator and a former client could both believe the same things to be true and both be so terribly wrong?
The truth of the matter is this: rock bottom is not the place you land on when things couldn’t possibly get worse.
There is no such place as rock bottom.
You will not find it on any map because much like the unicorn it is mythical and does not exist.
And there is no such time in our lives as a time when things could not possibly get worse.
When we think that things cannot get worse it probably just means that we haven’t yet experienced this level of “worse” before and we delude ourselves into thinking that this is bad as it could possibly get.
There’s even a tired old joke that addresses this.
It goes something like this. “Cheer up, things could get worse.”
So you cheer and, sure enough, things get worse.
You will never hit bottom until you start reaching for the top.
Or, to put it another way, the moment you start the long journey of clawing your way to the top is the moment that you have struck rock-bottom.
Rock-bottom is the place you can only arrive at when you commit to, and commence this journey. There is no other way to get there.
Rock-bottom is not the moment when you decide you can’t take it anymore.
Rock bottom is not the moment when the pain is so intense you don’t think you will survive.
Rock-bottom is not the moment when you believe there are no more tears left to cry.
Rock bottom is not the moment when you yell out in despair that you don’t know what to do.
Rock bottom is not when even your wildest imagination cannot conceive of anything that could possibly be worse than your present situation.
Rock bottom is that wonderful, liberating moment when you make the choice to take back control and ownership of your life.
Rock-bottom is when you relinquish all blame, justification and rationalization for why you are where you are and pledge to yourself that henceforth you will dedicate your life to the actions that will drive you ever closer to where you want to be and never again undertake those actions that have brought you to where you are.
Rock-bottom is when you exchange whining for winning (and I don’t mean Charlie Sheen style).
Rock-bottom occurs the instant we accept that where we are, no matter how painful and untenable, means nothing more than where we are – it is what it is – and commit to taking immediate action to change the direction of our lives.
And then repositioning our feet to take those first steps towards our new destination.
Rock-bottom is when we take those stomach churning, nerve destroying feelings we call stress, fear and panic and convert them into those energizing, inspiring feelings we call conviction, persistence and determination and take strong, precise and positive actions to change direction and move towards where we want to be, even if at the end of the day, by having done so, we have only moved one tiny millimetre closer to that place.
Rock bottom is when we change our expectations from expecting things to get worse to knowing things are getting better.
You see, we begin every day at rock-bottom. We begin every day with the opportunity to move our lives in the direction of joy and fulfillment or in the direction of pain and despair.
No matter how much pain and despair we may find ourselves to be in we have no idea how much further down we can still travel.
On the other hand, no matter how much joy and fulfillment is present in our lives, we will never know how much more there is to be had until we commit ourselves to pursuing it.
And that, my friends, is the rock bottom line.
Till we read again.
P.S. Please take a moment and read this.Yesterday was the start of the Calgary Stampede. For those of you who unfamiliar with this event, every July we Calgarians host a ten day event that is internationally known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.”
And it is.
In celebration of this week of non-stop partying my friend Mike at Self Connection is offering my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours for the unbelievably low price of $9.99. This is 60% off the regular price of $24.95.
Mike doesn’t seem to care that by selling my book at that price I make no money at all.
I am very proud of the fact that my book has been Number One on the Self Connection Bestseller list for several weeks and, at this price, I’m sure it will remain in that position.
To take advantage of this offer before Stampede ends on July 17, click here and place your order online or call (403) 284 – 1486 and ask for Mike.