There’s only so much you can plan for when life throws a spanner in the works. This is when your attitude can make or break you. A positive attitude can propel you forward but a negative or doomsday type of worldview can really hold you back.
This is a true story. A hardworking corporate executive in the US earning a modest income for almost ten years in the same company, just lost her job due to a takeover.
It was a bit of a shock to the senses because she did not see it coming. Moreover, she was recently divorced and all the bills that used to be shared between them had now fallen squarely on her shoulders.
To make matters worse, five months went by without a job in sight. Despite being highly qualified, and actively sending her resume out, nothing concrete showed up.
To her added disadvantage, political elections were just around the corner, making it even tougher in the marketplace for organisations to be making new hiring decisions at that point in time.
When she was about to move into the sixth month of unemployment, her pet suddenly sustained an injury at home requiring urgent surgery. The operation ended up eating into the last reserves of her savings. She was starting to worry about how she would make the next month’s rent.
You know the English expression, “When it rains, it pours?” Well, she was out for dinner with a friend when she became the victim of a hit-and-run incident, triggered by a neighbourhood fight.
Her car’s sidelight was broken and the bonnet was badly dented. She really didn’t need this and her friend was lamenting that there was very little they could do, because there were no witnesses around (or so they thought).
As she was about to leave, she noticed a few homeless people in the car park who started to approach her.
The older lady said to her, “I’m sorry about what happened to your car. I guess you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. It had nothing to do with you, girl. We saw the guy who did this. He’s a big troublemaker in this city…criminal record and everything”.
She felt hopeful there were witnesses to what happened after all. However, she needed their cooperation to agree to stay back as her eyewitnesses.
She was most humbled by the fact that they not only decided to help her out, but they all waited patiently on the curb with her until the police arrived, even offering words of encouragement that after such a run of bad luck, things would surely look up for her.
It was a completely unexpected evening she will never forget. The support she received out of nowhere on this unfortunate night made her count her blessings because no matter how terrible things got for her, she knew she would always have options in her life.
She was able to create Plan B, though she had never wanted to contemplate it.
Count your blessings even in the darkest hours
Whenever you have fears, you must look them in the face and ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” She realised that the worst-case scenario for her would indeed be heartbreaking.
If she couldn’t get a job in time to keep up with the mortgage, she would lose her home but she was not homeless, like the people standing in front of her. She had family she could turn to and friends she could stay with because a job would surely show up eventually.
She would be able to rebuild her life. She might need to downsize, or get uncomfortable for a while, but she was not totally out of options.
So, it was on the curb that night that she snapped out of feeling sorry for herself because everything was relative. The people she just met didn’t even have a roof over their heads. She felt blessed to be able to return to a warm and beautiful home she could still call her own.
She felt it was time to shift into “positive gear”. She had never been a believer in the “law of attraction” but she couldn’t deny the fact that the moment she lost her job, one negative thing after another seemed to happen to her.
She was also in a state of constant stress due to her finances and lack of stability, which is a tense way to live day-to-day.
If she could just look at the glass half full rather than half empty, and start adopting a more positive attitude, she felt she would be in a much better position to attract positive outcomes, including a new job. It would certainly be a better way to live.
The turning point for her was meeting those amazing strangers who had virtually “nothing” yet gave her so much, especially the light of clarity she needed to get her “mojo” back.
Somehow, after that car incident, she was no longer gripped by stress or panic because she was mentally prepared to accept any outcome.
There’s a certain grace that comes from letting go of the things you cannot control, and an immeasurable positivity from always focusing on your many blessings.
Jojo Struys is a regional TV host, speaker and wellness personality. She is also the founder of OhanaJo Studio, Malaysia’s largest yoga and sound healing space (www.ohanajo.com)