Growing up people always told me, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I thought to myself, “I much rather live the easy life of my fellow students at Santa Clara University. Dealing with their real problems of finding more ping pong balls for beer pong.”
There’s an opportunity in every crisis
When people get emotional, make poor investment decisions, double down on hate and failed policies, or complain things are horrible but do nothing, this creates an opportunity.
The people who are thinking clearly are able to make small level headed decision that creates a 10X improvement in their lives and others. These people become leaders, these people become change makers, these people are the ones others turn to when things are bleak.
Each crisis is an opportunity for personal growth and advancement. And now looking back, I look at each crisis I have survived as a gift that has prepared me for the ebbs and flows of life.
Crisis I have survived:
Growing up without a father.
Watching my mother fight ovarian cancer for 14 years and biting my nails each time the chemo treatment reports came back.
Watching my mother deal with bankruptcy due to medical bills and paying for my brothers failed attempt at attending college.
Speaking at my mother’s funeral at the age of 14.
Getting kicked out of bellarmine because I didn’t have the right wealthy parents to back me up.
Getting kicked out of Santa Clara High school for failing grades.
Arriving at continuation high school as a white washed minority nerd taking classes with kids fresh from juvenile hall.
Having to take care of an ailing grandmother.
Breaking ties with brother (8 years my senior) after finding out he’s taking money from my grandmother.
Working a 40 hour week at from the age of 18 – 21 while going to school, and handling my grandmother’s medical affairs.
Organizing my grandmother’s funeral because none of the adults in my family were acting like adults.
Speaking at my grandmother’s funeral (second funeral before the age of 21).
Dealing with a family that ripped itself apart after a trivial amount of inheritance money.
Losing section 8 housing and preparing myself to sleep in my car.
Organizing a battle to win back section 8 housing after losing it.
Getting pulled over by the cops and having to think of a story within 10 seconds in order to not be arrested causing my cal grants to go away.
Getting admitted to SCU, starting a campaign to raise $100k in 3 months to pay for school.
Being notified that my cal grants worth $20k have been taken away, and creating a rational argument to get them back.
Leaving a family controlled by abusive matriarchs. Embarking on building a new family through friends.
Leaving section 8 housing in order to break the cycle of poverty.
Missing a bus bombing in the philippines due to a fluke.
Due to a newspaper story having an opportunity to interview at Google and screwing up the interviews for a full time position.
Receiving an offer for a temporary position, and swallowing pride to do my best and hustle.
Leaving my house during the morning of my third day at Google to find out my car is totaled due to a hit and run.
Building a case against the idiot who hit my car (thanks adopted dad Gary), bringing said idiot to court, beating the idiot twice in court, collecting my money, all this while working a demanding job.
Taking a full time position at Google as an admin and dealing with the ego hit of people reacting to the news as if I was thrown into prison.
Dealing with corporate politics.
Surviving the difficult role transition from being an admin to HR professional.
Hearing that my dad has stage 4 cancer, and becoming his primary care provider while working at Google.
A crisis is a time to grow
Any of those crisis could have knocked me off my path, but you’ll notice each crisis was a dot on the upward trend line of personal growth.
As the great Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I say to those who are struggling now, if you look at this situation 10 years from now, what will you say you have done to make a tangible positive impact on the situation?
You can crawl into a bottle to wallow in self serving despair or you own the situation, do what you can to improve things.