“Those who can bear all can dare all.” – Luc De Clapiers
Have you ever wondered what life would be like if we lived as if we had nothing to lose? If you woke up tomorrow with nothing and had to start all over again, could you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and start building again? Everyday would be bound by struggle and each step would be a leap of faith into the next. Does the though of this scare you or does it ignite your senses?
Most of us have grown so accustom to our lives of luxury that just the thought of losing our sense of comfort sends us into a panic. Of course, no one would willingly choose to throw away comfort for gloom and despair but what if it wasn’t a choice? What if it was all taken in the swiftness of a sudden dark wind?
“If you’re going to die, then die. If you’re going to live, then fight.” – Emilie Autumn
History is filled with giants of success who became that way only after hitting rock bottom, or being born into it. Oprah Winfrey was born to a young, low-income mother and was abused throughout her childhood. She was fired from a local television station because she was “unfit” for work on television.
Martha Stewart was the world’s first female self-made millionaire. Only a few years after her firm went public, she was sent to prison for 5 years because of her involvement in a stock scandal. Her story could’ve ended there but it didn’t. After being released from prison, she went back to work and within 12 months, her company was again profitable.
“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who, from an early age, knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.” – Oprah Winfrey
After finding success as an actor late in life, Liam Neeson lost his wife to terrible skiing accident. He was left alone to cope with his two young children. Instead of cashing it in, Neeson regained his senses and his career by pouring himself into raising his children and soon regained his stardom as a premier hollywood icon.
For Neeson, Winfrey, and Stewart, and a plethora of others, both famous and common people, rock bottom wasn’t the end, it was the beginning. Rock bottom strips away the facade and exposes us to our very core. There is absolutely nothing left to hide behind. We are forced to look at our life for exactly what it is, both good and bad. The decisions and circumstances that brought us here become painful lessons, which if allowed, can help us to begin rebuilding.
In these moments we have no choice but to be humbled. It is in this humility that we ultimately find out who we really are. It forces us to find the strength within us that we no longer thought we had. We become self-reliant and we begin to see things for what they really are. We cease depending on externals for our happiness and ultimately become aware that everything that we need is already within us.
“Endurance pierces marble.” – Moroccan Proverb
Lastly, we become grateful for everything that is left because all of the phony has been removed. We realize that there is nothing left to lose and because of that we are free to dare, create, move, and experience life like never before. Just as failure is often a prerequisite for success, rock-bottom can also serve as a launching pad for better, more vibrant life.