I read of a story of someone who was trying to beg his former employer of more than twenty years to take him back after he had been laid off. He had grown through the ranks from being a casual laborer doing menial roles to being the technical operations manager; a very dedicated and industrious worker, you would say. A worker whose discipline and results had propelled him through the ranks. His main plea was for the company to have mercy on him and allow him to complete the remaining years to retirement especially given that he did not have any specialized training; his chances of landing another job were nonexistent. He also was not done with schooling his children and did not have any savings for that. He argued further that his family had gotten used to ‘class’ and they now find it hard to adjust to the village life in an incomplete house with no electricity and all the luxuries that his position used to have.
I got thinking. Funny as the story may seem, the old man was representing many of us. His plea may not hold any waters both legally and in the court of public opinion but the implications of his sacking are dire especially to his immediate family members. The psychological torture, the impending discontinuation of schooling for the children and the withdrawal syndrome for withdrawal from affluence. His company had changed strategy from over reliance on manual labor to automated solutions leading to restructuring which rendered most employees redundant; more so those who had no education beyond O-level. Many companies are doing this today and I can only imagine the number of people silently going through such.
It brings to the fore, a pertinent concern – our preparedness to face adversity. No one is guaranteed life employment much as the terms may be called permanent and pensionable; no business person is guaranteed business prosperity for life. Companies will continue restructuring and folding with serious ramifications to the employees. Businesses too will continue to face difficulties and changes with a good number of them dropping off the grid. Some of the affected employees and business people will die of depression (God forbid) while others will lose a nut in the head and begin talking to themselves; some will stay put as though nothing happened and move on. Where is the difference? In the preparedness for adversity. Clearly, our guy above had not prepared for what befell him. I dare ask this disturbing question, ‘how prepared are you for adversity?’
Difficulty times are a reality and they are bound to face us in the course of our living; not a single person can succeed in dodging problems. It is a question of when and not if trouble will visit you. Your job can fall off, your business can fold, your health can deteriorate, and your finances can dwindle. Your survival when trouble happens will largely depend on your readiness. Given that it’s a reality of life, it then becomes prudent that we anticipate it and put in place measures that will cushion us and lessen the pangs of the adversity. The first step in such preparation is to prepare your imagination and tune your mind to the possible realities of life. Battles are won in the mind long before they are fought in the battlefield.
A story is told of a snake that was crawling on the ground when an eagle flew to her and said, “How unfortunate you are, doomed to crawl all your life. Not like me, I’m destined to fly.” The snake looked at the eagle and said, “You are right eagle, I can’t fly. But only I know what it means to fly.” “How can you know that? You don’t have a wing!” asked the snake.
“Thoughts are my wings”, answered the snake. “Dreams are my heaven. While crawling, I close my eyes and I see the heaven. I imagine that I’m crawling in heaven and not on the ground. I’m flying in heaven. In my free thoughts, I learn how to fly. With my soul, I’m arising to the high heavens, so when the time comes for my life as a snake to end, I could fly to heaven in freedom. I won’t be afraid to fly because it won’t be a new thing to my mind. We’ll both fly together one day, only that I’ll be stronger than you because I’ve already learnt how to fly without wings. I will have both options; I’ll not be afraid of losing my wings because I know how to crawl and neither will I be afraid of having wings because in my mind, I already know how to fly. And what will you do, eagle, if you lose those wings you are boasting of, today?” asked the snake as the eagle became dumbfounded.
Begin your preparation today; it is never too late. The time is always right to do what is right. Cultivate a good relationship with your family, when things get thick, they will receive and stand by and with you. Begin your investment journey today, whichever way you deem fit, start doing your savings for a rainy day. If your employer is housing you and providing you with a company car and other privileges, begin getting uncomfortable and imagine what would happen if that job dropped today. Eventually, It will be your own house, however small, that will accommodate you when adversary visits. Invest in your health by eating right and exercising; when adversity comes, your health will be with you. No matter what you do, always be alert and keep preparing. It’s not about the number of problems you go through that counts but those you successfully handle. With preparedness, YOU CAN DO BETTER!
Motivational Speaker and Author.