THE BEST ADVICE YOU WILL EVER GET IN LIFE
_How to handle Depression_
Some years ago, I was visited by a junior friend, someone I am glad to be a mentor to. He was depressed. And for the purpose of this writing, I will call him Ben.
We are often advised to invest in our passion. So, Ben had attempted four straight ideas in the area of his passion but none had yielded a penny. As a matter of fact, he had invested all he had in pushing the last of the projects, convinced of returns, but nothing worked as he projected.
The very last was unbearable and he considered it proper to be shared. He traveled from Lagos (our busiest city in Africa) and it was past 8pm when I got a knock on my apartment door.
“Good evening sir,” he greeted, and it was about 10pm when he concluded, “…that is it sir, and I am really really down now.”
He had come a long way with me, so all the sympathy a leader would usually accord people was not necessary, so I went straight to the point.
“Earlier today, around 5pm, I dressed in my sport outfit and had a 2 hours walk.” Can you guess why?” I asked.
“If it was for exercise, you wouldn’t be asking I guess,” he replied.
“Good! Because you’re right, it wasn’t for exercise, I was verrrrrry depressed today,” I emphasized.
I had a court case over a business I got involved in carelessly with a 3rd party. I had a complex on threat to be locked down. I had also made some trifle business mistakes that resulted in huge financial losses running in tens of millions. There were other bigger and smaller (but private) matters here and there. Not to mention, some creditors who upon learning of my situations where not hesitant to grind me for their money. Calls, texts, mails, everything.
It was a compendium of crisis and all of them happening so fast and within the same time. And at this point, it would be normal to say that I auto-switched to ‘depression mode.’
But then, something different happened that evening. I took a very long walk and was exercising some lessons I had learnt from the #BIBLE (a book I consider the #Best #Inspiration for #Business and #Life #Exploits).
During the walk time also, I reminded myself of all I had learnt from past experiences and from other leaders on how they handled tough times. By the time I got home, I had summarized my 2 hours walk experience into two information-based action plan.
The same advice I shared with Ben is what I will now share with you. First, I will elaborate some of the points I shared with him and towards the end of the post, I will drop the two information-based action plan I had earlier mentioned (you scroll down and check it out if you don’t want to follow the story).
1: The first thing that happens to you when you decide to take your life and fashion it as you’d love it (either as a leader or as an entrepreneur) is that you’d notice, you have to take a lot of decisions by yourself. What happens is that you unconsciously become better in making decisions, very fast. And because other people’s activities soon begin to depend on your speed of decisions, you find yourself making even harder decisions, faster.
2: But the above is natural and doesn’t require a lot of training. It is often spontaneous, such that except the people around you spot it to you, you would rarely notice the change.
Another way you may notice the new difference in you, is when you begin to get “offended” or “shocked” at friends, colleagues or employees for not being able to work around “simple” problems. Something that is called “thinking on your feet.” A very powerful but highly limited tool. And many leaders stop there.
3: The next thing that happens to leaders and entrepreneurs is “romance with failure.” They fail so often that some completely loose confidence in their ability to make right decisions. It is at this point that many people plateau.
4: So in addition to “thinking on your feet,” successful leaders all over the world today and in the yesteryears all mastered how to “fail fast.”
5: They become experts in absorbing shock and re-channeling the energy that comes with it. They mourn, but not for long. They may loose money today, but they are back to work the next day. They may loose a partner on a Sunday and on Monday morning, they are at work before everyone else. They get jilted in a relationship, it matters but then, they’re quick to move on. They have mastered the art of never staying long in the down side of the emotional roller coaster. They fail, but do it very very fast.
6. When I met with Dr. Myles Munroe in 2012, he told me that “true vision never dies.” I was to see him the following year but should his itinerary change, he advised that I hold fast to those words (something I am doing till date). These same words resonate with the lifestyle of most successful people. They always have ‘their’ bigger picture in mind, and then, when they fail or experience a kind of set back that would usually require the average person, days to years to recover from, they quickly come out of it, get on course, only to fail again and then again. They really never succeed, they only fail so fast that we don’t notice the points of their failure, we only see them as making progress and we call that success.
7: Another important lesson is the face-mask. Successful leaders and entrepreneurs are experts in seduction and in the art of war – deception. They understand what Jesus meant when He said, “to him that has, more will be given unto him and to him that has not, the one he has will be taken away from him.”
They are careful about their public image and reputation. They never wear their life’s battles and struggles on their faces. They are masters in spreading positive vibes at all times.
Investors and friends will not give you their money when they perceive you’re having difficulties, even your creditors will suddenly forget all the years of good return on their money and become thorns on your flesh.
So you must protect yourself from such by all means.
That was my long counseling section with Ben.
THE ACTION PLAN
And when I was done with the counseling section, Ben was ready for action. Then I gave him the shock his life,
“Young man,” I said “you came here to lie to me.’ “You were never depressed!”
He was startled, while I left the room giving him time reminiscent. By the time I returned to the room, he wasn’t looking any better, so I continued,
“you’re just confused and we have to clear that now!”
“See, after my 2 hours of walk today, I returned to my apartment and took out some sheets of paper.
In one I asked my self, ‘what are all the things troubling me now,’ and I made a comprehensive list of everything – everything.
Next, I looked up the list to see the biggest fish among them all and I picked it out.
I imagined what would happen when I am able to solve this one big problem. The feeling I got? Beautiful!
So I took another sheet and wrote down that single problem and then tore the other lengthy list to shreds. They didn’t matter at all. They are all small devils anchoring on my one challenge to make me miserable.”
I took the next sheet and I asked myself, ‘what is my current life’s goal, my next big ambition, that goal that connects with me and takes me closer to my one big goal in life?’
I penned it down also.
So I was down with just two sheets of papers. One had my angel and the other my challenge.
I handled the challenge first, listing all possible things I could start doing from that very moment in solving it completely.
For nearly every point of strategy I penned down, I felt better. It was therapeutic.
One of the strategies was ‘who to call, someone to talk to.’
I didn’t give room to inertia, I was to started immediately with what I could from my list of strategies.
Finally, the chips were down to one, my ‘angel paper,’ and I began working on it. I made list of new approaches, who to meet, who to exit, what to do and what to stop doing.
Before another hour was over, I was bursting with energy. This was further heightened after I had spoken with one of my very close confidant, a friend, a brother and a mentor. This in particular was my first step in overcoming inertia and I was careful as to who it was to be; someone that will not just sympathize with me, but someone who would remind me of how strong a person I am and offering an advice or two.
By the time we were done, I noticed I was never depressed, crisis had only distorted my focus from what was most important – MOVING FORWARDS.
I had cleared my confusions and regained my focus. With very high optimism, I looked forward again, but this time not just to succeed but to fail faster then everyone else around me.”
Ben got my message. Did you?
© OTUBO VICTOR