Blogpost, self-reliance

If You’re Going Through Hell…

I cannot take credit for this quote. The origin may not be from Sylvester Stallone but that’s where I heard it. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Like so many of the quotes that stick with me, it reframes an idea in such a way that makes me want to take action. The idea of going through hell is overwhelming. It is the place of true suffering and the landlord leaves a lot to be desired. So the quote brings the full picture into focus. If you are in the worst place, keep moving until you get out. Even hell must have some form of boundary and just like New Jersey, you probably have to pay a toll to leave. Regardless, the idea of staying is unthinkable (in hell, not NJ, love the Garden State). So it’s in your best interest to put feet to pavement (or hot coals) and get the hell out of there!

Portion of the album cover to “Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden. Original painting by Derek Riggs.

“That’s easy for you to say! You don’t know what I’m going through!” You’re absolutely right! Words are cheap but let’s forget that for a moment because that will always be true. Is that what you need? Someone who understands what you’re going through? There are support groups for just about everything under the sun at this point. Chances are that someone out there could understand your situation but would it really help? Or is it just easier to feel badly about the situation? These are legitimate questions that might be worth answering. If you need the understanding, search it out.

Just like so many other situations, an unwanted vacation in hell can be remedied by three words: vision, chunking and reasons. You need to have a vision for where you want to be, not a focus on where you are. The road is most likely going to be long and painful but if you can chunk it down or break it into pieces, progress can be seen more easily. Finally, you need reasons. In Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he talks about his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. People needed to develop reasons to carry on in those inhuman circumstances.

Perhaps the situation that you are in is not exactly hell, the three words still work. Regardless of who you are or what your circumstances, we all run up on hard times. Often, our reaction to them is how we end up defining ourselves.

Safe travels!


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