Life is cruel sometimes.
It has no manners. No common courtesy. And it disobeys every social rule in the book.
One minute you’re relaxing on the beach, enjoying some much needed time off after a crazy couple of months. And the next you’re stressed, depressed, and dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Life is anything but easy. There are going to be ‘ups’ and there will also be a lot of ‘downs’.
That said, trying to avoid the low points defeats the entire purpose of this thing we call life.
The ‘downs’ are what make the ‘ups’ that much sweeter.
Instead of trying to avoid the crappy situations, we need to accept them.
Learn from the ‘downs’ and enjoy the ‘ups’. Developing the ability to flex your priorities will help you weather the storm and get back to enjoying your life.
How to Cultivate the Ability to ‘Flex’ Your Priorities and Weather the Storm
This past week has been the busiest of 2020.
During the day, I work as an implementation analyst for a large consulting firm. It just so happens that two of my three clients are going live (new websites becoming available for use) this week.
As such, I had to work a lot of overtime to ensure everything is up and running. Most days I had little time to relax, exercise, or even enjoy a meal with my girlfriend.
Because of the circumstances at work, I had to temporarily flex my priorities to focus on the ‘professional’ bucket of my life. I had to put other parts of my life on hold because my work required a little extra attention to keep things afloat.
Conversely, just last week, I was in Houston visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and new baby nephew. I only worked 2 days that week and took the rest off — no emails, no meetings, nothing.
That week, I temporarily flexed my priorities to focus on the ‘family’ bucket of my life. I don’t see my brother often so I wanted to be fully present. I didn’t work and I didn’t write.
Each week brought with it unique challenges. To weather the storm of each, I had to temporarily shift my focus on family, or work.
“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” — Frank Lane
During my time in Houston, I pretty much neglected all aspects of my work. And while struggling through the busiest work-week of 2020, I neglected nearly all other aspects of my life.
Each week was unique and required radically different priorities. Life threw me a little curveball so I had to respond appropriately to weather the storm.
There’s nothing wrong with temporarily shifting your priorities. In fact, the ability to accept the ebb and flow of life is what will make you massively successful.
How to Accept the Constant Ebb & Flow in Your Life
One of the best ways to handle the inevitable challenges in life is to accept the fact that all things are temporary.
Nothing is permanent. Not good. And certainly not the bad.
When viewed in this way, you’ll see the challenges in life with a new perspective.
After realizing that two large client projects were ending in the same week, I started to freak out knowing how bad the week was going to suck.
However, in a brief moment of clarity, I reminded myself of the impermanence of all things.
Knowing the ‘suck’ was only going to last for a week gave me the perspective to temporarily shift my priorities so I could get things done.
Inevitably, life will throw you for a loop. Something will come up and you’ll be forced to deal with a situation you weren’t expecting.
However, what ultimately determines your success is how you react to that challenge.
As Raj Solith once said, “Isn’t life supposed to be full of challenges that will make us learn from our mistakes?” Challenges are what help us grow. While they may be crappy, they need to be embraced.
When you fully embrace the impermanence of all things, you’ll quickly find gratitude for all the good stuff in your life.
And the crappy stuff in your life? Well, that too will look a bit different knowing it won’t last forever.
Change is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, life is going to throw us for some loops.
The key is to not fight it but rather embrace it. Understand that everything is temporary, whether it’s the worst week or the best week of your life.
When a new challenge requires you to flex your priorities, accept it.
Understand that there’s a reason why you’re being called to put in more effort.
Looking at life with this new perspective will allow you to temporarily flex your priorities based on the new challenges presented.
The more you can embrace this flexibility, the better equipped you’ll be to ride out the storm and get back to what you love doing.
This originally appeared in Medium.