Three lessons for overcoming challenges
C H O O S I N G
By Dr. Steven SteinbergStewart is a 47-year-old businessman in downtownChicago recently diagnosedwith heart disease. Of course,his business is going througha rough period.If that isn’t enough, histwo teenage children are bothhaving trouble at school andhis wife’s mother has beendiagnosed with Alzheimer’sDisease.Stewart’s question is,“Why me?”In business and life weencounter stress, suffering,loss and failure. We expectto overcome these obstacles,understand and solve ourproblems without any
difﬁculties or suffering.
When expectationssuch as these are not met,we go through the motionsof life without joy, withoutfocus, without propercommunications, complainingabout problems, blamingothers and too stressed tocreate or implement solutions.This causes us to cry out “Whyme?”The real question beingasked is: “Why do I suffer withso many problems in my work and life?”
Lesson #1: Why me? I want toknow for sure.
You will never know forsure. Absolute truth exists, butwe cannot know it absolutely.That is thehuman condition,uncertainty.Thatuncertainty isthe source of ourproblems. Withuncertainty, we can makemistakes that cause us pain.With uncertainty, withoutthe complete answer tolife’s problems, we feel pain.You have problems fromuncertainty, but you also havefreedom. Since you cannotknow for sure, you havefreedom of choice.You can choose anordinary or an extraordinaryresponse in any situation.What will be yourextraordinary response toyour conditions? Will youfocus on the pain of problemsor the freedom of choice?
Lesson #2: Why me? I wantto know anyway.
To be perfectly humanis to know imperfectly.Responsibility is the ability torespond extraordinarily in theface of uncertainty.Your job is to continueyour quest for knowledgeknowing that you can neverknow for sure. You must thenact upon your learning.Your responsibility is tosearch for truth and do theright thing. The historic RabbiTarfon said, “It’s not up to you
to ﬁnish the job, but you are
not free from doing some of the work.” Responsibility isthe name of the human game.So, lesson #1 – why me? I willnever know for sure.
Lesson #3: Why me? I wantto know my purpose
Why do you exist?What is your purpose in
life? Searching and ﬁnding
your purpose is the key thatopens the door to success in business and life. When yousearch for purpose there aretwo possible answers to life’sproblems and challenges.The ordinary answer tothe question “why me?” is:“because . . .”
You ﬁll in the blank with
blame. If you can blame, youare not responsible. Blameturns you into a victim. Blamelooks backwards. To look forward, to solve problems, tosee your purpose being met,you must change your answerto an extraordinary answer.The extraordinary answerto the question “why me?” is:“So That . . .!”
You ﬁll in the blank with
some powerful purpose, someoverriding value or somemeaningful solution to the
There are three lessons that can help people to understand and overcome in life and at work.When you focus on purpose then the power of purpose overrides the pain of problems!