If you’re a regular reader of Chet’s book, (365 Daily Disciplines), you may remember the forward written by Steven Pressfield, author of historical fiction, non-fiction history, screenplays, (movie Bagger Vance), and one book selling over a million copies, (the War of Art), and the Gates of Fire, which are just a few of the books he has written.
I think we forget sometimes that even with all the success Pressfield has had in his career, he still fights many of the same battles we do, fear, doubt, loneliness, and the stresses of daily life. And yet, despite it all, what does he do? Does he waller in victimhood and run from it all……in Pressfilds words……
“Can we stay calm amid crises? Can we keep thinking clearly and working at our optimum level?
I’m in the midst of a similar situation right now. An external event with super-negative twists and turns is afflicting me emotionally every day, even pursuing me into my dreams at night. Indeed, I am freaking out. Indeed, my daylight hours are full of crazed phone calls and emergency consultations.
But one thing remains inviolable. I will not stop working on the book I’m writing now. And I will not stop working to my fullest capacity. That’s the mission….
And here’s the weird part. In some crazy way, I think the book I’m working on is actually coming out better.”
At age 40, Sir Winston Churchill found himself at one of the lowest points in his career. In World War I he ordered an attack on Gallipoli, Turkey and it went horribly wrong, he was demoted from First Lord of the Admiralty, left a political post, and found himself a lowly officer in the Army.
Consumed with anxiety, guilt and in a deep depression, he went back to his home at Chartwell and began painting beautiful landscapes and lost himself in his art, the beauty surrounding him and became famous for the 500 plus landscapes he painted throughout his career. He found a renewed energy, time to reflect on his career and a renewed will to serve. In Churchill’s words….
“Painting came to my rescue in a most trying time,” Churchill would later write in the 1920s, in essays that would become a small book, Painting as a Pastime.
And then we have another great leader, President Lincoln who suffered his whole adult life with depression or melancholy as the experts described it. In her book, Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin gives an excellent account of how Lincoln managed his pain, depression, the loss of a young son, a grief-stricken wife and a country mired in a Civil War! What kept him from wallering in pain and victimhood……. deep reflection, long walks at night, and a legendary sense of humor!..
Three pretty good stories of men who experienced deep rejection, moments of truth and stayed the course, they had a purpose bigger than them themselves, choosing a path of action and not allowing themselves the path of victimhood.
- How about you, what path are you choosing?
- Is your pain the platform you can use to find a renewed will to serve?
- Are you working on you and giving yourself the gift of a Kairos moment?