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Finding Meaning in a Crisis

11 May 2020

"Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realise your potential." Jeannette Walls

There are three places that we can live: yesterday, today and tomorrow. For some of us, living in the past affords us a sense of comfort and nostalgia. For others, we feel like we’re stuck in the past and can’t move forward.

For those of us who live in tomorrow... we’re the futurists. We might imagine a world where our problems have been solved, or we may picture a world that needs serious fixing and we’re cooped up in the henhouse of counting chickens before they’ve hatched. Again, we’re trying to gain some semblance of control.

If we choose to live in the ‘yesterdays’ and ‘tomorrows’, we will never realise our potential or discover true meaning. Our strength, energy and gifting will be stuck in conversations of shoulds and oughts.

It often takes a crisis to wake us up from the memories of yesterday and the dreams of tomorrow. One of the hardest practices in life is to be present... in the present.

There’s a phrase that is often repeated when something goes wrong, we say: ‘Don’t worry, it’s not a train smash.’

But, what if a train smash is what we really need to stop taking the same train every day? What if a crisis is what we really need in order to change direction or take a new path? It may be the only way to stop living in the past, or living in the future. A crisis may be the exact remedy to help us live in the present, it may be precisely what we need to break bad habits and cease putting things off until tomorrow.

Hitting a brick wall doesn’t have to break us, we can bounce. We can bounce in a different direction that has a better outcome for us. Realising our potential isn’t something we did a few years ago, it’s not something we might achieve in a few years to come. It’s something we can take ownership of today.

When we live in ‘today’, we realise that it’s not about control; it’s about meaning. How we spend our time and how we spend our money – these all reveal who we are right now, not who we once were or who we may or may not be. It helps us remain present to who and what we have already, instead of losing ourselves in what we’ve lost, or what we may never have.

When you’re working with your financial adviser, this is the space where you can begin to reap additional value from the conversations that will keep you focussed and on track. These will also give you opportunities to open up a little deeper and unlock even more value and meaning to your financial plan.

We may have called it a crisis yesterday, but tomorrow we may call it the best thing that ever happened to us. The only decision that stands between those two points is what we decide to do today.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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