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How to Survive Life’s Drastic Changes – Thrive During Uncertain Times | JR Cook

Sometimes when disaster seems imminent, we are forced to take a new path if we want to avoid destruction.

I have recently spent some time deeply considering the topic of change, both universally, and how it applies practically into our lives. I have come to realize that change is something that is inevitable, yet so many of us do everything in our power to prevent it. In fact, most of us live our lives managing and mitigating change that happens to us involuntarily. This doesn’t have to be the case though. We can take charge of this constant change, and make sure that it works for our benefit. That is what I am going to be discussing in today’s article.

I will begin by discussing how the vast majority of people deal with change. I will then share some ideas on how you might benefit by changing the way you view change in your life. At that point, if you think that my ideas might be useful to implement in your life, I will share some practical steps on how to start using change to your benefit. You can even begin to control the change to improve not only your own life, but in the lives of everyone you know.

With that, I will get started.

How most people deal with change.

Is this happening to me, and is completely out of y control? Or is this happening for me, and I can choose my response?

It is no secret that most of us don’t like change… I mean, it is uncomfortable for us to change our worldview and get used to something new. It can also be very expensive for organizations to adapt to changes in the marketplace, so is more economical for things to stay the way they are. That is why there will always be opposition to anything that any of our political leaders propose we try, no matter how good it may be. It is just the nature of humanity. There will always be opposition whenever change is involved. This isn’t just true now, it is true historically.

Opposition to change also sparks from everyone’s confirmation bias. To admit that things need to change, means that we weren’t 100% correct up to this point. That rocks the ego of opinionated individuals, especially those in the public light such as politicians and other public figures. No one wants to admit they were wrong, so on a subconscious level, they will be more resistant to endorse sweeping changes. It is much more comfortable for people to align themselves with the status quo, but then of course no real progress is made.

Personally, I am always appreciative of when people propose large sweeping changes, whether I agree with them or not. I can respect the individual’s courage. It is always impressive to me when someone believes in something fully, and goes for it despite all opposition. All sweeping change has started with a person like this. Consider the courage it took Rosa Parks to refuse to move to the back of the bus, and the change that inspired within the nation, and in turn world.

So what does this mean to the common person living their lives? It means that we usually brush change aside, we buy the makup to hide our aging, we treat our children as if they are still young and far less capable than they actually are, we avoid committing fully in relationships because of the change that involves in loosing some of our individual freedoms. We don’t want to rock the boat at our work, or quit our jobs to start a business. Change is scary. We hold resentment to these changes.

Here is the uncomfortable truth though.

There are two different mentalities for walking through life. Somewhere around 90% of people walking down the street believe that the world happens to them, and they are powerless to do anything about it. This is typically the group of people who make the bottom 20% of the total income. However, the 10% who believe life happens for their benefit expect to receive 80% of the income. Why is it? A conspiracy? Sorry Bernie, but nope… They are the type of people who will read this and take action on it, where 90% of people will think these ideas may be interesting, but will never do anything about it… They’d rather keep blaming someone else for their pain and failures in life.

The fact that change is always happening means that any responsible individual must pay attention to, and plan for it. Avoiding change will always inevitably result in being caught in a prison of fear. This fear of change leaves many of us immobilized. We feel like we are trapped, trapped in a job, trapped in a relationship, trapped in a situation, like there is no choice. Let me be very clear if you find yourself in a situation like that right now. I have been there, and I realize now that there is always a choice. The feeling of “being trapped” usually isn’t based on reality… It is an imaginary cage that we have built for ourselves as an excuse to avoid perusing happiness.

I have used all those excuses before too. I felt trapped in the Marines because I didn’t know if I could get a job when I got out, then I got out and got a job and felt trapped at that job. I have felt trapped in more than one relationship. What finally made the biggest difference to me so far in my life was to realize what that feeling really was… It is simply an unjustified fear. It is a mental disorder as far as I am concerned at this point. Whenever I experience it, I say… Oh, that mental illness is creeping back in. That frame of mind allows me to aggressively attack whatever beliefs are causing my fear and inaction.

The benefits of being willing to constantly embrace and use change for my advantage are apparent to me every day of my life now. There is no way I would have been able to start a business and leave the US as a digital nomad without it. I’d still be feeling “trapped”. I see changes happening in the market place and invest in the right companies to make a profit while everyone else is selling.

I don’t know where you are right now in your life, but I’d be willing to bet that you may be feeling trapped in a certain area if you are reading this article. If what I am saying is making sense, I invite you to read the next section of this article where I will provide some practical steps you can take to begin adapting to, and in fact thriving in a constantly changing reality.

Practical Steps

The corona virus happened around 6 months ago now, and I remember very vividly the feeling I got. My initial reaction was “oh no, what will happen to all of my customers?” The answer to that was I lost them all… Did I mope about it? Nope… Instead I asked myself the following question:

“If this corona virus pandemic was happening for my benefit, what would that benefit be?”

The answer to that question has improved my entire way of doing business, and in fact philosophy on life and business this year.

For me, everything falling apart, and almost every stream of income stopping was a good thing because it forced me to get creative. I asked myself that question every morning and acted upon the answers I would come up with… It was a couple of weeks of uncertainty, followed by an increase in income, and the method of how I made that income improved as well. No longer was I working based on the demands of others… I am now reaching out strategically to people I think I can help the most with my services. Now I am writing about impactful topics that mattered to me and could really help people for a long-term exposure of my philosophy and work.

None of that would have happened though had I not embraced the inevitable change that came because of the virus pandemic.

The same thing is true right now with a lot of retailers due to the cold war climate between China and the US. Many retailers source their products from China, and I know a lot of Amazon sellers are being asked where their products are made.

What this means is that the demand for US made products is huge and is only growing right now. To an entrepreneur who hates change, they will only see their money shrink because of this… To the entrepreneur who embraces and loves change, will benefit enormously because of this change. The opportunity right now to develop US based products is huge within the United States. This is an opportunity that I am not personally taking right now since I am overseas, but I am only mentioning it to illustrate the power of an individual’s mindset regarding change. Maybe someone will want to jump on this after reading it.

You can either sit back where you are and hope that tensions ease with China, while simultaneously watching your profits drop like a rock, feeling immobilized, or you can ask yourself the question:

“If this were really happening for my benefit, what would that benefit be?”

It sounds simple, but this question has helped me through some massive changes AKA problems that have happened in my life. Try it with whatever changes you are avoiding, and I think you will see great opportunities even through whatever struggles you may be currently working through.

It is the difference between feeling overwhelmed, leading to procrastination, or feeling in control, leading to action.

The Successful Mindset Toward Change

So what is a successful mindset to maintain toward change? First thing is first, realize that the only thing that is constant in the universe is change. There is no static state of forever, even if things appear that way, even fore thousands of years… Eventually they will change. The grand canyon didn’t start out looking that way. Realize that everything that you currently take for granted in life will at some point change.

My first piece of advice would be to realize this, and remember that whenever change occurs to ask the question, “Why is this happening for my benefit?”

There are a couple more key question to ask yourself to find the exact opportunities that societal change causes, such as the corona virus. Below these questions I will do another set for personal situations, breakups, injuries, etc.

How to create opportunities in changing situations when everyone else is paralyzed in fear.

1. What does this moment in history change how people will live?

2. What will people need, in order to make these changes that this moment in history is calling for?

Those two questions will give you some unique ideas as to what the market will soon be demanding.

3. How can I deliver that need that people have as efficiently and in the best way possible?

The answer to that question should give you an idea for an opportunity. Whatever the answer is, it should be some kind of product or service.

4. How would I go about creating and delivering that product or service?

Diving into this question will be the beginning of a plan.

5. What action can I take right now that will begin the process of bringing this idea into reality?

There you go, taking the first step will mean you are actively creating an opportunity where so many other people are paralyzed in fear. In changing times, competition is slim to non-existant.

How to take a personal struggle and turn it into a blessing in disguise?

I will mention the same question again because I think it is the most important concept of this entire article. Don’t dwell on the apparent problem… Ask yourself, “Why is this happening for me?” and if your initial response is, “IT’S NOT HAPPENING FOR MY BENEFIT!” Think harder.

How could this be happening for your benefit. Imagine that you are sitting in your dream house in 10 years, thinking of your current situation, and say “That was the moment that everything turned around in my life.” How was it that this complete pain and anguish turn out with you on top?

If you are still having problems, just ask, “How could this possibly turn out to my benefit?” That little word, “possibly”, will help grease up the mind and get your ideas flowing.

Once you think of some ideas that might turn your current troubles around to your benefit, write them down. Your mind is going to want to snap back into your patterns of dwelling on your problems. It is critical to break that habit. The best way to do that is to write down why everything is happening for your benefit, and what you hope to achieve because of it. Write it on a notecard, and keep it in your wallet or purse. Whenever you start to feel that old feeling of being trapped, clap your hands or do some jumping jacks then look at that card. It will help you get back into your Daily Victory Mindset.

Final Thoughts on Handling Changing Times and Challenging Situations

Now that you have a couple of powerful processes to take your mind through, you are ready to turn your situation around.

Beyond that it really just comes down to execution, like everything else in life. I call it maintaining a Daily Victory Mindset. Change can often seem imminently disastrous, but I truly believe that the disaster doesn’t usually strike those who maintain an attitude that life happens for them, not to them. You tend to get what you focus on the most in life. Feed your power of focus to the solutions, and your problems will tend to starve.

Try to adopt the belief that everything happens for a reason. Do I objectively know if that is true? Well… yes and no, but it doesn’t matter really. I know that having that belief serves me. It reduces stress, keeps me creative during times of struggle, makes me feel connected to something higher when I find myself alone, and allows me to find peace regardless of the chaos I find happening around me. Also it helps me make more money, better quality relationships, and overall greater general happiness. I call it a “beneficial belief.”

My challenge to you now is to do something about your situation. Stop allowing yourself to be a victim of your circumstances. Why is this happening for you? What are you going to do about it?

Go for it.

If you liked this article and would like to keep up to date with my new ones you can subscribe for updates by filling in your email below. You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel here, where I talk about these exact same topics that I write about. Until next time my friend, thanks for reading.

-JR Cook

August 2020