In the course of our life, we have to agree that there is no beauty without struggle. No one likes to hear the story of someone who got everything easily. People want to listen to the stories of men and women who, while born in the valley of struggle, endured pain and turned their battles into a gift.
So, how can you get stronger? What can you do transform struggle into beauty? Do you want people to look up to you? Or do you want people just to feel sorry for you?
Today or tomorrow, you might feel frustrated. Maybe your dreams are not a concrete reality yet. Your life or career may somehow have taken a wrong turn. But to change that, the first thing you have to do is to search within yourself. So, I will tell you a quick story about my unusual path of change and transformation from battles to beauty over the years.
If I relate this tale, it is because it is relevant to the subject of struggle, change, and beauty. The story begins as I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be and do something different than anyone else. But I just could not figure out what it was.
A Period Of Wandering and Struggle
Even to this day, all kinds of subjects interest me. In school, I liked biology. But growing up with horses, I naturally drifted into working with them. Then one day, after a few years, I was draft in the Soviet navy for three long years. I was sent away far from everything I cherished, near the Arctic pole.
At first, this news was like a punch in the stomach. But in the months that followed, I realized that I loved animals but entered a career that just did not suit me. It was merely a way to make a living and travel. This realization initiated a period of wandering and struggle in my life.
After my duty in the navy, I defected while in the USA, travelled all across North America and Europe, and worked at every conceivable job. I was a waiter in Florida, became a security guard in Belgium, worked as a zookeeper in Colorado, then change to be an assistant surgeon for a veterinarian. Then I entered the Hollywood film business where I worked as a figurant and stuntman, to then convert as a chauffeur in Russia.
The Beauty of It All
I also worked as a shoe salesman in Texas, served as a customer representative for a sightseeing tour in Austria. In between, I even wandered back to my native Ukraine where I operated as a chauffeur and bodyguard for escort girls, among other odd jobs. In these long years of wandering, struggle, and beauty, I had totalled over thirty different positions.
So, here I was 50 years old and unable to settle for anything. Yes, I had moments of doubt, but I did not feel lost. Instead, I was searching and exploring, and I was hungry for experiences. During all that time, I also loved writing. That year, while in Belgium, for yet another job, a friend gave me a book.
Suddenly, in reading it, every struggle and everything in my disjointed past seemed to click into place, like magic. The beauty of it all was the result of all of those various experiences. And so, the horses, the veterinarian, the zoo, the film industry, and oddly enough, even the escort job gave me the skills to create my future and get stronger.
The Moral of the Story
All of that experience gave me a vast storehouse of ideas that I could draw upon on. Even those indifferent, seemingly random jobs exposed me to every type of cultures, mentalities, and beliefs. And also the languages I learned while travelling taught me things.
All of these experiences added up to rich layers of knowledge and practice that altered me from the inside out. In my own bizarre and intuitive way, I gave myself the perfect education for what I am to do in my lifetime.
Now the moral of this story is that you might tend to fixate on what you can see with your eyes. As humans, it is the most animal part of our nature. When you look at the changes and transformations in other people’s lives, you see the beauty and good luck that someone had in being at the right place at the right time and disregard the struggle they endured.
Struggle Transforms into Beauty
You see the success that brings the money and the attention. In other words, you see the visible signs of opportunity and prosperity. You compare to the struggle in your own life, but you are grasping at an illusion. What allows for such dramatic changes are the things that occur on the inside of a person and are completely invisible.
So, the beauty is the slow accumulation of knowledge and skills, the incremental improvements in work habits and the ability to withstand criticism. Any change in people’s fortune is merely the visible manifestation of all of that deep preparation over time.
The answer, the key to the ability to transform struggle into beauty is insanely simple. You have to reverse your approach. Stop fixating on what other people are saying, doing or thinking. And end the focus on the money, the connections, or the outward appearance of things.
The Beauty is Looking Inward
Instead look inward! Focus on the smaller internal changes that lay the groundwork for a much larger shift in fortune. It is the difference between grasping at an illusion and immersing yourself in reality. And the reality is what will liberate and transform you. Here is how this would work in your own life.
Consider the fact that you are fundamentally unique and one of a kind. Look at the beauty of your DNA, the particular configuration of your brain, and your life’s experiences. In early childhood, this uniqueness manifested itself by the fact that you felt particularly drawn to specific subjects and activities. It is what the book “Mastery” calls primal inclinations.
You cannot rationally explain why you feel so drawn to music, or to words, or to particular questions about the world around you, or any other field.
As you get older, you often lose contact with these inclinations. The struggle comes when you listen to relatives who urge you to follow a particular career path. Or when teachers influence you, or by people that tell you what you are good and bad at. You listen to friends who tell you what is cool and not. At a certain point, you can almost become a stranger to yourself.
Reflect on Beauty and Struggle
And so, you enter career paths that are not suitable for you, emotionally and intellectually. The beauty of your life’s task, your true calling, or your purpose as I call it, is to return to those inclinations and in that uniqueness that marked you at birth.
And whatever age you find yourself, as I did, you must reflect back on those earliest inclinations. You must look at those subjects in the present that continues to spark that intense childlike curiosity in you.
And recap on the struggle of those subjects and activities that you have been forced to do over the past years. Based on these reflections, you determine a direction you must take. So, you have a loose but overall framework which you can explore to find the angles and positions that suit you best.
No Beauty without Struggle
You need to listen carefully to yourself, to your internal radar. For me, it was animal entertainment and Hollywood that did not feel right. And so, you move on slowly narrowing your path, all the while accumulating skills.
Yet, most people do not want struggle, but simple, direct straight lined paths to the perfect position and into success. But instead, you must welcome wrong turns and mistakes. They make you aware of your flaws. And they widen your experiences; they toughen you up and bring the beauty you desire.
If you come to this process at a later age, you must cultivate a new set of skills, just as I did. Get abilities that suits this change and direction you will be taking and find a way to blend them with your previous skills.
No Reward without Challenge
As the slightest opportunity comes your way, you will now exploit it. In fact, you will still struggle but will also attract new opportunities to you because people will sense how prepared you are. So, the way to transform yourself is through your work.
Of course, you might believe that that the beauty of self-transformation comes through a spiritual journey, therapy, a guru who tells you what to do, social experiences or even drugs. But it is not true because most of these are ways of running away from yourself. Instead, follow your inclinations, and you can become who you really are instead of trying to be someone else.
Efforts, challenges and hard times offer you much more value than any other time in your life. You cannot grow or get stronger without struggle and resistance. So be grateful for the beauty of it and work on yourself to ensure that your future gets more pleasure than pain and regrets.