One of the single most useful skills in life and in career is the ability to tolerate turbulence.
The easiest way to avoid turbulence is to never get out of bed and never try to do anything meaningful.
When you take this approach in life or career, you risk nothing.
You minimize your chances of loss, adversity, or struggle.
You also guarantee yourself no progress, improvement, or positive change in your life.
Many people live their lives this way.
There’s a name for this life strategy. It’s called:
There’s also a name for the alternative. It’s called:
I don’t know anyone who prefers a worse life to a better one.
However, the journey to thriving in life has turbulence. Most meaningful journeys in life have twists and turns, ups and downs.
There’s a word to describe thinking you can thrive while avoiding turbulence completely. It’s called “fantasizing.”
Most people choose a path of existence in life while fantasizing about a better life.
Those that actually thrive in life do the work needed to thrive and are willing to tolerate the turbulence along the way.
The secret isn’t to eliminate turbulence completely.
The secret is to expand your capacity to tolerate turbulence.
Here’s one way to do this in your life.
From an emotional standpoint, there’s an enormous difference between experiencing wildly unpredictable turbulence versus predictable turbulence.
When you know what difficulties to expect, when they will occur, and have a knowledge of how to handle the turbulence, suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.
For example, when I moved to the Seattle area I followed the strategy of staying home when the weather was less than perfect.
(Seattle is one of the rainiest cities in America. We have close to 300 days of rain per year.)
I quickly realized I would never leave home!
A friend taught me the secret of tolerating the “turbulence” of wet, cold weather — specialized clothing.
She explained there are two ways to tolerate the wet weather:
1) You make yourself waterproof (one strategy I use when I’m wearing business clothing),
2) You make yourself impervious to cold even when you’re drenched in rain from head to toe.
Several winters ago, I tried the latter strategy.
I would go jogging regardless of the rain — even during torrential downpours.
Once I got used to the physical sensation of being wet but not cold, it became so much fun.
There is something very empowering about running in freezing rain when nobody else is willing to go outside.
Suddenly my life outdoors changed enormously. I went from being comfortable going outside only 100 days a year to 365 days a year.
The trick isn’t to avoid “turbulence”; it’s to build your capacity to tolerate it better.
When you do, new doors and opportunities become available to you.
No matter what you are facing in life, someone else has already faced what you are facing now.
Find this person and have them mentor you and show you how to handle the turbulence associated with the journey you face.
If you do not have a mentor or don’t have the right mentors for the challenges you face, you might consider seeking one out.
Over the years, many of you have referred to me as your mentor. I’ve been quite honored and humbled by the thought.
I’ve decided to embrace this description more fully and devote more of my energy to mentoring a small group of my readers more closely than I ever have before.
I will be announcing a new mentorship program later this year. If you’d like to be notified about this announcement, just complete the form below.
Mentorship with Victor Cheng