OVER­COME AD­VER­SITY JOY­FULLY

A new book AR­GUES that you can OVER­COME the worst EX­PE­RI­ENCES of your life – from HEART­BREAK to break­downs and ca­reer SET­BACKS – while still HOP­ING for the best.

Collective Hub - - CONTENTS - I SELF-SOOTHE, SHAME­LESSLY. DO YOU HAVE AM­BI­TION FA­TIGUE?

author (and our ed­i­tor!) Amy Mol­loy shares how set­backs and hur­dles in life can be turned around, and her new book that dives deep on it all

Tsunami sur­vivors, 9/11 res­cue work­ers, in­fer­til­ity suf­fer­ers, shark at­tack vic­tims, and Aus­tralian su­per woman Turia Pitt, who suf­fered burns to 65 per cent of her body – what do these peo­ple have in com­mon? They prove you can over­come the worst ex­pe­ri­ences of your life, while still hop­ing for the best af­ter­wards – if you have the right cop­ing mech­a­nisms and strate­gies. This is ac­cord­ing to a new book, The World is a Nice Place: How to Over­come Ad­ver­sity, Joy­fully. It’s the prod­uct of 10 years’ worth of re­search by author Amy Mol­loy (also Col­lec­tive Hub’s ed­i­tor!), and is lead­ing a revo­lu­tion for op­ti­mistic liv­ing.

A ‘se­rial sur­vivor’ her­self, Amy wanted to dis­cover the se­cret for­mula that al­lows some peo­ple to move for­ward – joy­fully – af­ter dif­fi­culty, with­out let­ting it be­come their iden­tity. Here’s what she learnt in the process…

THE FIRST QUAR­TER OF MY LIFE CAN BE BEST DE­SCRIBED AS EVENT­FUL.

From a dan­ger­ously pre­ma­ture baby, I be­came a child with ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive ten­den­cies, a teenager with an eat­ing dis­or­der and a 23-year-old widow. Throw in a fam­ily his­tory of de­pres­sion and a fa­ther who was paral­ysed by can­cer, and it’s a recipe for a messed-up adult. Or is it? I learnt to over­come my early hur­dles with­out let­ting them be­come my iden­tity, in­stead us­ing them to em­power and guide me.

I’VE SPENT MY CA­REER TRACK­ING DOWN AMAZ­ING PEO­PLE WHO HAVE FACED AMAZ­ING CHAL­LENGES.

I’ve in­ter­viewed 9/11 res­cue work­ers, sur­vivors of plane crashes, and vic­tims who have scram­bled out of nat­u­ral disas­ters. I’ve also seen ev­i­dence that ‘ev­ery­day’ events, like a loss, breakup, or even hav­ing a crit­i­cal par­ent can be just as de­struc­tive to our psy­che as catas­tro­phes. I wanted to dis­cover why some peo­ple’s lives are de­stroyed by an event, and oth­ers can thrive af­ter­wards.

THERE ARE LESSONS AT YOUR LOW­EST POINT.

When I was 17 and eat­ing just one piece of toast per week, my mother gave me a piece of ad­vice that be­came the ba­sis of my anorexia re­cov­ery: “If only you could take the de­ter­mi­na­tion that you’re us­ing to starve your­self and in­stead chan­nel it into some­thing pos­i­tive, then you could achieve any­thing,” she said. She saw the emo­tional strength be­hind my phys­i­cal weak­ness. If only I could chan­nel that power into projects that al­lowed me to grow rather than shrink.

SOME­TIMES YOU HAVE TO GO OFF THE RAILS TO GET ONTO THE RIGHT TRACK.

If you’ve been la­belled as re­bel­lious, dif­fi­cult or a trou­ble­maker, don’t let the stigma of that hold you back. Non-con­form­ing choices can take you on an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­ney. Some­times it takes a de­gree of self­ish­ness to go the dis­tance – so for­give your­self for that. Some of the most amaz­ing en­trepreneurs alive were called ‘dif­fi­cult’ in the past. >

I wanted to dis­cover why some peo­ple's lives are de­stroyed by an early event, and why other peo­ple can thrive af­ter­wards

My phone call any email, any meet­ing could be the one that changes your life for­ever.

I’M NOT A NAT­U­RALLY HAPPY PER­SON.

I’m a strate­gi­cally happy one. I grew up be­ing told de­pres­sion runs in my fam­ily – espe­cially with the women. That’s why, as a jour­nal­ist, I’ve grav­i­tated to­wards men­tal-health topics, ea­ger to un­cover a ‘magic’ for­mula to a glass-half-full men­tal­ity. I’m thank­ful I grew up with a black dog in my liv­ing room. It made me de­ter­mined to find ways to en­gi­neer op­ti­mism.

The most em­pow­ered peo­ple do! For months af­ter my first hus­band’s death, I car­ried a huge rab­bit-shaped hot wa­ter bot­tle when­ever I left the house. It was ridicu­lous, but it brought me com­fort. To­day, ev­ery night I light a can­dle and set a pos­i­tive in­ten­tion. Think about your senses – the tastes, smells, sounds, mem­o­ries and ma­te­ri­als that bring you joy. Then find ways to carry these el­e­ments with you dur­ing your day – every­where, if need be.

THERE’S A DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN ROU­TINE AND RIT­U­ALS.

It’s be­come trendy to ask peo­ple, ‘What’s your morn­ing rou­tine?’ The an­swer is usu­ally a com­bi­na­tion of caf­feine, ex­er­cise and med­i­ta­tion. But I of­ten get the sense some peo­ple’s hearts aren’t re­ally in it. Do they fol­low this rou­tine be­cause it makes them wake up sparkling or be­cause it’s what Mark Zucker­berg does? In­stead, when you wake up, ask your­self, ‘What do I need to do to feel good right now?’ It’s a game-chang­ing tip my life coach taught me.

TRAUMA CAN AF­FECT OUR AT­TI­TUDE TO TIME.

A child with sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety counts the min­utes un­til their mother re­turns. A three-day wait for test results feels like a life­time. What does a day in your life mean to you? How far do you plan ahead? Our unique ex­pe­ri­ences can give us fear and anx­i­ety around the pass­ing of time; how we savour or waste it. An en­tre­pre­neur I met in­stated a ‘no-rush rule’ in her ca­reer. Rather than wor­ry­ing about be­ing left be­hind, she only takes a step when she feels re­ally ready.

YOU CAN CHOOSE HOW TO RE­ACT TO BAD NEWS.

When a fer­til­ity spe­cial­ist I know found out her new­born son had cys­tic fi­bro­sis, she sent her friends and fam­ily an email ex­plain­ing what had hap­pened, ask­ing for space. She then went into a ‘griev­ing pit’ for three days, shut­ting her­self in her house with no con­tact with the out­side world. “There are stud­ies that sug­gest grief can take just 72 hours to process,” she said. “Only if you’re to­tally im­mersed in it, though.” It’s not for ev­ery­one, but it worked for her.

In 2016, I wrote an in­ves­tiga­tive piece for Col­lec­tive Hub about the rate of teenage sui­cides in Sil­i­con Val­ley. Teenagers talked about the ex­haus­tion they felt from try­ing to ‘do it all’, ex­cel and match their peers. Sound fa­mil­iar? At the height of my ca­reer, I checked into ‘per­fec­tion­ist re­hab’ (yes, it’s a thing!). Dur­ing six months of out­pa­tient treat­ment, I learnt to be bet­ter at be­ing bad at things, and em­brace my flaws.

The cre­ative di­rec­tor of GoPro told me about the time he swam into an un­der­wa­ter canyon to ‘dance’ with hump­back whales. I also in­ter­viewed cham­pion free-diver William Trubridge, the first per­son to dive to 100 me­tres unas­sisted, about why the sport is a form of med­i­ta­tion. Alyssa Azar, the youngest Aus­tralian to sum­mit Ever­est, says the moun­tain kept her hum­ble. Get out in na­ture – and leave your phone be­hind – to ease your wor­ries, in­stantly.

DON’T WAIT UN­TIL YOU NEED RE­SILIENCE TO BE RE­SILIENT.

The Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion says re­silience is an on­go­ing process that re­quires time and ef­fort, and takes peo­ple a num­ber of steps to ac­com­plish. So, if your life has been a se­ries of chal­lenges, you could see your­self as lucky you’ve had prac­tice! When I crowd­sourced tips for re­silience, there was one com­mon theme: it’s a con­scious choice to grow this char­ac­ter­is­tic.

IN ANY CA­REER, ANY­THING COULD HAP­PEN TO­MOR­ROW.

You could be pro­moted, or some­one else could be pro­moted above you. Ever since I was wid­owed, when I’ve gone through a ‘suc­cess drought’ and noth­ing feels like it’s go­ing my way, I re­peat the mantra: ‘Any phone call, any email, any meet­ing could be the one that changes your life for­ever.’ If you can’t hope for a bet­ter day, just hope for an­other day. You never know what might hap­pen to­mor­row. You did the best you could, with the tools you had at the time. Write this out and stick it some­where prom­i­nent! It’s easy to look back with re­grets or ‘what ifs’ for a cer­tain pe­riod at a life choice. But you were do­ing the best you could, at that time, at that age, with your life ex­pe­ri­ences. All the best peo­ple have a bad patch. How can your past be­come a su­per­power?

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