Teenagers often blame their problems on any and everything but themselves. It is rare to find a teen that thinks, ‘I’m not having a bad day, my outlook on the day just changed when my teacher failed me’. The advisor of my club in high school suggested this idea one day and went into further application by stating, ‘What changes your day? What makes a day bad or good? The day does not change, but your outlook on the day does’. Sure it is a rational concept, but I felt the chances of my peers applying this axiom to daily living would be rare. As irrational as it was then, I now do believe that intentional happiness is the way to encounter obstacles in life.
College comes with various complexities that can prevent contentment. Setbacks such as no financial aid, no car, no job, no place to stay, bad professors, and sudden illness are all challenges students may face that effect their livelihood. In my freshman year I endured two car accidents, two robberies, and more than enough tickets to cause financially anxiety. My sophomore year was also enduring due to reoccurring chronic pains from another car accident. My focus turned into frustration and my drive turned into delirium because it seemed like life was trying to knock me out.
Not being able to focus my psyche to thrive beyond defeat was a real detriment. It was not the abundance of events turning my days bad, but the way I approached them. I struggled silently and inflicted self flagellation upon myself because I felt struggle was a conduit for success. But those who struggle and work hard die hard as well. I once read about a man names James Johnson that endured great obstacles in his life and always said to, ‘love beyond defeat’. To me this means to love others beyond defeat or to love your mission in life so much that failure is not an option. I should pursue my passion in life no matter how many knock outs or defeats I may encounter.
Embracing your core values with delight is also invaluable to overcoming knockouts. Quincy Jones once said that, ‘You have to know that your real home is within’ meaning home is where your core values are. In boxing the term ‘having heart’ is usually used when describing a boxers return from knockout. It’s generally used to describe the boxer’s resilience and pure desire to win due to his core values. Having heart for me was coming home to some of my old habits such as being a book worm and realizing that being happy is intentional. Being happy is not some spirit that inhabits you on certain days, it is an emotion that allows you to feel unworried and satisfied. Intentional happiness is imperative to surviving the knockouts of life. This I believe because it encourages me to embellish every moment in life, even disdainful defeats.
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