3 Life Lessons from Tragedy
- November 9, 2016
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We went on vacation where most of our time was spent in former Eastern Europe communist countries, including Serbia and Croatia.
While in Croatia, we were hosted in a home of a woman who told her story of what took place during the civil war with Serbia and Yugoslavia. As a young couple they had to quickly flee their home with their baby to a neighboring town. They couldn’t go by land (walk or drive) because landmines had been set in the ground for miles between the towns so they fled by floating down the Danube River in a makeshift raft. They thought they would be gone for a few weeks. It was 7 years before they could return to their home that had been leveled. Their town had been destroyed. No jobs. No resources. No home.
It was a fascinating thing to hear what they had to do to simply survive. But now, 20 years later, what her life was like.
I made 3 observations about her life story that I think translates into good life lessons.
- Your career may not be the one you thought it was going to be but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad thing. This woman had pieced together a unique job of hosting tour groups into her home for tea and homemade pastry. It wasn’t her direction 20 years ago; in fact she did administrative work in a local factory. But she had hit on a unique opportunity that worked for her with the circumstance she was dealing with. It was clear she was very satisfied with her work.
- Don’t hold a grudge. Her home was destroyed along with the death of family and friends by the hands of her neighboring state. It’s the equivalent of people from Missouri coming over here to Kansas and doing the same thing. It might be hard to think kindly of a group of people that did those bad things but this woman didn’t hold a grudge. It happened and it was bad. You move on and focus on making the most of every day.
- What you tell yourself is the most powerful dialogue you can have. This woman did note that she could choose to be unhappy because of how bad a big part of her life had gone but she didn’t. It was obvious her self-talk was to be happy, productive and to move forward in life. The talk you have going on in your own head about your career or your life paints everything you do. It’s a choice each and every day. Why not choose to be happy?
Be thankful. OK, I didn’t count this one, but this one came from me. I’m so thankful I live in a peaceful place and haven’t had to confront war and survival. I’m thankful for my life.
I hope these life lessons works for you.
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