Sometimes Our Worst and Darkest Times Are Actually Gifts

by Robb Sutton

Many of you have read my post on “5 Years Ago Today – Things Were Much Different“. Here we sit…6 years past that infamous day that has forever changed my life and presented the path across which I walk now. After another year under my belt and careful recollection during this time of year, I yet have another point to present as we get busy living instead of getting busy dying.

Every year around this time I feel an amazing sense of gratitude for what I have and hope for the future. No…not some stupid logo and tagline to try to get elected for something, but true hope that progress and effort lead you down a path that is positive and life changing. For many people, they can not pin their lives on a single moment where everything changed. I can…and this is what I take away from it.

Sometimes Our Worst and Darkest Times Are Actually Gifts

There are periods or moments in our lives that feel terrible when you are entrenched in the grasps of darkness. Maybe you lost your job, your relationship fell apart or…like in my case…the wreckage of your life finally caught up to you in a split second moment. During this time, your only thoughts and feelings are negative. How am I going to get out of this? Can it really get any worse? I don’t know if I can handle this…

Somewhere in the bottom of despair, human survival instinct kicks in and we start the good fight. We start the job search, we get back out on the market or we start to assemble the wreckage and make something better of ourselves. With time, this effort does not go unnoticed and one day we turn around to find out all of our dreams have now come true. Everything we thought we had lost is now come back better than before through hard work and dedication to the cause.

None of this would have been possible if we were just floating on in life. It was built out of necessity as we had no choice. It was fight or flight time as that period or moment in our lives defined the coming years without us even knowing it. When we look back with hindsight 20/20, we now become thankful for one of the worst times in our lives as the gifts that were presented later down the time-line are some of the best we have ever received.

I say we in this article because I am not the only one that has experienced this. Whether it be small or drastic, each of us can pinpoint a moment in our lives that altered our path for the better when we thought we were actually at a roadblock.

What Has My Darkest Time Given Me?

Honestly…more than I could even dream of. I am now married to a beautiful, caring woman who is much smarter than I am. We have two dogs that keep us laughing day in and day out. I have an incredible circle of family and friends. I am the owner of a business that is growing by the day that is directly involved in everything I love.

Robb and Jenn in New York

Hemi and Hans

The future is bright for all of us. We just have to be willing to put in the work necessary to make our dreams a reality. We have to continue to fight forward using our past as a learning experience for the future. It doesn’t have to take a drastic event, but if you are in one of those or crawling your way out…know that the light at the end of the tunnel makes it all worth it.

Life is not perfect. There will be bumps in the road. But with a positive outlook and the willingness to put forth the effort…you will find that your wants and dreams were actually short sided as you receive more than you could have ever imagined. This is our one and only life…as such…we should always treat it that way.

To quote a friend of mine that beat Hotchkins Disease last year and is getting married this weekend…

I just breath different air now.

21 comments

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21 comments

Nabeel | Create Your First Website June 17, 2010 - 6:19 am

What a motivational article!

Rob, looks like you are pretty happy now.

I agree, sometimes the dark times can be a blessings in disguise, as we learn from them, we get stronger and we have a new view of life.

Nabeel

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 8:08 am

Thanks Nabeel! Things are going really well for sure.

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Jessica June 17, 2010 - 6:33 am

Thanks for the inspiring article. I totally agree that those bad and dark times can be gifts. I would like to add that I think in order for that to happen and for us to start turning around and going back up, instead of turning in circles in the pits, we need to undergo an internal change. From personal experience, I had to stop blaming others, take responsibility, and begin actually wanting to change.

The darkest moments can make us have those realizations, but it’s up to us to take the opportunity. Thanks again.

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 7:54 am

Internal change is a huge part of it. You can’t keep on doing the same actions and expecting different results. Even today…I take a lot of responsibility for things that happen in my life and ask how I could have done things differently for the future. Far too may people walk around blaming others when they should be that critical of themselves as well. If we spend our lives worrying about who’s fault everything is…we will never see progress.

Great point.

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Jean Sarauer June 17, 2010 - 7:05 am

Thank you for sharing your story and proving that hard times are a beginning and not the end. This has been true for me too. It’s those dark places where changes occur and growth happens. I wish there were an easier way, but that’s how it’s worked in my life more often than not.

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 7:52 am

But if there was an easier way…I don’t know that it would work so well! πŸ˜‰

For some reason…I am one of those…”Always have to take the hard road guys.” I don’t know why that is…

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Jimi Jones June 17, 2010 - 8:54 am

Wonderful story and thanks for sharing that, Robb.
You are so right, we all go through challenges along the road of life and at times, it seems overwhelming. I can truly relate to this as I emerge from the past couple of years of getting onto a track that I wanted to travel for the rest of my days.

Having read both posts, I find your story quite inspiring. The crossroads of life are simply intersections that cause us to look in all directions before proceeding, offering an opportunity to change course if we’re on the wrong one. We can only drive so far with blinders on. πŸ™‚

One of the best things we can do is to remain humble and steadfast in our beliefs while continuing to move toward our goals.

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 7:50 am

Thanks Jimi!

Some of the most successful people I know (from CEO’s to blog owners) are still humble. That is one of the biggest aspects of a truly successful person in my eyes.

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K9 Coach June 17, 2010 - 1:13 pm

Living a great life with dogs, doing your thing business wise, & with an awesome life partner. I know this feeling. It is good πŸ™‚

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 7:48 am

The dogs keep a smile on our face for sure. They have their “dignified” look on in that picture. Doesn’t come around often with their clown-like attitude! They are one of the best decisions we have ever made.

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Gautam Hans @ Blog Godown June 17, 2010 - 1:33 pm

I think we are defined by these happenings. We learn to cope with it and in the meanwhile, we become strong and serious in our work.

It is the necessity that makes you work harder. If there is no pressure, you might become lazy and may not work at all.

Once you hit rock bottom, that you realize what life is about

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 7:47 am

I have always said…it is really easy to complain about the little things when you haven’t been through anything hard. The pressure and life experiences shape who we are as people. Sometimes it takes hitting the bottom to achieve bigger heights.

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Curtis Chappell June 17, 2010 - 11:48 pm

The Void

Sanaya Roman describes this void brilliantly:

β€œThe void is a time of not-knowing. It may feel like a state of not-doing, of nothingness. It is only when you stop knowing in your normal way and experience not-knowing that you can connect with new knowledge.

This state of nothingness and not-knowing is a state of being rather than doing, of stillness and silence. Many of you fear the void because it offers neither a solid foundation nor a clear identity.
What you have identified with may be changing to allow you to grow into a greater identity.”

When things are going well for you, and you have a keen focus on the correct path to take or choices to make, then the manifestation is already in play, so you just need to go with the flow of events.

There will be times in your life however, where the path is not clear or meanders for awhile. Suddenly you feel lost and at the mercy of the stormy seas of life around you.

These are the times when you must be the most aware of the opportunities around you!

If you are truly walking the path, not just stepping onto it occasionally, you will experience these times when the sun seems obscured, and your guidance is unsure. These times can precede big changes in both your self-awareness and outer changes in the world around you.

You may not know what to do next, or you may be pulled in many different directions at the same time.

Multiple sources of new information can cause confusion and you might feel overwhelmed with uncertainty.

Like me, you may have spent a lot of time not learning from your mistakes, because you didn’t want to accept that you made a mistake in the first place.

Seeking to avoid the void, you get lost.

Finding the path now becomes the most important thing in your life!

Write On!

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Robb Sutton June 18, 2010 - 7:46 am

Thanks for sharing that Curtis…very true.

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Roger June 18, 2010 - 11:17 am

Really loved the article! I have found periods in my life that I didn’t know if, and how I was going to move on. I’d never really considered those awful times as gifts, but I suppose that they were. I knew there was a learning experience to come from it all. Very insightful. Thanks Rob!

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Martin June 18, 2010 - 12:29 pm

Awesome post buddy and great tips too !! Thanks for sharing this great article.

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pj finn June 18, 2010 - 5:57 pm

Very good post, and very timely as far as I’m concerned. It just so happens that I first read this post this morning, went to work, and promptly got laid off. It’s time for me to put it in high gear. Thanks Robb.

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Robb Sutton June 21, 2010 - 2:51 pm

Damn PJ…I’m sorry to hear that..

Keep your head up and keep working hard. Good things will come.

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pj finn June 21, 2010 - 4:26 pm

Thanks Robb, but no need to be sorry. I’m not.

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Joe Boyle June 19, 2010 - 10:21 am

Great post, Rob!

If you believe in yourself, anything is possible, even making millions!

In addition to the quote from your friend, I’d like to add one from the Beatles – “Don’t make it bad; Take a sad song, and make it better” (From the song, ‘Hey Jude’)

Live long and Prosper, Rob!

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Martin June 22, 2010 - 11:17 pm

Wow, this is an inspirational article. Thanks for doing this Robb. I hope you’ll do more of this. Great way to start the day.

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