Never Waste a Crisis.

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A crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. The word crisis derives from late Middle English (denoting the turning point of a disease): medical Latin, from Greek krisis ‘decision’, from krinein ‘decide’. The general sense ‘decisive point’ dates from the early 17th century. 1 The Chinese word for “crisis” contains two characters: The first character wēi () mean “dangerous” or “precarious”, and the second character   () mean  “change point” which is a component of the Chinese word for “opportunity”, jīhuì (机会機會). As American talk show host Oprah Winfrey once said “You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some people will call them failures but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” It’s just an experience, just an experience.”

I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.”

A crisis is an an opportunity for rebirth, a wake-up call

In the movie, Up in the air, actor George Clooney is a traveling corporate downsizer named Ryan Bingham. In one of his termination session, he asked an employee he was about to fire named Bob played by actor J.K.Simmons, some questions. Bob had accepted the job some decades earlier making  $27,000 per year and subsequently gave up on his dream of becoming a chef. Ryan asked Bob some questions that is very illuminating and thought provoking. After watching Bob lament about how he was going to survive without his job, Ryan asked the following questions:

Ryan Bingham : Your kids’ admiration is important to you?

Bob : Yeah of course

Ryan Bingham : I doubt they ever admired you

Bob : Hey, asshole, aren’t you supposed to be consoling me?

Ryan Bingham : I’m not a shrink I’m a wakeup call.

Ryan Bingham :  You know why kids love athletes?

Bob : Because they screw lingerie models.

Ryan Bingham : No, that’s why we love athletes. Kids love athletes because they follow their dreams.

Bob : well I cant dunk

Ryan Bingham : But you can cook.
Bob: What are you talking about?

Ryan Bingham: Your resume says you minored in French Culinary Arts. Most students work the frier at KFC. You bussed tables at Il Picatorre to support yourself. Then you got out of college and started working here. How much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?

Bob: 27 grand a year.

Ryan Bingham: When are you going to stop and do what makes you happy?

Bob: Good question.

Ryan Bingham: I see guys who work at the same company their entire lives guys exactly like you they clock in and they clock out and they never have a moment of happiness; you have an opportunity, this is a rebirth, if not for you do it for your children.

How much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?

The above scene is one of my favourite movie dialogues of all time. Bob was in a crisis and Ryan asked him some thought-provoking questions that sought of reminded him who he was. Most of us forget who we are on our path to achieving our goal. A lion begins to behave like a cat, an eagle behaving like a chicken; we all have greatness in us but most of us allow the vicissitudes of life to get us to forget our greatness. American Congregationalist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher once quipped “Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength

Like Ryan said to Bob in the movie: “I’m not a shrink I’m a wakeup call.”, “You have an opportunity, this is a rebirth”. Most crisis in life is a wakeup call, an opportunity for a rebirth, reinvention and personal transformation. Whatever would go wrong would go wrong in life, it is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. The key is to not go wrong with things when they go wrong. Whether it is a job loss, divorce, health scare or financial issues. The key is to understand the impermeance of life, radical accepta whatever happens and keep it moving.

It is hard when we are going through these challenges in life, it can be extremely tough to navigate the rollercoaster of emotions, anxiety, worry and even depression. I have also had my fair share of these situations as we all go through this crisis or mini-crisis at one point or the other. You might be getting a divorce, your wife just left with your children, you just got fired, you just got a diagnosis of a terminal disease, life is depressing, your bank account is in the red, your relationship status is in shambles, you just failed the same exam for the fourth time, you just lost a child, a sibling or a parent. All these situations can be depressing and extremely had to deal with. Cry, grief, be down but don’t stay down, mourn, be messy but don’t be a mess, get better but not bitter. This too shall pass.

History is filled with lessons from individuals that have navigated various challenges and never let a crisis go to waste.

“Cripple [a man], and you have Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in prison and you have John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge and you have George Washington. Raise him in poverty and you have Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis and he be- comes Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Burn him so severely that doctors say he will never walk again and you have Glen Cunningham, who set the world’s record in 1934 for the outdoor mile. Deafen him and you’ll have Ludwig van Beethoven. Call him a slow learner, retarded, and write him off as uneducatable and you have Albert Einstein.” 2

The list of successful of entrepreneurs that reinvented themselves after a business failure or job loss is enormous. It was supposed to be a crisis but they turned it to an opportunity for growth and reinvention:

  • Micheal Bloomberg

Afterward, I didn’t sit around wondering what was happening at the old firm. I didn’t go back and visit. I never look over my shoulder. Once finished: Gone. Life continues!

“So there I was, thirty-nine years old and essentially hearing, “Here’s $10 million; you’re history.” One summer morning, John Gutfreund, managing partner of Wall Street’s hottest firm, and Henry Kaufman, then the world’s most influential economist, told me my life at Salomon Brothers was finished.” 3

  • James Dyson – Dyson’s Father Died at 40 of Cancer when he was 9. Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of his Cyclonic and Bagless Vacuum Cleaner before he got to a model he could set about licensing. Dyson bet everything to achieve his dreams, he writes in his autobiography 4 “Fortunately, my wife, Deirdre, allowed me to put our house and home life at risk, while the bank was kind enough to lend us money.”

“Learning by failure is a remarkably good way of gaining knowledge. Failure is to be welcomed rather than avoided. It is a part of learning. It should not be feared by the engineer or scientist or indeed by anyone else.”


In Masters of Scale: Surprising Truths from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, co-founder of Linkedin Reid Hoffman writes 5;

You can find similar origin stories for so many of the companies profiled in this book. Sara Blakely “being escorted out of a building, my business card ripped up in my face” just before she had the idea for Spanx. Sallie Krawcheck being fired from her high-profile Wall Street job, her firing splashed on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, when she came up with her idea for Ellevest. Kevin Systrom holding on to a failing check-in app, before turning it into Instagram. Whitney Wolfe Herd enduring an episode of online harassment…then, the idea for Bumble arrived. Mark Cuban being flat broke in a cheap suit.

“Sometimes a big idea sprouts from hard circumstances, like a rose from concrete. Often it’s the case that a big idea is actually embedded in hardship—and only as you experience that hardship firsthand (painful as it may be) do you get close enough to glimpse a possible solution.”

“Put simply, resistance causes friction, and friction creates sparks.”

Moreover, a crisis can sharpen focus and strengthen resolve. It can cause you to go from thinking It would be nice to come up with a big idea, to: I’m finding a big idea, dammit! And then having found that idea, a crisis provides the sense of urgency that compels you to actually throw the Hail Mary pass.

A crisis is an an opportunity for a rebirth, a wake-up call, a turn back moment (Steve Harvey), the day that turns your life around (Jim Rohn). Never waste a crisis as it contains the seed for your transformation. Do not let success get into your head and do not let failure get into your heart.


  • Daily Calm with Tamara Levitt – The Guest House
  • Sometimes challenging emotions arise that we feel resistance to or that feel uncomfortable to stay with. Sometimes we are surprised by what arises – welcome everything, make nothing wrong, feel each thoughts, each emotions as a welcome visitor, open to this moment and create space for everything.

Daily Jay with Jay Shetty – The Power of Observation

“One can say photography is a physical manifestation of mindfulness. It is about stopping/pausing, observing, framing, focusing, and capturing/receiving…Basically, photography is about a relationship to the present moment. Relating to the present moment with joy and gratitude is a choice we can make. Slowing down, we can access joy by shifting the focus of our awareness to what uplifts us.”

  • Most often, we go through life not being mindful of what is in front of us; if we don’t see it, we can’t savour it. We can’t reflect on its meaning or be greatful. Sometimes we need a reminder like a camera to slow us down and help us take in the details of the present.
  • Living in the world instead of our phones or in our heads.

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. – Dorothea Lange


All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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