There are those times when life goes through a dark tunnel or you fall into a deep pit and it feels like there is no way out …. Krishnan and I went through seven such years. Today I was talking to a dear friend who was sharing about another friend whose husband just lost his job and they don’t know if he will get another one because he is just a few years from retirement. Life certainly seems dark for her as she has a young college going daughter who has to be married off. What do you do when you are down ?
Krishnan and I went below zero because we were without jobs and 18 Lakhs in the hole and no way out it seemed. In retrospect, here are the five things we did that took us out from that dark tunnel. Sharing them in the hope that it helps anyone out there in the tunnel right now.
1. It’s not forever – when things go wrong, many things go wrong at the same time and time seems to stand still. But tell yourself everyday “this too shall pass” and better times will be here. There will be light. Remember, life is an “S” curve, it goes up and down, when it becomes a flat line, you die. So when you are down, the only way is up, sometimes quickly enough, sometimes slowly, but the tide always returns.
2. Do any work – there is dignity of labour. It doesn’t matter what your qualifications are, or your pedigree is or your useless caste is or your father’s name is – when in trouble, try your hand at anything. If you only get the job of a dishwasher, do it, you never know where that will lead you. I will never forget a story of a successful business man who is an engineer but worked as a truck driver, because at one point in his life, he was in the tunnel. I have cleaned the toilets at Pizza Corner in GK1 market and will do it again if need be.. There is dignity in labour.
3. Cut your expenses – every penny saved is a penny earned. Buy just the essentials – food, medicine, shelter, a change of clothes. Just what you need to get by and you don’t need that extra pair of shoes, jeans, shirt, sari, you just don’t. Television, washing machine, movies, sun glasses, perfumes, eating out – everything is superfluous when you are in the tunnel. Cut your expenses. When you earn enough, you can indulge.
4. Meet new people – our first reaction is to withdraw from social events, and let alone meeting new people, we stop meeting our friends and relatives too when things go wrong. If you don’t ask for help, why will someone figure out that you need help ? Go out, join different social forums that are free and interact with people. Yes, some will laugh at you, some will feel happy that they aren’t struggling like you, but any one of those people may just give you the one bright idea that will take you out of the pit. You are anyway down, you can’t go down further !! So what do you stand to lose ? One such meeting led to my job with Pizza Corner and then with Spectramind !!
5. Think crazy thoughts – Krishnan and I wrote down whacky thoughts and one of the crazy thoughts was for Krishnan to borrow some money and do the MEP course at IIM, Ahmedabad just when we were in the pit. That one idea turned our lives around, a little slowly than we expected, but it surely was the one idea that led to his job with a USAID funded project that pulled us out of the pit. The other crazy thought was also to focus on earning more rather than just enough to pay the interest… Led to my job with the BPO industry.
Sitting in the pit with your head in your hands won’t help. Get up and get going, even if it means pacing inside the pit, because who knows, when a ladder will drop from which corner and you can climb out.
Hey, you may be down, but you are never out, till you are breathing :):):):)