“The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion – the tunnel is” (Unknown)

As a year, 2017 had its fair share of challenges – yes, global challenges of a serious nature, but somewhat equally important and significant, personal issues that made the year a difficult one to endure. We all have them, serious challenges – loss of a loved one, loss of income, not making your sales targets, strife in the workplace, family difficulties, mounting expenses, mistakes that we regret making, etc. – the list seems to be endless or at least seemed so for me. I felt that I was in a depressive dark tunnel with no possibility of ever finding a way out.

When faced with numerous difficulties, the human being starts asking questions (“why does this have to happen to me?”), gets frustrated, then angry and the heart becomes heavy. The possibility of depression becomes a reality, especially when no realistic solutions are immediately apparent. Life seems to be closing in on one and one feels as if stuck in a dark, unforgiving and unrelenting “tunnel”. Whilst the difficulties are real and the problems may be numerous, however, the “tunnel” is self-made – self-created in one’s perceptions. There is no real tunnel, just an impression of loss and pain. The tunnel is an illusion, perhaps just an expression of how one feels – one is not really “stuck”, as there are still numerous opportunities and possibilities upon which one can capitalise. Of course, one feels stuck, cornered and conquered, but if the various problems are approached differently, one can find possible solutions.

When feeling as if you are in a tunnel, with no way out, attempt to do the following:

  1. Get to grips with your exact feelings – attempt to understand why you are feeling the way you are. Are you just feeling that life is unfair and are thus just sorry for yourself or do you feel that you have failed and need to do better? Ascertain the root of any pain – solutions won’t be forthcoming if you just feel sorry for yourself. Get help if necessary.
  2. Write down what you want to achieve personally and professionally – having a clear vision and a plan to achieve the same is the first step to finding potential and opportunity.
  3. Discuss possible solutions with mentors – people that are not part of the challenges you are facing and who can think dispassionately about potential solutions with you.
  4. Set realistic goals – monitor your progress and discuss any obstacles with your mentors. Any form of procrastination does not assist you in reaching your real potential. Be focused.
  5. Celebrate achieving milestones – this reinforces your worth and spurs you on to greater heights. It acknowledges effort and rewards appropriate behaviour.

When faced with many difficulties and challenges, it is natural to feel as if one is in a tunnel with no way out. The difficulties and challenges are real, but the tunnel is not – it is an illusion. Embrace all the possibilities that the light at the end of the tunnel brings and work them out in your life.

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