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How One Can Hit Rock Bottom and Climb Back to the Top

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On December 8, 1941 Franklin Roosevelt, one of the most revered wartime presidents bellowed that “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” At a time when most of America felt as though we had hit rock bottom, Roosevelt was confident enough to see a way through it.

Roosevelt was no stranger to adversity. Only 20 years before this speech, Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio. As a result, he was paralyzed from the waist down, but it offered him his most important challenge that prepared him for the Great Depression and winning the Second World War.

My rock bottom moment came from a prison cell in the Texas State Penitentiary. From this, I learned a similar lesson that Roosevelt grappled with while fighting polio: Daily, disciplined action is the only way to overcome obstacles.

Rock Bottom is a Good Thing 

It wasn’t easy to consider my prison sentence a good thing. After months of emotional turmoil and feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I could only get more successful. There was only one way to go from rock bottom: upwards.

After the mindset shift comes the requisite actions. No matter what the situation, what is the one thing you can do right now to overcome this obstacle? Don’t worry about how it all fits into the bigger picture. If you’re at rock bottom the big picture is intimidatingly large. Consider one simple thing you can do.

Start with reading. In prison that is one of the first actions one can take to improve the situation. Malcolm X did it, Nelson Mandela did it, and I did it. Books provide knowledge, the wisdom of others, and varied perspectives that build skills for the future. It wasn’t hard work, but it was a single step in the right direction.

After reading books I started to brainstorm ideas and keep a journal. Then I started to exercise and even created a fasting practice. The purpose of starting with one thing is to build momentum. Then you can add another and another and even more difficult disciplines to your daily routine as well.

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” – George S. Patton

Engage Everything 

There is not much one controls from inside prison. Guards would force us to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to eat breakfast and much of the day was forced upon us. No matter how much power was taken from me, there were still things that I could control. Every option I did have was met with my full engagement.

No part of our day should be done mindlessly and certainly not when we have reached rock bottom. We should question why we do everything each day and see whether it aligns with our goals.

We engage everything because it helps us to build daily disciplines throughout all facets of our lives. From making my tiny prison bed in the morning to bodyweight exercises in the prison yard, everything was part of a bigger plan.

This doesn’t mean we can’t rest or enjoy ourselves. Even taking a moment to watch a show on Netflix might be useful. The point is to consciously acknowledge why we do so rather than blindly follow habit.

One Step At a Time 

The road to the top from your lowest point can seem insurmountable, but it isn’t. When Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio he never questioned how he was going to reach the presidency and become one of the most revered men in United States history. Instead, he focused on the small tasks he could take to overcome his illness.

As we gain momentum from the small tasks, we can incorporate more of them in our lives and tip the balance in favor of what we desire to achieve.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

What was your rock bottom moment and what did you do to get out of it? Leave your thoughts below!

Mansal Denton is the co-founder of Nootropedia, which is an unbiased and accessible platform to learn about nootropics and smart drugs. When he isn’t improving cognitive function in others, he enjoys a host of active hobbies. He likes jiu-jitsu when his body allows, meditation, and a healthy dose of travel.

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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Practicing Self-Devotion: 3 Ways Towards a More Mindful and Compassionate You

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I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers telling me “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to give time and energy towards what we want. As a young, impressionable child, I believed all those things because well, they made sense. They worked. And honestly, I felt like it’s the only way to flourish. (more…)

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