Life is all about choices and the only true constant is change. Nothing stays the same forever. Everything changes—sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly. Change affects us all and we each deal with change differently. With change comes the unknown, and uncertainty can be difficult to accept for some people.
This week I spent a couple of days in a refugee camp facilitating a business class for some of the young entrepreneurs there. I had read and heard about the plight of refugees but this was my first time in a refugee settlement area. As we set off from Kampala, I was anxious because I did not know what to expect. The journey itself was therapeutic for me and we got to the camp late in the evening.
My first realization was that life was normal, there was no sight or impression of dire suffering as I had anticipated. We passed by a couple of trading centers and music was booming, people were enjoying happy hour while others went about their businesses. Although the surrounding was different for me, I did not feel different in any way from the people around me. As a matter of fact, I could easily pass for one of them.
My pinch moment happened the day after we arrived while chatting with one of the youth leaders in the camp. By no doubt he is a super intelligent and confident young man. He begun to tell me about his ordeal and how he ended up in this camp.
He was living a super successful life back home. He had high academic grades, he had represented his country in some international competitions and was aspiring to go abroad for his further studies. As a matter of fact, he had been offered two scholarship opportunities and was in the process of deciding which one to go with when war broke out in his country. Together with his family, they were forced to flee into Uganda and thus became refugees.
He was traumatized like everyone else in the camp but he never lost hope in himself or his dreams. In the blink of an eye his life was totally changed in a way he had never anticipated. He figured there was no way he could turn back the arm of time but purposed to make the most of his situation. He started out leading himself and now he is leading other youth into starting businesses that provide solutions to societal challenges in the camp. I absolutely admire his courage, optimism and resilience.
Long after this conversation, his words lingered on my mind. I began to ask myself; “if my life was drastically altered in the blink of an eye, would I pull through like he did?” Sometimes events happen in the blink of an eye that change the course of our lives forever. When we least expect it, tragedy can strike. And it often does, in an instant. With little to no warning, our lives are turned upside-down forever.
My reflection has lingered more on having the will power to rise above setbacks. Some choose to stay down while others choose to keep rising no matter how many times they fall. They say experience is the best teacher and I believe preparation is the best tool that can be used to leverage opportunity. Way before a catastrophe strikes in your life, you must decide that you will always rise up no matter how often you fall. Prepare your mind to win and to rise up way before life hits you hard.
If your life drastically changed in the blink of an eye, would you rise above the challenge?