Sometimes, a person says something so honest that it cuts through the noise of our busy lives and startles us to reality.
That was the case with a local entrepreneur interviewed for a profile in this week’s edition. Mario Gomes outlined a tough situation in which he suddenly had to become the provider for his entire family at age 23. But, he said, it’s taboo to talk about the lows in our lives, the challenges that shape us and define us, even though everyone faces a major challenge or disappointment at some point.
“Pretty much all of us have experienced hard things in life…” Gomes said. “The secret of life is … about the meaning you give to those moments and what you choose to do that defines your destiny.”
Sudden injury. Job loss. Divorce. Death of a husband, wife or child. Physical or mental illness. These are just a few examples of the private horrors that you or the people around you might be experiencing and battling exactly at this moment.
How you deal with the challenge will affect the rest of your life and how you move forward. Will you be a victim, or will you use the experience to become stronger and embrace a new future?
Gomes, faced at a young age with supporting his entire family, embraced the challenge and became an entrepreneur to earn the funds they needed.
Another local person profiled in this week’s edition did the same: Niki Hurst, faced with the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, chose to use the challenges of her condition to make her a better athlete. Hurst is now an ultra-distance trail runner and helps youth cope with the disease.
The reality is that every week, some people in Squamish and everywhere around the world will arrive at situations in their lives where they have to make major decisions. Some will decide to become victims, while others will see the opportunity to grow and change. We hold the power to write our own stories. Psychology and attitude will be the determining factors on whether we can overcome adversity and create a different future.
Viktor E. Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, a book in which he describes his efforts to think positively at a concentration camp in the face of likely death, said it well: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
– Editor Christine Endicott