When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
You have all heard of the expression “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It is a proverbial phrase that is used to encourage people to stay optimistic and to keep fighting in the face of adversity or misfortune. Lemon suggests sourness and difficulty in life; making lemonade with lemons that is being handed out to you turns the whole sour episode into something sweet, positive and desirable.
“In life there are no problems, there are only situations. Every problem is a problem only because you call it so.“Sadhguru
Life is a continuum of situations, if you are on a growth trajectory, you will be constantly facing situations that you may not know how to handle. Going through the ups and down of living can be tricky. There is a consensus out there that you have to think positive all the time because your thoughts dictate your outcome, but in reality how can one stay happy and upbeat all the time when life gives you a beating? The idea is to develop enough emotional agility to see those situations as a challenge that is being presented to you to teach you some lessons and force you to develop more resilience.
Turning lemons into lemonade is not too much of a stretch, you just have to press the lemons into a jar, add some sugar and water et voila, you have lemonade. With this in mind, we can extrapolate and contemplate the fact that it is perfectly possible to make the best of a negative situation if you concentrate on what you can control i.e. the steps you can take straight away to make that situation a little bit better especially your emotional reaction to it.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it”.Maya Angelou
There is something you can learn from pretty much every circumstance that you encounter. When you face a problem, think of it as a challenge that is strengthening you, making you stronger, wiser, better. One of the biggest issue people are having nowadays is living with uncertainties. Nothing is certain anymore. This year has taught us that we should take nothing for granted. Things can change very suddenly and unexpectedly. Dealing with uncertainty is pretty damn difficult, everyone wants a clear path to follow, clear solutions to their problems, but life doesn’t work that way.
“Uncertainty is the very condition that impels man to unfold his powers. As we navigate our own uncertain times together, may a thousand flowers of sanity bloom, each valid so long as it is viable in anchoring the human spirit it animates. And may we remember the myriad terrors and uncertainties preceding our own, which have served as unexpected awakenings from some of our most perilous civilization slumbers.”Erich Fromm
But if you feel more adventurous, you can decide to stretch yourself a bit further than expected, and when life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade do whatever the heck you want, become an alchemist.
When life gives you lemons, make whatever you want
All too often, our circumstances are dictated and influenced by what people tell us is realistic or feasible. Life gave me lemons, but right now I am not in the mood to make lemonade. Actually, I have a better idea, instead of using the lemons to make lemonade I am going to use the seeds and grow a whole orchard of lemons. Now, instead of having a few lemons to make a pot of lemonade, I find myself with tons of lemons that I can sell to people who want to make lemonade. Not a bad way to use lemons, right?
Now that I have all those lemons, I am thinking that it is time for me to stretch myself a little bit further and instead of lemons I want oranges. How can I turn lemons into oranges?
I can become an alchemist. When one mention the term ‘alchemist’ we have this picture in our mind of an old bearded man that looks like Merlin (the greatest wizard of all ), trying to turn lead into gold. But in contemporary society, alchemy is a term used to describe the ability that people have to manifest personal change, an ability that we all possess.
Inner alchemy provides us the means to better understand ourselves, the universe we live in and our purpose in life. But in order to achieve that you have to let go of the old you and make room for the new you. Think of your negative thoughts, old beliefs and habits as lead. Your mission as an alchemist is to turn lead into gold which is your new you, the happy, healthy and emotionally balanced new you.
Moral of the story
In any given situation, there is very rarely only one way to work through a problem. There is a myriad of ways to find solutions to a difficult situation. You need to be creative, have a sense of adventure, go off-piste, take the road less travelled by, become an explorer. You can make-it-up as you go along. Make your own rules if given the opportunity. Why do you have to conform to someone else standards if you are out in the wild? My friend Catherine Germier (founder of Herost an online platform and network dedicated to the promotion of sustainable travel experiences ) says it best
“When you reach a certain age and a certain height, you realize that you don’t need to choose between anything and its contrary. You can be everything you want, and you can also match pink and red. That is the beauty of being mature and yet young at heart. Be an explorer take the paths less travelled by.”Catherine Germier
Talking about explorers, if you want to go on an epic journey following in the footsteps of the most intrepid explorers and adventurers, you should check out his video and follow me on the paths less travelled by.
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