I remember reading the story of Anthony Burgess. At age 40 he learnt that he had a brain tumor that would kill him within one year. This is the kind of information that can disturb any sane person and make him incapacitated but not Burgess. One, Anthony Burgess remembered that if he dies, his family could be history. He was also concerned about how poverty can ravage anything remaining of him so he defied death and focused at creating a better life for his family in view. He was determined to make money for his family or they perish. We are talking about a man that has deep love for his family but was faced with a charge of death by cancer.
Let me ask you this question politely.
Assuming you were Anthony Burgess, what would you do? If his business was doing well, he would not be poor at the time. If he had investments, he would not be thinking too much about how the family fairs after he had died. If he had relatives that were well-to-do, he would also have hope that his family would be in good hands. He had nothing to relax hope on but only his writing skills.
As a man who loves to write, he was aware of the potentials he had. So he decided to write books that his wife and children can depend of for years to come. He began to write stories that flowed in his mind. HE was writing even, though he was not sure that they were going to be published. He was not stopped by the fear of pronounced death. In one year, he type-wrote about six books. His aim? To live something behind for his family. He saw his books as investment. He did not focus on what he would be missing and what he would not be doing from the time he dies. He was focused on writing those books to the point that he couldn’t do anything else.
He was said to have winter, spring, and summer to live through and would die with the fall of the leaves. Although he knew and believed his impending death, he had a target that elapses at his last breath. Take sometime to review his actions. He was not writing books, although he could right, before the pronouncement that he would die within a year. Secondly, he could ordinarily give in and die faster as some people in history had done but he decided to leave a legacy. Did his crisis pay him a better reward?
Burges did not die in one year as medical experts projected. His cancer gradually disappeared. If you ask me, I would say that due to a re-focusing in his life, it was likely that his body developed a new set of resistance to his cancer and it stopped reproducing and spreading. You also need to know that I am not a medical man so I cannot be sure of my assumptions. Take them for what they are -assumptions. Burgess lived a full life as a professional novelist with 70 solid novels to his credit. He continued to live on the royalties raised from these books. His family continued to live on and better financially after he passed on at a good age.
My dear friend, are you going through any crisis currently and it looks like it wants to eat you up? Don’t worry, there is at least one lesson to learn from that. Again, the crisis can be the vehicle that will speedily move you to your preferred destination. This is the point we are making here. Know that at times of trouble and crisis, you may just rise to your best potential knowing that you have come to your final option. Just like when we play games, we become more meticulous at that point when we have one life left. In real life our one life is that point when we are working with the last option. But that might just be the time when opportunity would start knocking. You may have to look deeper to uncover such opportunities. According to Richard Nixon, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for dangers and the other for opportunities.”
Susan Taylor captured it well in her words: “in every crisis, there is a message. Crisis are nature’s way of forcing change -breaking down old structures, shaking loose those negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.”
My conclusion is this: A life of no crisis is not worth living so don’t seek it.