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+4 votes

Have you hit 'rock bottom'?  Was/is it a financial, emotional, relationship, health, psychological,  other/not listed here, or all of the above?  What did you learn from being 'down' ?  

Many of THE most successful (in various fields and/or aspects in life) attribute their success to hitting 'rock bottom',  and theorize that it is the biggest (and likely the most necessary) step to realizing ones goals.

I think I've hit my (all of the above) rock bottom and have already learned things I couldn't have imagined without being 'here' first-hand.

Any words of wisdom to share? 

in Philosophy by (11,710 points)

4 Answers

+1 vote

The best advice I can give you is advice that I have followed myself: If you manage a way to hit rock bottom, don't continue to dig.

by (823,640 points)

"If you manage a way to hit rock bottom don't continue to dig"  is more than a little insulting to anyone who has experienced a series of events by no fault of their own, but I'm not really surprised because the 'blame the victim' mentality is all-too-common.


If you felt that what I wrote was "blame the victim," then you really don't know what I meant by it and you don't really know me.

I have hit rock bottom a number of times in my life--with finances, with relationships, with health matters, etc.  Example: at one point in my early years, we had our first baby.  It was the day before payday, and I wanted to get a glass of milk, but I wasn't sure if we would have enough milk left for the baby's cereal the next morning.  I checked, and we did not have enough.  Between Mrs Media and me, we didn't have enough money in the house, in our checking account, or in a savings account (actually, we didn't even have a savings account because we knew our expenses were making us live paycheck to paycheck.)  We couldn't buy a gallon of milk, which at the time was about $1.35, I think.  THAT was rock bottom.  

Another "rock bottom" moment I had was the day I realized that I was poor and my family was poor.  I was about 11 years old and my church had ponied up the money so I could go to a week of "church camp" out in the woods for a week.  (I still remember that I stayed in the cabin called Dixie.)  All the clothes I wore were hand-me-downs from my brother, who was a grade in front of me.  All of HIS clothes were hand-me-downs from my mother's friends in a nearby town who had three boys of their own.  They were well-off, to the point that they had name tags sewn into all their clothing.  When they outgrew their clothes, we got them.  Well, one day at the camp, we were having our afternoon "quiet time" in the cabin.  One of the other boys picked up a t-shirt that was on the floor and asked, "Who's Dick Vossler?"  I said, "Oh, that's mine. He's my cousin." (I didn't want to explain the whole thing.)  He held the t-shirt out at arm's length between his thumb and forefinger and said, "Ewww!  EWWW!!!  You wear hand-me-down UNDERWEAR???"  and all the kids laughed.  That was when I really, really knew that we were poor.  Dirt poor.  So poor that people laughed at how poor we were.

When I say "If you manage a way to hit rock bottom, don't continue to dig," here's how *I* applied that for that moment.  I had hit rock bottom.  And I had a choice: I could accept my circumstances, know that they were no fault of my own, and try hard not to allow others' opinions and their laughter affect me -- impossible, but I had to grow a thick skin to at least cover up how hurtful it was.  Or I could wallow in my own circumstance.  I could say, "I'm poor, and that's why.... blah blah blah."  I couldn't change my circumstance, but I could work on changing my attitude towards those circumstances.

When I say, "don't continue to dig," I mean that we need to do whatever we can to (a) deal with the situation in which we find ourselves and (b) do everything we can to find a way out of that circumstance.  That might mean an attitude change, it might mean seeking medical help, it might mean getting different training, etc., etc.  What we CANNOT do is to wallow in our circumstances and say, "Woe is me.  I'm helpless" and then wallow in it, not only accepting our conditions but feeling some kind of comfort in them because we've grown used to living with them.  Maybe we can't help where we ended up.  Maybe we're there through no fault of our own.  (It wasn't *my* fault that I was the youngest of three in a single-parent home; it wasn't *my* fault we lived on Social Security and stayed with my grandparents.)  Maybe we're there because of a mental or physical condition. If that's the case, we do what we can to change that.  Get help.  Get medication. Do what you can to make the best of what you have.

I could say, "Woe is me: I can't do anything because my heart is only 10% efficient and I've had 4 heart attacks," etc. Or I could do everything I can to make my physical condition as good as it CAN be given the severe heart problems I have.  Take the right meds.  See my doctors and follow their advice.  Lose some weight. Work out 3-5 times a week.  

So NO... i'm not insulting you or anyone else who has hit rock bottom. And I'm certainly not "blaming" anyone.


Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your perspective and outlook on this topic!

It adds more proof to (what my question stated) the theory that some of the most important and valuable lessons (on the road to success) are only available to those who experience rock bottom first-hand.

+2 votes

Yes and I think everyone at some point in their life hits 'rock bottom.' Personally, I feel I've hit that point in many different ways. I do agree that there is an important lesson to learn from every negative experience.

I have hit rock bottom in relationships, jobs, health, name it. The most important thing I have learned from it is to never give up on yourself or on your goals. Things happen for a reason and I just think of certain things as if they were not meant for me. Usually when you are in a hard place in life, it is life's way of telling you that something better is meant to be. 

You have two choices, to either sink from it or swim. I am still learning from my experiences and trying to turn it around. I will admit, at times I am very confused about what life has in store for me. Some people have things figured out straight out of college, for others it takes a little more time to have things figured out. I am at the stage where I am trying to figure it all out one day at a time. Sometimes things don't turn out the way you thought they would, and it is disappointing...but it can also be a blessing.

My opinion is that you can never lose when you keep trying. Sometimes you have to lose something to gain something.

by (184,440 points)

About being confused in life about what you want to do---if this is about career, there are psychologists who give tests about your interests too see which one would be more suited for you. I forget the name of the type of psychologist, I think it may be an Industrial psychologist. 

  Here is something you might want to take a look at.

0 votes

I think that it had to be in my own childhood.  It was possibly the most horrific time in my life, as well as my own family. An unstable father says it all and I wont go into anymore details because I don't like to dwell on it.  All I now is, we got out of it, and have gone up ever since. We will never forget it, and it was as if we were born again once we managed to leave "home". 

by (1,067,380 points)
0 votes

At the end of the day believe in yourself. Because too many times you'll just get yeah I've been there too, which doesn't help. Prime example. Anxiety. It can range from being a bit worried to physically shaking with fear.

by (4,042,291 points)
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