How often are you emotionally strong and focused?

Today is August 21 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often are you emotionally strong and focused?" People who navigate the chaos know that amidst the issues, questions, and obstacles in their path, they need to remind emotionally strong and focused.

As the pressure mounts, the obstacles appear, and the issues multiply, challenge yourself to remain emotionally strong and focused. Every day will present new distractions to occupy your vision. Will you let them? Every day people will try to steal your time and attention unnecessarily. Will you let them? Every day external events far from your control will come across your path and try to prevent you from moving forward. Will you let them?

Today’s reflection can easily fall into the category of ‘easier said than done’ but it is, nonetheless, a viable strategy to use while navigating the chaos. You have a choice to be emotionally strong and focused.

Indian film actress Deepika Padukone transitioned from badminton player to model to actress and faced many obstacles along her path. In an interview about her life, career, and transition from one arena to another Padukone said:

“Never lose focus of what you want for yourself. People will try and pull you down. There might be things in your life, which will deter your confidence. There might be days when you want to break down; there could be days when you feel like giving up. It’s extremely important to be emotionally strong and be focused. Do it your own way. And don’t be afraid of making mistakes.”

There are two essential elements to Padukone’s observation. First, to be emotionally strong and focused means to ignore those people who ‘will try and pull you down.’ American novelist and playwright James Baldwin acknowledge this need to emotionally strong and focused when dealing with others when he wrote “you’ve got to tell the world how to treat you [because] if the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.”

How often do you tell the world how to treat you? Have you been upset as to how the world was treating you? What did you do? How did you respond? Did you blame others? Did you remain emotionally strong and focused to ‘tell the world how to treat you?’

The second essential element in Padukone’s observation is the acceptance of making mistakes. As discussed elsewhere in the Navigate the Chaos series, it is virtually impossible to navigate the chaos of life free of ever making a mistake. As you recover from a mistake recall the words of author Richard Back who wrote in The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story: “There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they're necessary to reach the places we've chosen to go.”

Padukone, like so many others who have navigated the chaos, battled through her own personal issues. It is important to remember that you can be emotionally strong and focused yet still work through mental health issues. Being emotionally strong and focused does not mean you are perfect. It does mean, however, that you should remind yourself to be as emotionally strong and focused as possible given the severity of any situation you are confronting.

To help people better understand how to be emotionally strong and focused, Padukone launched Live, Love, Laugh Foundation, a non-profit organization to help people battle mental health in Indian. In January 2015, she opened her heart out to the world at large and spoke about her battles with anxiety and depression. She revealed how she had to take clinical counselling and medication when 'I feel empty' was the one thought that kept coming back to haunt her. By publicly addressing her own mental health issues, Padukone showed others it was acceptable to achieve success while figuring out how to remain emotionally strong and focused.

She created this foundation to bring more awareness to mental health and to reduce the stigma of it in India. One reason Padukone decided to create this foundation is because, “In India, 90 percent of people who suffer from depression don’t seek help.” Padukone uses social media as a tool to encourage others to share their personal experiences/stories with mental illness, using the hashtag, #NotAshamed.

In 2016, the year after Padukone founded the Live Love Laugh Foundation, she launched a campaign called "More Than Just Sad" to assist general physicians in properly treating patients suffering from depression or anxiety. Padukone is also the brand ambassador for the NGO Indian Psychiatric Society, which is the largest association of Indian psychiatrists.

How often are you emotionally strong and focused?