Rising above the Context

We’re greatly influenced by surroundings. From our friends to the way we lay out furniture in our rooms everything has an impact on the way we act, react and deal with our life situations. I call these surroundings, generically, contexts. One of the things which constantly fascinates me is how to get over your contexts. Like overcoming them, stretching and reaching beyond.

It Ain’t a Walk in the Park

Everybody talks about how wonderful is to overcome your condition. To win against all odds. To get over your current status and reach to something way better than everybody thinks it’s possible. Well, that might be true, but it talks only about the second half of the game. The half in which you already reached beyond. And I totally agree: once you got over your pressuring contexts, everything is pink and easy. Sweet harmony all over.

But few are talking about the first half of the game. The half in which you are struggling. In which you are in a war. The part of the game in which every part of your being is challenged. The part in which you are ready to quit more than one million times (and yet still remain in the game). The part in which you don’t really believe you can do it unless you leave all hesitations behind and just dive in, like jumping into an empty pool, hoping water will be there by the time you’ll need it.

This is where everything happens. This is where you conquer your freedom, beat the context and reach out. And that part is not about harmony. It’s not about fulfillment either. It’s about challenging the status quo, about creating disruption and denying your current condition. All in the hope of something better, agree, but something better which doesn’t exist yet. I’ve already told you, and I’m telling you again, I’m fascinated about how one can give up everything he has – like his current context – for a promise of something which doesn’t yet exist: his goals.

Reaching beyond your context is risky, difficult and totally against nature. You’re chasing fantasies. You’re fighting your current position, your current stream of life. You can’t reach out to the things you want until you actually destroy what you have right now. You can’t become the one you want unless you give up the person you are right now. In order to become a bird you have to break the egg shell. Can’t stay in the egg context forever. And this is destruction. This is fight. You’re eliminating something: most of the time, parts of yourself.

Financial Struggle

One of the most common contexts people want to overcome is their current financial situation. They’re willing to give up what they have in exchange for something better. Like their current income for a future, allegedly better one. But somehow, in the process, they don’t really get over the current context. They expect a better context, but they don’t really get out from their current one. The risk part of the game is unconsciously rejected. Reaching beyond will actually destroy what they currently have. And the result is more than often predictable: they can’t reach beyond their current context.

Your financial context shapes a lot around you. There’s a huge part of life far and beyond money, I agree, but if you are interested in exploring the world in all its dimensions, having a good financial potential is a key factor. Money gives you the possibility to travel, to live a better life, to enjoy more, to experiment more. If you’re rejecting a potentially better financial context, you’ll rejecting a better life.

The current global financial context is a mess. We’re going through a world financial crisis and that’s a fact. People are losing jobs, houses and businesses are dramatically decreasing profit margins. There’s constraint. There’s limitation. It’s a tough financial context. And yet, being just a context, it can be overcome. People often forget that. In a strange, yet totally understandable way, the current context becomes the expected one. Financial struggle became the new comfort zone. Living under your real possibilities is accepted as norm.

And yet, this is just a context, folks. Just a context. You can overcome this. You can reach beyond and change it for the good.

What Does it Takes?


Finally. The question I’ve been waiting since the beginning of this article. :-)

It takes discipline. And vision. And trust. This is all it takes to overcome a limiting financial context.

You need discipline to stay on track even with limited supply. Learn to live frugally while aiming for more. Discipline to implement frugality but not to get used to it. I’m not into frugality and I enjoy life to the fullest, whenever I can. But if there are limiting contexts, I can adjust. And so can you, until the storm is gone.

You need discipline to understand the new processes around you. Overcoming your current context means learning new things, making new connections, really grasping the underpinnings of the new, richer context. These are all new and if you don’t focus on them, you risk being pulled back to the old context.

And you need vision. You need to be able to identify the new context, to establish a new financial level, even if only mentally for a few months or years. Or weeks, if you’re really into it. You need vision to be able to actually see where you want to be.

And you also need vision to integrate your life in the new structure. Everything will be different in that new context. You will be different, your relationships will be different, your physical surroundings will be different. If you are acting on a new, more abundant financial context, things will dramatically change around you. Better cope with it, or you’ll lose it.

And, last, but certainly not least, you need trust. Not a blind trust that things will go smoother, although this kind of trust can’t hurt. But hope alone will do nothing. You’ll need trust that you’ll have enough power to finish the race. Trust that you know what you’re doing. Trust that you’ll be able to go through this even if everything else around collapses. And trust that you deserve what you envisioned.

Discipline, vision and trust, those are your only allies in the first half of the game. You’ll go through many battles and hit a lot of walls. You’ll lose some, you’ll win some. In the end, you’ll reach above the context and you’ll tell everybody how pink and easy your life is right now. And you wouldn’t lie, of course. Your life is sweet harmony all over, now that you’re enjoying a brand new abundant financial context.

But you couldn’t make it without discipline, vision and trust.

The game has always two parts. Usually, the first one is the most difficult. You don’t want to talk about it. And to some extent that is ok. You’re free not to talk about it as long as you still keep it handy for the next challenge. As long as you don’t let your secret tools (discipline, vision and trust) worn out in a comfortable, yet infinitely fragile and temporary context.

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26 Responses to Rising above the Context

  • Hi Dragos,
    I love this post. Its a very simple and a very matter of fact approach to overcoming our struggles, whether financial or otherwise. Even personal struggles can be handled really well with this same approach- right vision, trust in yourself and sensible discipline.
    Lovely post.
    .-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last blog ..Our Life’s Shelter =-.

    • Thanks for the nice words. I had in the initial draft a segment about how to apply this to relationships but at some point the article took a way of its own. It was unfolding by itself and I couldn’t resist letting it finish the way it wanted to.

      But you’re right, we can apply this in almost any struggle we face, and chances are that we will rise above it faster. :-)

  • There are ways to get out of financial trouble once you’re in it too. I’ve learned to harass my creditors and my husband’s creditors. We had a bill that cost over $1,000 that I had knocked down to $500.

  • “It Ain’t a Walk in the Park”. Well said!

    People who watch to many Hollywood movies (aka most people) have this illusion that rising above the context is just a decision away. It’s not. The status-quo can put a lot of emotional and logistical barriers in front of us, that we have to overpass in order to change it. It takes a clear goal, a road map, persistence and the right tools to manage negative emotions in order to rise above the context.

    Eduard
    .-= Ideas With A Kick´s last blog ..Sometimes forgiveness isn’t the answer =-.

    • Absolutely. Too much of “The Secret” and too less of “The Apprentice”. A lot of vision and almost no powerful action to fulfill that vision…

  • Discipline is definitely the hardest part to gain in terms of living frugally. It’s almost like dieting. You figure out a budget of money / calories, limit yourself for a long time, but then you find yourself starving and feeling like you deserve a reward, then you splurge. After that point, then you have to either get back to that restrictive plan, or you go opposite, and feel like now that you’ve blown things, you cannot go back.

    I think it’s a matter of balance. Figure out a budget to live frugally, but still have some small “splurges” as well, so you don’t always feel restricted to the point of snapping.

    ~ Kristi
    .-= Kikolani´s last blog ..The New StumbleUpon – Likes and Dislikes =-.

    • I like the comparison between money and calories, as a matter of fact I do consider money a form of energy. Being on a raw food diet for more than 9 months I know what it is to crave. Being on my own since I left home 20 years ago I also know what it is to need money. Bottom line: you NEED discipline. :-)

  • I think people can over come financial struggles by learning to budget and live within their means and that doesn’t mean taking a raise or extra money and blowing it. Most people have become to materialistic. They feel they have an image to uphold so apply for loans or credit cards. They never think clearly of the interest they are paying for something they are going to grow tired of soon.
    They will drive 20 miles for something on sale but never consider the price of gas. They will pay for 3 cellphones WHY because they think it is necessary to keep friends, family and clients separated.
    People get in debt because it is made too easy for them to get credit. They fail to read or do the math to see how much that extravagance is really is going to cost them in the long run.
    With money you always need to think long term and if you really can afford ? % tact onto each credit card. A credit card is a must but too easy to abuse.
    You have to have self discipline and stop buying $5. lattes at Starbucks every morning and walk when you can. Take your lunch to work and that will save you money and hopefully you will be eating healthier so you wont get sick as often or fat.
    My advice is don’t start a bad habit that is going to create stress and if you have already then start to un-clutter the things you “think” you need or deserve because you are wasting your money on small things that are superficial and could go for the gusto by saving that money on something you could pay cash for. Something well deserved.
    Well you caught me in a talkative moment :D
    Great article Dragos!
    .-= Bunnygotblog´s last blog ..12 On Blogging: Katie Clemons, “Making This Home” =-.

    • The promise of an easy life, backed up by inconsiderate spending is what many of perceive as being the American Dream. But behind this dream there’s a credit card. And behind the credit card there’s a bank. And behind the bank there’s a crisis waiting to unfold :-)

  • This is a great article Dragos. I think it’s important not to assume that changes always come easily. Having the preparation to face the worst would be better in any case. This article would be a good reminder for everyone.
    .-= Karlil´s last blog ..7 Simple Ways To Keep Yourself Motivated =-.

  • Hi Dragos.

    I do like this. It is empowering, and lets people know they can get out of a contextual financial struggle. It isn’t like a dead-end scenario, and your description here doesn’t treat it like one.

    Discipline is exactly what is needed, and is the key that many should be looking for. Discipline is the way out. Other ways don’t work because they lack coherency or consistency. It has to be built step-by-step. I point out that it is like rolling a ball up a hill. Leave the ball alone for a while and it rolls back down.

    Good message of the solution to the problem.
    .-= Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..Timeless Information Video #2 =-.

    • Wow, I like that metaphor of discipline: rolling a ball up to a hill. Do it constantly otherwise you lose the ball. Or even worse, get hit by it in its way down…

  • All I can say is “Bravo!”. Definitely the best article I’ve read in quite a while. And perfect timing with my “context” too.

    Discipline has a way of rippling good waves in all areas of life. Financial example – well chosen as most readers are probably there, but it can be applied to all contexts.

    The sad thing is – people who are struggling are usually distrustful, they think “easy for him to say that – he’s got everything he needs”. Helplessness is not easy to unlearn. The self-pity habit is hard to drop. It ain’t a walk in the park (to quote Eduard quoting you :) ). But diversity must be celebrated, and in the end, things are beautiful as they are. We must try to add to the beauty, show it to people (= raise their awareness) and enjoy it.

    Cheers
    .-= Gec´s last blog ..Physical Challenge =-.

    • I hate the self-pity habit: “I so deserve to be happy but I’m not doing anything for it. People owe me, I am the best, but nobody really understand me” Yet, all you get is rejection, lack of resources and despair. Which worsens the victimization. It’s a dead end.

  • You sound like the person I would go to for motivation and keeping focused. You certainly exude the energy of discipline, vision and trust. Do continue to keep me inspired :-)
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Abundance Tapestry is Live =-.

    • May I say the same? Keep me inspired with your powerful writing which links spirituality and abundance in such a kind and creative way? Hey, I think I just did :-)

  • I so need discipline Dragos, thanks for inspiring me. I am the one of those who has “too much of the Secret, too little of Apprentice.”. I came to US from the country that had no credit cards and the whole concept of having a credit to buy something was so new to me that I of course abused it quite a bit in the beginning. I learned from mistakes and now my discipline is much better, but I still have a lot to work on. I am sure I can do it though:)
    .-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..Relationships Advice – Other People Are Just Mirror Images Of You =-.

    • Lol, I’ve been there too. As a matter of fact, my financial context was pretty much a roller-coaster, with frequent ups and downs. All that was changed over the years was the amplitude. When I was younger, playing in the hundreds per month limit was the norm. As I got older, playing in the thousands or dozen of thousands per month has become the norm. But playing means: win some, lose some :-)

      Which makes me learn a hell of a lot of discipline, as the amplitude gets higher and higher :-)

  • Great article Dragos. I’ve learned over the years that no matter what our income is we always manage to get by on what we have, unless we get into too much debt. It’s the getting into too much debt that has always got me into trouble. Whenever I have cut out debt from my life I always always always manage to get by. I have even taken substantial pay cuts to get the job I really want and still manage to get by on the income I get.

    Thanks for this Dragos.

    • Debt is like an attractive woman: you can’t really know the “hidden costs” until you give her a try.

      Most of the time, the whole experience doesn’t worth :-)

  • Dragos, this is the most energetic post of yours which I have read until now.

    In your first reply to Zeenat you wrote:
    “I had in the initial draft a segment about how to apply this to relationships but at some point the article took a WAY of ITS own.”
    I’d like to read a post from you about applying this to relationships. Anyway it was a good decision to let the article take a WAY of YOUR own ;-)

    What you write mostly reflects my current thinking.

    One thing which I am not yet sure about is the money thing. Money is worth a sh** as a value by itself. Currently I think that it is a good thing to make or save money if I know what it is really good for, what I am going to spend it on and what that has to do with my true values as a human being.

    Making money seems like a powerful activity for improving self discipline, for learning lots and lots of different things, for dealing with all sorts of people and, therefore, for personal development. Financial struggle seems to be the usual starting point for people who have high standards and know they can do better and who feel that it is their responsibility to participate in making this world a better place. Starting with you own desires and you personal needs, especially including the financial aspect, is a good thing.

    As long as one doesn’t regard money – in an unconcious and religious way – I totally agree. In my opinion money is not necessarily required to make your fortune. There are many different paths leading to our hearts. Used as a tool, money is not the devil either.

    And, imho, making money must include sharing.

    • Thanks for your nice words, Uli.

      As for the money, I think this article will shed a little more light on how I see this topic.

      As for the relationships – similarly to money, in fact – I made so many “mistakes” that I can easily become an authority on how to screw your life starting from here. Fortunately, I learned how to not screw your life, but that doesn’t save me from doing some big boo-boo’s. ;-)

  • Please remember that you asked for this comment. My husband and I have been living an extremely frugal lifestyle in a semi-remote location on a very small island for over 30 years. We draw water from our well and split firewood & kindling to keep warm. We do have electricity and we both have a PC. We have an old TV that we rarely watch, and a small stereo, but that’s it. (No electronic gadgets, no cell phones, no ipods.)

    We are are self employed in our own small business (pottery and painting) and also take on a variety of other odd jobs year round. We grow food with others in a community garden and work in community orchards in return for produce. We barter for food and almost everything else we need. We can, dehrydrate and freeze food for the winter months. The rest of what we need to sustain our minimal rustic lifestyle we purchase at second hand and charity shops.

    If anyone could give a class on the topic of frugal living that would be us …lol :D In fact, we are hard pressed not to say rude things online to people who are whining about their economic situation while they continue to live unsustainable urban lifestyles. ;)
    .-= timethief´s last blog ..♥♫ The Waters of the Mountain – New Age – Relaxation music ♥♫ =-.

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