Overcoming Obstacles

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As I’ve written about on here and Twittered about more than a few times, I’ve been through some serious health issues over the last month and a half. It’s actually been a long string of semi-related things – ear infection, sinus infection, TMJ, a very strong allergic reaction to Bactrim, a virus that threw a bunch of levels out of whack, an eye infection, and now apparently some troubles with my liver that may or may not be related to the virus. I haven’t felt normal since before Election Day, to tell the truth.

There have been a lot of days when I’ve wanted to just throw in the towel on all of it and just stay in bed all day, reading books and wallowing in some sense of self-pity. Each time, though, I’ve made myself get up, eat a decent breakfast, take a shower, and at least make some sort of an attempt at productivity, whether it be writing a handful of entries on a good day or simply just answering a couple of emails on a bad one. Some days, I would stop very early and take a nap so that I would have energy in the evening to spend with my children.

What’s kept me going – and will keep me going for the foreseeable future – is hope. I truly believe that at some point in the near future, things will return to some degree of normalcy in my life and health, and that will be a great moment for me, for my wife, for my kids, and for everyone else in my life.

Here’s how.

I look for signs that today is better than the day before it. Many days, I can find those signs, and they keep me optimistic, even if I still don’t feel normal. As I write this, for example, I can reflect that today my energy level has been pretty consistent all day, and that’s been a pretty rare thing as of late.

I keep the positive things in my life front and center at all times. My office has a bunch of pictures of my wife and my children adorning the walls and the desktop. Whenever I need some inspiration, I look at those pictures – and I remember the great things I have to work for and live for.

I remind myself of the positive potential of the future. I think ahead to the things I want to enjoy in the future. I look forward to Christmas, for example, and to the spring and summer beyond that. Thinking of a warm summer day gets me actually excited and really keeps me positive.

I take care of the fundamentals by eating a very healthy diet. I’ve been focusing very hard on eating healthy foods over the past month, carefully selecting a diet that will keep my energy levels up, not put a lot of junk into my body, and provide all my nutritional needs.

What these tactics have in common is that they’re the same tactics I’ve been using to fix my personal finances. I look for ways to motivate myself, keep careful track of my progress, set goals, and focus on the fundamentals.

Whenever you see something that seems difficult in front of you, stick to the basics. Look for ways to motivate yourself and think positively about the obstacle. Keep track of your progress, so that you can clearly see that you are moving forward even if the path seems very difficult. Set goals and milestones along the way so that success can be reached on a regular basis. Focus on the fundamentals along the way – the little things that you know how to do well and the things that can “grease the skids” for the more difficult pieces.

The building blocks of success are universal. One just needs to apply them effectively in the situation they find themselves in.

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57 thoughts on “Overcoming Obstacles

  1. Hang in there as your outlook is tied to how you’re feeling. I’m sure that as soon as you physically get better, then your outlook (or psychological state) will improve.

    Eating a nice breakfast and showering is great and trying to stick to some of the items in your routine is vital.

    Let me add that I would also try and socialize and spend time with friends and family (when you’re in isolation because of sickness or choice your psychological state can take a beating).

    Good luck,
    Scordo.com

  2. It’s very important to have Positive Mental Attitude(PMA). However, it is hard to stay positive without being in good shape. To remain healthy, I do a variety of physical activities such as yoga, swimming, squash, tennis, running, and of course working out at the gym regularly.
    Cheers,
    A Dawn Journal
    http://www.adawnjournal.com

  3. I hear ya loud and clear, Trent. I tend to get very down this time of year, as I’m sure many do, and I’ve noticed that I’m much more likely to get sick when I’m down and not taking care of myself. Kudos to you for finding your joy and using it to keep yourself going!

  4. I’ve been feeling down a bit lately, myself. Reading this post helped me a good deal.

    To touch on what A Dawn Journal said, I’ve noticed an uptick in my mental well-being when I exercise—perhaps I should start a regular routine, instead of doing a bit here and there.

    Thanks, Trent.

  5. Thanks for what you do here. I really enjoy reading you and I take away something valuable with every post.

    I hope that things continue to improve for you. I really, really enjoy hearing about how devoted you are to your wife and kids — that means a lot. It gives me a good sense of who you are.

    Take care.

  6. I’m sorry to hear you have been dealing with these obstacles. I am right there with you but you have more motivation and gusto than I seem to have right now. Thanks for the pep talk. I needed it. I will try to utilize some of your strategies to get myself back on track.

  7. You can and will beat whatever’s attacking you, Trent. Your positive attitude is a great start followed by your diet. Keep on keeping on. I tend to get sick when I’m stressed out over something, and the past three weeks I’ve been fighting a couple of illnesses while working on the house to get it presentable for visitors at Thanksgiving followed by last Saturday’s invasion of 26 extra people in the house for a holiday party. Have you been stressed out over something in your life recently? Stress can be insidious and sneaky especially if you’re not recognizing it for what it is. Your post here helped my attitude today, Trent, thanks.

  8. Trent, try taking some Cod Live Oil tablets… I started 2 years ago and haven’t had so much as a plugged nostril since. Pretty good for a guy who has had colds last for the better part of a year. They are cheap on Swansons.

  9. Trent,
    I´m sure you´ll be not defeated ´cause you´re not that kind of people. You are a good Samaritan and believe, God is with you.
    I´d like to say too that your coaching- let me say that- are very apreciated by me and my Brazilian friends.
    You´re universal, believe me.
    Go ahead Trent

  10. I’ve been reading a book about cancer and the one thing they say is do not give up, you will survive. Don’t give up! Keep going!

  11. GREAT POST, Trent!

    I really appreciate the person who said to make sure you spend time with friends and family during this time. Just make sure you hang with the people who are going to LIFT your spirits! Also get lots of HUGS and physical contact (as long as your not contagious) this has been shown to help alleviate pain and discomfort!

    I noticed several others commented that they’ve been feeling “down” lately. This is a CLASSIC symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder and is usually due to a lack of Vitamin D. Make sure you get as much sunlight as possible (even weak winter sunlight will help) and if necessary take extra Vitamin D supplement (make sure it is high quality and it is often best in a complex, such as calcium).

    Also, I wanted to add that even though you are eating a very healthy diet and not putting junk into your system (THREE CHEERS FOR YOU!) it would be beneficial to think about investing in some quality nutritional supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps. Much of our winter fruits and veggies are shipped from far away and don’t have the benefits of ripening on the vine and getting every possible nutrient from the soil. So a high-quality multivitamin can really work wonders in maintaining overall health. Be sure to include a good probiotic to support your immune system. I suggest Shaklee supplements– they’ve been around for 50 years and have the best science you will find. http://www.shaklee.net/mygreenfamily/prodnut

    I also work from home and I agree fully with everything you have said today. I totally felt like throwing in the towel last week. This was an excellent, encouraging post for us entrepeneurs with home businesses!

  12. That’s sort of how I hung in there through four pregnancies with hyperemesis. In addition to what you suggested, I also tried to focus on getting through just one day at a time, because focusing on getting through nine months was just WAY too depressing.

  13. I agree with the SAD and vitamin D post. I had a serious case of depression when I quit my job to stay home with the kids. I missed the adult interaction and the friends I had a work.

  14. I get terrible SAD symptons… living in London which is grey for 8 months of the year (and raining for the other year doesn’t help!)

    Every year I plan to go away for the whole of winter to avoid it, and then by October (after I’ve been ‘summered up’) it seems a silly idea. And now here I am again with the sun setting at 4pm after a slate grey day. :(

    Hang on in there Trent.

  15. Hi Trent,
    Get Better Soon!!!! I want to tell you how much I appreciate you. If you are really sick get some rest. Sleep all day. Your body may need it. I like this blog. I like to walk my dog. It gets you outdoors for some fresh air and exercise. If you have a dog take him and the kids for a walk. You
    are doing great with your new book. Who can say they have done that? Rest your mind too. I like the idea of hope and writing in a journal your favorite moment of the day. Pictures of hope are good too…
    like a pretty house on your desk. etc. This will keep you inspired. I have a cut out on my desk that says I’m the Boss. This inspires me. I hope
    to start two businesses. See this helps me because
    I am writing it down. It is an affirmation. Put things on your desk Like I,m looking good., I am healthy, I am on my way to good things happening God!!!!! This is just of season and I am going to find a tall, good looking and rich man Lord… Yes!!!!!
    Take care.

  16. Trent:

    Eating healthy is so very important. Our society really takes its benefits for granted. It is unfortunate.

    Since you mentioned breakfast and eating healthy, I thought you might like the homemade granola I made a few days ago :)

    http://www.macheesmo.com/u/3

    Cheers,
    Nick

  17. Mail bag question please?
    What would you consider a good main job to keep a float with two side businesses for the future?
    Jobs are hard to come by. Have any ideas or structure?

  18. Hello Trent.

    I have a question related to the difference between an index fund and a mutual fund. I would like to start investing, (that is how I found your site), but am unsure how or where to start. With all that is happening on wall street and with investments just what is the best way to proceed. I read through some of your articles each day….thank you…Larry

  19. Gosh, Trent, sorry you’ve been beset by so many health problems! Of course that will monkey with your outlook. In particular, fatigue (which may feel like depression) is a big symptom of liver problems.

    You’re a very good problem solver, Trent, so I’m sure you’ll just eat this elephant one bite at a time. You probably also know by now that you “family” also includes 1000s of your readers! :D

  20. Trent, I hope you feel better soon. My roomate had a vicious ear infection over the summer, which led to a sinus infection. She just recently found out that her eardrum had ruptured during the infection, which her doctor JUST noticed, even after visiting his office multiple times for it (Talk about a poor doctor!!!), so she will probably have to have surgery. Now she has mono and strep throat. From seeing how miserable she has been lately with all these health problems, I can empathize with how you must be feeling. Hopefully your healthcare provider is more on top of things than hers was and you don’t have any serious repercussions. I hope you feel better soon. Keep up the great work blogging and the postitive attitude!

  21. Trent: Don’t forget that laughter can also be a pretty potent medicine. I find humor can shake off a case of the blues or help me feel better when I’m sick. Block out a little time on those bad days and spend it surfing the items on ICanHasCheezburger.com or NotAlwaysRight.com, or watching a funny movie like Ghostbusters or MST3K:The Movie and it can definitely help! :-)

  22. Went through a bad time with my husband several years back. Keeping a positive attitude helped alot, so you are on the right track.
    Best wishes to you and hope you will soon be feeling better.

  23. Having suffered similar ailments – I recommend that you boost your immune system and use adaptogens like ginseng and asperalugus sp? Source Naturals has a nice conbination called Wellness Formula — You can also take goldenseal -but not for over a week –

    I recommend saline nose drops or salt water snuffling for sinus problems – (salt is a minor antiseptic)For TMJ there are even home kits where you can form your own mouthpieces!

    I am not selling a thing – but it sounds as if you are stressed and run down – I have similar issues and have gotten a lot of mileage out of my vitamins and supplements! (Vit C + B complex + zinc, etc.) It’s hard to get good combinations at a reasonable price – better to get individual supplements – I know the experts may cavil – but I know I am getting benefit out of mine. Plus a healthy lifestyle – walking for exercise – a good diet!

    Have you thought you may be suffering from a low grade depression? Maybe you should take one of those online tests – there is so much info nowadays! – and the psychotropic drugs do help. I speak from experience as a bi-polar…

    I also have gotten benefit from homeopathic remedies for allergy/sinus problems. Try drops for specific allergies – Have you been tested so you know what specifically to avoid? Have an air cleaner & if you have central heat get your ducts cleaned & put FILTERS on the heat vents. Visiting back east the dust in the heating systems was very hard on me…

    I have found that if you get knowledgeable in selfcare you can deal with a lot of common problems better than bombing them with doctor drugs (esp. since so many are viruses which they can’t kill yet!) So our line of defense has to be WELLNESS – an on-going task for modern man or woman! Best of luck – get better soon.

  24. Trent – Good luck with your recovery. I believe a lot of it will improve just based on your attitude.

    This applies to anyone, it’s true. When I’m pregnant I struggle with serious morning sickness, including constant nausea and dizziness and vomiting. I had to do the same things – force myself to eat well, care for my body, and have a positive, hopeful attitude.

    Best wishes!

  25. Sorry you have had such a such a rough road to travel these past few months. But I must tell you that I have a family member who displayed similar symptoms to yours over a number of years. This fellow has a healthy lifestyle and I’m sure that has benefitted him, but he didn’t really know for sometime what was bothering him. It turns out that he has Lyme Disease. Please have yourself tested for this, if my nephew had been diagnosed early, I don’t think he would still be battling all the secondary problems that come with this awful disease.

  26. Last year was an insanely rough year for me health wise with allergic reactions to everything followed by contant infections. I’m now back on track with lots of holistic treatment…for liver function problems, milk thistle extract is a great remedy. It brought my liver enzyme counts back into the normal range from way high…just a thought. Hope you feel better soon!

  27. Hi Trent,

    Hey, I hope you feel better soon. Thank you for keeping up your blog in spite of feeling awful. I look forward to your posts every day.

    All the best.

  28. Hello,
    I just wanted to share a quick bit of information that will hopefully be of help. If you are interested, there have been several books that have been life changing for me and three of them may be of help to you also. Prescription for Natural Cures by James Balch MD (all of his books are worth reading), Diet Cure and Mood Cure by Julia Ross and The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein MD. There are many more excellent resources, but those will get you started on a course that will help you take a proactive stance with your health. (Also after many years of learning about natural health remedies, I can say that these authors know their stuff.) Also, look at alkaline/acid blood ph (you can find many articles online). Infections have a hard surviving when the blood ph is balanced. (Try hard to not eat white flour or refined sugar). Both are hard on your immune system and help create an environment in your body where infections thrive. Healthful eating and natural remedies are a vast subject, but they are well worth learning. Just as you reminded me that I have a tremendous amount of control in my financial health, learning more about these subjects will give you more control of your physical health. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your blog. I “stumbled” on it at a pivotal moment in my life and just want you to know you really did make a difference in this persons life. I wish you a speedy recovery. PS the side effects of the synthetic medications you are taking can be playing a possible part of your liver problem (drugs can be very hard for the liver to handle as they are all perceived by the liver as toxins and the liver is having to work overtime to cleanse them from your system.) Side effects can also be a very large part of your melancholy state as well because they also effect your brain chemistry and can induce a depression
    Blessings,
    Elaina

  29. Trent, congratulations on being so proactive through this situation. You’re a quality guy and I wish you more strength in the future. I like how you draw vitality from images of your wife and children. Good luck, buddy.

  30. Hi Trent! I’m a new subscriber and so far i like how passionate you are about what you do. (blog) Well, I must agree very much with post number 9. Vitamins and minerals are crucial for a healthy body. I’m into bodybuilding and I’ve researched plenty of supplements in the past. I would also recommend that you stack up on antioxidants. Some vitamins are high on antioxidants, but getting them from other areas such as root extracts, Green teas ETC… are important as well. God gave us enough natural resources to keep pharmaceuticals at a distance.

    I take a multivitamin supplement, extra vitamin C like 1000 mg, Omega 3-6-9, a liver support supplement like Milk Thistle, and one of my favorite, Pycnogenol (Pine bark extract). Pycnogenol helps the production of Nitric oxide in your system. Increasing the oxygen levels to your blood.
    I would check out your local supplement store or online for these products.
    Good luck! Hope you feel better soon!

  31. Hi Trent – Because I know that you believe in good food, I was wondering if you would try alternative medicine? Your immune system is obviously compromised. You can improve your immunity through supplements (herbs, vitamins, even mushroom extracts). Milk thistle is a miracle cure for liver problems. Don’t be turned off by all of the quacks that gravitate to alternative medicine. I truly believe that it is the only path to real, lasting health. Best of luck with your journey,

  32. Hey, this is a great post. One thing, though: a positive attitude won’t get you anywhere if you’re not rested. Maybe forcing yourself to be active every single day is wearing you out when what you really need actually is some sleep. When your body is telling you to rest, sometimes you just need to rest! Hope you feel better.

  33. Trent, thanks for all the good you do for us readers.
    I pray that you will be feeling better soon.
    Keep up your positive outlook and count your blessings. You sure are a blessing to us.

  34. Sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well Trent, hope you’re on the mend soon.

    Please make sure that you are getting enough SLEEP! Busy people, such as yourself, sometimes forget this essential component in the maintenance of good health. 5 or 6 hours is not enough, get 8 hours or more. That’s how the body heals itself, sleep. Highly under-rated, I get sick everytime I stop getting enough of it.

  35. Trent, I’m sorry to hear you are having those health issues right now. I would like to make a suggestion that is easy to do and also tasty!

    Have you ever heard of “green shakes”? They are shakes that have the dark green leafy vegetables in them, like kale or collard greens, spinach, and (not dark green) lettuce, along with fresh fruit and water.–one recipe that is easy to make with a normal blender is:

    1 apple, cored and seeded
    a big handful of kale leaves
    some lettuce leaves
    a sprig or two of flat parsley
    1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water

    Blend it up it the blender and drink it. It might take up to a minute to blend fully, and you will still have some leafy particles in the shake/smoothie when it’s done since you are using a normal blender as opposed to a high power one like a VitaMix. But it’s really really tasty and probably the freshest tasting thing you could ever drink–it feels like drinking a fresh waterfall. They’re great first thing in the morning and I (and others) notice an increase in my energy when I drink them. Basically, in one enjoyable drink you can double or more the normal amount of these kinds of veggies that you eat, plus make them extra digestible because of the blending.

    If you try it for a while and you feel like it’s giving you a leg up on your energy and want to experience an even better one, you would need to buy a Vitamix to really make them 100 times better and blend up the greens until they are completely smooth. A normal blender does an ok job, but the Vitamix is powerful enough to pretty much vaporize the dark green veggies, and even root veggies (with a vitamix you could also add a whole carrot to this recipe, and leave all the stalks on the parsley and the kale, and it will still come out like a smoothie).

    Blending these veggies up raw is purported to increase the availability of nutrients because of the small particle size of the veggies (particularly in the Vitamix) and because it breaks most of the cell walls of the veggies down, yet leaves most of the nutrients that would be destroyed by cooking (like folic acid in the lettuce) intact.

    All I know is I feel great when I drink them, and after putting it off for 2 years, I just got a vitamix to use for this instead of my regular blender. I am very very pleased with how it works compared to my old blender. (Aa a matter of fact, I probably won’t be even using my normal blender now, even for other cooking tasks, now that I have the VitaMix.)

    But please, give the green shake a try with your existing blender at least. It sounds like your health issues go deeper than a simple vegetable shake, but I think you will find that they will help you.

    Good luck and I hope you feel better!

  36. I have been dealing with SAD since I was about 12, and it has less to do with Vitamin D than about getting enough light at the right intensity. I start using my light therapy lamp in September and use it for 30-60 minutes in the morning consistently, and it makes a HUGE difference.

    But honestly, it just sounds like Trent is running through a bunch of illnesses, and being sick makes me feel crummy too, but it’s not depression.

  37. Dear Trent, because of the awesome high quality of your posts (and that I don’t Twitter yet) I couldn’t tell you were ill until you mentioned it. You have been a great inspiration for your readers and this is yet another example of learning from your life and sharing those lessons with us. I sincerely wish you a speedy recovery. There are many good suggestions here in the comments as well as the ones you originally mentioned. Your kids and wife should be a big help- I know when my spouse starts in with his silly jokes, and my daughter is a punk, it’s impossible not to smile and feel grateful despite how we originally feel. I hope someone brings you some healthy homemade dinners, so you and your family can spend time together helping you recover. Hang in there.

  38. trent, thanks for this honest post. i lost my husband in september and have been fighting a bunch of little things since then. knowing it’s my immune system and doing something about it are two different things. but i liked your tips about getting up and keeping on, and will follow them.

    what i wanted to comment on is your reaction to Bactrim. i think that is a horrible drug, too widely used, and at least in my case i was never told what to watch for……i started it last year for a sinus infection and got sicker and sicker until i came to one day and realized i hadn’t eaten, voided, drank, or been aware of much for 4 days. i got the ambulance and was on i.v. for hours till they got me up and moving. i always thought an allergic reaction to antibiotics was high fever and hallucinations, which is what happens when i am given penicillin by someone who doesn’t read the alert. now i have to include all the sulpha drugs on my alert, not just bactrim.

    so i think you are very lucky to have made what progress you have.

    i hope your family brings you joy and the new year brings you much improved health.
    Sylvia

  39. Dear Trent,

    Start practicing “Pranayam” which is basically a old hindu technique for breathing.

    Baba Ramdev is a person who is spreading it to the whole world.

    I use to face the problem with Sinus. And now for last 3-4 years i havent faced it.

    It all about “Pranayam” and “Yoga”

    :)))

    Want you to be fine..since the first thing i expect in morning (here in India) is 2 blogs from your side :)))

  40. Hope you feel better. Your column is the first thing I read each am while drinking my coffee and getting ready for work. I believe in a good night rest , exercise ( my cheap therapy} , and laughter is what keeps my body in balance. I have also just started to meditate 15 mins a day and wow it really helps clear the mind of all things. I wish you all the best.
    peace out:)

  41. I truly hope you feel better, Trent. This blog has come to feel like an old friend, and I see that alot of people feel the same way. Uplifting is seeing so many people, all of us complete strangers with only this blog in common, offering ideas to keep one of our own feeling well. You have alot of people wishing you good health, you are very much appreciated, and I hope your body heals itself. Thanks for all you do.

  42. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Trent! Glad to hear you’re giving yourself a little bit of a break. You need and deserve that.

  43. As already mentioned here: yoga, yoga, yoga. It is not a cure-all, but certainly a good start. Maybe a massage would help too.

  44. Thanks for these suggestions. My family and I have been through so much in the last year. I’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disease and that’s really just the tip of an enormous iceburg. I really keep focused on the hope that things will get better. I really believe that they will.

  45. You certainly have plenty of well-wishes and suggestions for feeling better, but I do have one more! I know you have mentioned in passing that you have thyroid issues. My two cents would be to get your levels checked if it’s been a while. For me, after 20+ years on a steadily upward-trickling dosage, I have had to bump it up 50% in the last 2 months. And if you have been fighting a thyroid issue, however minor, you probably know how it can throw everything else in your system off-kilter! It’s so much easier to keep the rest of my body healthy when that part is properly balanced. :-)

  46. I’ll cross all my digits for a speedy recovery for you! There are lots of “virtual friends” for you out here, and we’re all pulling for you!

  47. This article has really struck a cord with me. You certainly have a much more positive attitude than most people out there, that’s for sure and the fact that you share it and have a positive impact on other people’s lives is admirable. This article is the epitome of that I believe.

    In any case, you mention that you have been focusing on a healthy diet in the last month. Would you mind sharing that in a forthcoming article or give others and myself pointers as to what you have in mind (other articles, books, etc.) as I am trying to do the same, but I am still failing quite badly.

    One other thing worth mentioning is when you have obstacles in you life is to do something that you love doing. Only positiveness can come out of doing something you love. Just my 2 cents.

    Thank you very much indeed.

  48. Talk about HOPE with a capital H O P E – I just finished the book Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Wow! I am so thankful for every little thing I have after reading her story of surviving the genocide in Rwanda.

    I had shoulder surgery 2 months ago and it’s been a long recovery, so I can relate to feeling down. After reading this book I thank God I have two arms!

    Take care

  49. Bactrim is the worst! I took it while pregnant last year and it gave me the most agonizing rash over every square inch of my (extremely large, pregnant) body. I felt like a hippo wallowing in poison ivy. I hope you feel better soon.

  50. This is a good post. Keeping going is a good move. Life puts all kinds of things in front of us but then it gets better. Hang in there.

  51. Hi Trent,

    Some of your health issues sound eerily familiar. Have you ever been tested for food allergies? I had a whole slew of ongoing problems, from sinus infections and migraines to joint pain and a lot of environmental allergies. Finally someone had me tested for food allergies, and I was almost off the charts with sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I’ve been a lot healthier since I eliminated those foods from my diet.

    Just something you might look into–it’s amazing (but not really surprising) how much our diets can throw our bodies out of whack and make us susceptible to a lot of bugs.

    Best wishes for your improved health!

  52. Trent, thanks for this post – my wife and I have been dealing with some similar issues and this helped keep things in focus. Hope you’re feeling much better very soon.

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