There is no person in this world who doesn’t experience a complete collapse in their life every once in a while.
My career path is still fresh, and yet I’ve seen up close the ruin of the most respectable corporations, breakups of the most stable relationships, collapse of markets, failed projects, career standstills, running in place in face of unimaginable efforts, mental and emotional cages, risks that didn’t pan out, and so on.
Every one of us has already experienced or seen something like that. Collapses as a form of severe failure and breakdown are a part of life, we can’t avoid them; especially not those of us who are truly living life, taking risks and constantly trying new things.
Usually a complete collapse happens in one life area only. It can be financially, in relationships with your intimate or business partner, in the area of health, career or in any other way. But it’s also true that the burden of one area soon transfers to other areas.
Because areas of life are strongly connected to one another. What usually happens is that when one area starts to collapse, other areas follow like dominoes. And you have to re-build your entire life. If nothing else, the increased level of stress significantly eats away at your health.
Collapses in life aren’t simple, of course. They are the most difficult tests of life. It’s when you have to show what you’re made of. A lot of people get visibly exhausted after collapses, and they sometimes even leave their life to fate giving up completely, which is not the best approach.
Only a handful of people bare their teeth to life. But is something you must do when you face a collapse in life. This is why it makes sense to make a more detailed overview of collapses in life and see how to face them and not give up. Because when we give up, life usually kicks us to an even darker place and that is not what we want.
If you want to face something, you first have to understand it. Only once you understand it can you change the perspective on an event, escape the emotional and mental cage and make an action plan for restoration.
Everything in life has a purpose, it’s just significantly more difficult to discover it at times. But the universe and nature are intelligent; in one way or another. At the end, you come out stronger from the collapse – as long as you don’t give into your fate, as mentioned.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; and life gives you tests that are only as difficult as your ability to overcome them is strong. In this blog post, you will learn why collapses in life happen and what you can do about them, and even more how you can rebuild afterwards.
Collapses in your personal life
A collapse could be defined as a sudden demolition of your life foundations. Something solid and stable used to exist, and now it’s suddenly gone. Something you’ve been building for years and years collapses practically over night.
It can be a ruined business, long-term relationship, acute critical health condition, financial bankruptcy, lost mental stability or collapse in any other area. When it comes to collapse, what usually happens is that you spend years and years building something, and then the thing unexpectedly collapses. Painful. Very painful.
But why collapses really happen? There are several reasons why collapse happens.
The first reason for collapse can be weak foundations. The higher you want to build a skyscraper, the more stable foundations you need. Considering you live in an impatient “fast food” society, building slowly is usually a burden.
You’d prefer to get rich over night rather than with years and years of effort that, for example, Warren Buffet invested into his knowledge of investing. You’d prefer to meet the perfect partner and let love take care of everything rather than invest the energy into making a partnership really work. You’d prefer to get an operation rather than build beauty on an internal smile and physical activity.
Today’s society enables you to succeed quickly with all the reality shows, access to global markets and other benefits of contemporary times. But it often happens that internally, you aren’t yet ready for a big success. That’s why collapse follows.
The external world is a mirror of the internal world. If fortune smiles at you but you aren’t ready for the external state (huge success) that was given to you, your decisions will ruin this fortune’s smile sooner or later.
In practice, this is seen in the fear of success, fear of failure, impatience, non-thoroughness, in everything that isn’t built as a consequence of long years of effort. Everything big that had been built and kept for at least some time, was the fruit of hard labor and sweat. That’s it.
The second reason for collapse could be called bad habits. You need to imagine life areas as a bank account. A partnership is a bank account, your health is a bank account, your startup is a bank account, your transaction account is a bank account.
If you give positive attention to something, the balance on the account grows. If you neglect something, you withdraw from the bank account. The more that you deposit on the bank account in a certain period, the more stable the relationship is. For example, if you’re in top physical shape you can neglect health longer than if you’re out of breath after ten stairs. It’s the same in all other areas.
But every bank account has its limits. When you go over the limit and don’t have liquid assets anymore, personal bankruptcy happens. Collapse. In other words, there is a certain balance on the account, but you keep withdrawing and withdrawing until you collapse (with one big wrong decision or several small ones).
Sometimes you deposit a euro or two, when life warns you that you’re close to the limit, but then you continue in the same old way. If the first reason of collapse includes you not raising strong enough foundations, here you can talk about building a skyscraper by following the path of least resistance, hoping that it will sort of build itself.
In health, the valid saying would be that you’re digging a hole with a spoon. The body holds out and holds out, but then collapses.
Living in a lie
Ignorance and living a lie are the next reason for collapse. They used to heal people by exorcising evil spirits out of them. Results hadn’t been all that successful.
Early on, humans realized that there is power in knowledge. If you want results, you have to understand that first. That’s why man invented science, which aims to explain the world and find solutions for everyday problems. But of course humanity is far from completely understanding life, probably only at around a few percent. Thus there are still many areas where you’re sort of living in ignorance or a lie.
In practice, this means that you actually start climbing the wrong skyscraper, which you only find out when you come to the top, the ladder slips and you fall to the floor. The wrong diet, wrong investments, the illusions of the perfect partner in the infatuation phase, and so on. The solution for this is simple, but incredibly hard.
You have to doubt everything that anyone ever said to you. Strongly doubt. You have to be critical to everything, then test on your own whether a certain thing fits you or not and evaluate where it’s leading in the long term.
In short, a purely scientific approach – constantly measuring, observing, analyzing and then changing (it’s the core principle of the AgileLeanLife approach). It pays out in the long term.
You know how many people lost their life savings because they believed in the dogma that the stock market will constantly grow; because a quasi-expert who’s a good salesman and got an excellent commission for his convincing said so. Meanwhile people who blindly believed lost their hard-earned life savings. Collapse.
Sudden change of the external environemnt
The fourth reason for a perfect collapse is a sudden change of the external environment. You have an influence on the speed and method of building the skyscraper, but there are thousands of external factors that you can’t influence. The problem arises when the environment changes faster than you’re able to detect and then adapt to.
And the external environment keeps changing; even more, the speed of these changes is getting faster. Only those who are able to adapt quickly will exist in the long term. Here, competences, self-criticism (or even better not lying to yourself) and constant growth play the main role.
A sudden change of environment is the most frequent reason for a collapse and also the most difficult test. You set solid foundations, diligently build a skyscraper, but then unexpected wind blows and collapses it.
In practice, this means that you work following a certain pattern, but the environment suddenly changes so much that this pattern doesn’t ensure success anymore. Even though this sounds incredibly simple, it’s extremely difficult to notice it in life.
The last, fifth, reason for collapse is evolution itself. The evolution’s motto is destroy in order to build and at the same time try as many new different variations as possible to randomly find the best ones. It's how life works.
If you want to create something new, the old needs to end. It was always like that and it always will be. Everything in life has its cycle, that is the beginning, ascent, climax, decline and end. It’s a part of life, that’s how life is designed.
But people are attached to other people, experiences, things, love, personal growth, their own lives etc., and attachment brings pain. This is also why any kind of collapse brings pain. A lot of pain.
As part of (r)evolution, collapses can also be significantly more unpleasant – wars, violence, deprivation, coercion, appearance of a competitor with disruptive technology etc. These things hurt that much more and they usually hurt masses of people.
But the good (new) doesn’t exist without the bad (destruction of the old); progress is hidden in the game of this duality. In life, the good and the bad, the new and the old will constantly mix. This is why collapses will always be necessary, the dynamics of transformation will always be needed.
If the concept of collapse ceased to exist, life would be perfect and then it would lose its sense as you know it today. If evolution weren’t necessary anymore, if more competition weren’t necessary, if more painful destruction weren’t necessary, then life in the form as you know it wouldn’t serve its function anymore. Then you would only exist, not live, improve and grow.
Evolution demands for you to face collapses. Life wants you to fight. For your own good or for the good of the entire society or for the good of life.
The purpose of a collapse is for you to become better in order to start anew, build even firmer foundations and fine-tune your character and to become the best version of yourself; and at the same time to raise yourself on the shoulders of giants and then gift your shoulders to your successors.
How to deal with collapses in life
The reason and purpose of collapse also hide the cure, of course. So let's explore how to deal with collapses in life and what you can get out of them.
You won’t live forever, everything can be taken from you, your actions aren’t eternal.
Everything that’s the fruit of your labor, your relationships, everything you identify with, everything that defines you, everything that makes you happy, your body, your soul, your ancestors and predecessors, everything you can touch, nothing is forever.
The concept of heaven, reincarnations and anything else is the result of humanity’s attempts to reach eternity that (probably) doesn’t exist. The solution thus lies in non-attachment. The benefit of a collapse is that you can free yourself; free your mental and emotional cages.
With collapses, you can free yourself from attachment to flesh, greedy inclinations, desire for more, attachment to a result, people around you, even though they’re your own blood, and so on.
Collapse allows you to become as free as a bird. You tame your mind and fly into the sky. It’s not about running away from life. It’s about putting the center back onto yourself and start building a new, even better life.
The new beginning
Collapse also gives you the opportunity for a new beginning. The start of something better. Not necessarily bigger, but still of a higher quality.
The experience is what makes you richer and gives you the power to build a masterpiece; a completely different one, it can be bigger or smaller, but still better for you; because it will reflect the strength of your spirit that much more, even though the new achievement might only be a small percentage of success as you knew it before the collapse.
You must show life that you know how to fight and don’t give in that easily.
Collapse as a warrning
Smaller collapses are also warnings. Life can sometimes kick you with the purpose of warning you to stop dreaming and idling about, and moving into action instead.
The closer you come to bankruptcy “on the account”, the more mini collapses life brings you; as warnings that you’re getting closer to a more serious collapse. That’s when life demands of you to change your behavioral patterns.
It’s time to start depositing on the current account. You should be grateful to life for such warnings and you should take them seriously. The longer you put it off, the more the monster grows, in the form of a more and more difficult collapse.
A push to face your fears
A collapse demands from you to face your deepest fears in life. They allow you to transform your subconscious fears into love and thus again – free yourself; because you don’t have attachments anymore.
Even though collapses are the most difficult life tests, they’re also the most precious ones.
In collapses, you can grow with lightning speed. You can learn more from a collapse than in centuries of leisurely life. This is why collapses simply have to exist and always will.
Love your enemies and love your collapses; take the best out of them, then free yourself. Your life isn’t a poster in an ad where everyone is smiling and happy because they’re diligent consumers. Your life is a fight and you should be a peaceful warrior fighting for the life you want.
I myself have already experienced several collapses and not the simplest ones. In the health area due to excessive work (burn-out) and later on because of eating wrong. In the financial area due to wrong investments. In the business one due to foundations that weren’t strong enough. In the romantic one when a stable relationship ended after 11 years.
It truly isn’t a pleasant feeling; you work towards something for years and years, and then everything suddenly collapses like a house of cards.
But you have two options: either you whine and feel sorry for yourself or you learn as much as possible from the situation, untangle yourself and move forward; that much stronger and richer for the experience.
Life brings both incredibly beautiful moments as well as serious tests where you have to show what you’re made of. It is sadly not possible to run away from a collapsing skyscraper.
Reform and reorganize, like in the emergency room
A collapse demands from you to act as if in an emergency room. You see where the critical wounds are, where the most damage had been done, you control these critical wounds and try to minimize damage.
Then you need a treatment plan and build on new foundations. Any procrastination, delay, whining or crying don’t lead to any results, the damage can only get bigger and bigger.
Collapse demands speed and efficiency from you.
After a collapse, a certain tenderness towards yourself is necessary. The process of overcoming a collapse is extremely demanding. So you shouldn’t be too strict on yourself, punish yourself or stress yourself out.
Considering that your self-confidence is hurt after a collapse, it’s important to set small goals that you know you’ll be able to achieve, and then slowly reward yourself for them. You have to be proud of your achievements and you shouldn’t be afraid of progressing slowly.
The only thing you need to be afraid of is stopping in the comfort zone, of mental cages that limit your potential and everything you could achieve in this life. Don’t freeze, don’t run away, understand, accept and then fight.
At the bottom line, that is the positive purpose of a collapse; it demands growth and development, path towards something new, all until you become (almost) perfect; but then you won’t have anything to do on this dear planet anymore.
Collapse in life will definitely make you a better person, if nothing else.
This is why you shouldn’t be afraid of collapses, but rather accept them as tools that can bring you closer to the best version of yourself and to a higher quality of life.
If nothing else, I guarantee you that after every collapse, you’ll be a lot more empathic and understanding towards yourself, other people and the world. You will become a better person in your heart. I wish you to successfully face collapses in your life! They may not be easy, but you can come out of them stronger and better.