Life is hard and hard is relative.

Part of a normal (and healthy) human existence involves struggle but it can be challenging to navigate the hardship that we don’t pursue on purpose – the circumstances that are out of our control. I believe that things happen for a reason and that mindset, while beautiful in hindsight, can be difficult to embrace when in the midst of uncertain struggle.

The purpose of this blog is to share one of the best thought exercises that I’ve gone through and one that I often use with clients who are going through a challenging season of life. If you’re going through a tough time, I hope this helps and please know that I’m here for you (even if I don’t know you).


Connect The Dots

This exercise is based on the truth that each decision that we make changes the next – that time is just a string of “nows” where each moment impacts the next. The goal is to connect the hardest times of our lives to the best; to reflect on how even the most unwanted circumstances have contributed to some of the most meaningful ones. To get the most out of this exercise, it helps to keep an open mind and to sit down without distractions to get deep in reflection on our life path.

  1. Write out a list of the 5 most challenging circumstances that you’ve had to deal with.
  2. Place those struggles in chronological order on a piece of paper with space between each.
  3. Write out a list of the 5 best things that have ever happened to you.
  4. Place those great things in chronological on the same piece of paper mentioned above.
  5. Connect the hardest circumstances with best things that have ever happened to you.

It’s important to note that you won’t always be able to connect each experience and that sometimes we people go an entire lifetime without discovering the meaning behind hardships. However, even without tangible evidence, we can all choose to have faith that life is happening for. That’s the exact perspective that I choose to adopt and it’s the meaning behind my first tattoo (planted, not buried).


I hope that you’ll give this exercise a shot and if you’d like to see an example of how my lowest, low has lead to my highest, high you can read all about it here. Once again, if you’re struggling through a season of life marked by struggle, this is a chance for you to find strength and it stats with believing that it’s possible to grow through hardship. Remember, life is happening for you, not to you…

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.”

Christine Caine

Thank you for reading!

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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