Rock Bottom: A Solid Foundation

Good day, readers and writers. I want to start off this week with a note of encouragement to everyone who feels down on their luck. Namely, I want to discuss using rock bottom as a foundation for future success.

Now, you may be down on your luck without exactly hitting “rock bottom.” I know I have felt that way many times. You may also feel as though you’ve stooped that low only to realize later that you had farther to fall. After all, the definition and experience of rock bottom differs from person to person. I, fortunately, have yet to hit rock bottom myself.

Nevertheless, what I’m talking about today will be useful to anyone feeling down on their luck, whether it’s a feeling of hitting rock bottom or just wanting to give up the current path because it seems to be leading nowhere.

Within the last month I have reviewed J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives and Rich Marcello’s The Beauty of the Fall. While they belong to two distinctly different genres, they share an important lesson: don’t give up when things look bad.

Dan in The Beauty of the Fall loses everything that matters to him. When things start to look up, he either self-destructs or has the rug pulled out from under him again. Regardless, he doesn’t give up. With the help of loved ones, Dan forces himself to soldier on even when things appear their most bleak.

Similarly, Rowling explains how she did not give into the desire to end the struggle when she hit her all-time low. She had contemplated the worst but, due to the love she had for her daughter, she pulled through. More than that, she created one of the most well-known characters in literary history and now lives as a multi-millionaire author and a household name. As Rowling claims, she used rock bottom as the foundation on which she built her success.

That’s what everyone must do. When life seems to be throwing you its worst, you have to hit back with your best. Only then will you thrive.


I’m not saying that it’s easy. Far from it, actually. You most certainly can’t do it alone. Dan relies on his friends, colleagues, and therapists to make it through his darkest times. Rowling needed her daughter. Laying a foundation and constructing a building is rarely–probably never–a one-person job. Why should we expect to build a strong future from a rock bottom foundation without some help?

Many issues complicate this matter. Motivation, for one. Mental illness is another. (Although that subject is best reserved for another post.) Time, energy, obstacles thrown at us by outside forces, even our own stupid mistakes and self-sabotaging behavior. Regardless, with the help of loved ones and colleagues you can make a solid foundation out of your hard times.

Have any experience pulling out of rock bottom? Wish to share advice or stories with other readers? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

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