That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

I had to opt for this aphorism today as it marks 42 years to the day that I remain above ground, but for the choice of some thug who had a gun jammed into the back of my skull, trigger cocked, ready to blow my brains all over my waterbed.

As a victim of violent crime, I can speak to the terror that comes with the knowledge that your option to stay alive is no longer in your hands, but instead, in the hands of someone who could care less.

Many of us have had life altering experiences. It may come in the form of an illness that almost overtook you, or an operation that goes wrong and for a brief second you are on your way to the next dimension, but your internal being returns to your mortal vessel. 

For others it is the end of a relationship or marriage, and for others it is a colossal failure in business, school, sports or other competitive arena. And for others, it is the death of a loved one.

Weathering some of the toughest circumstances you can face in life delivers us to a threshold. It is the doorway to the chamber of that which we cannot endure. We stand in that doorway, facing the incomprehensible, hoping that we might find any way of not passing through that proverbial doorway. In some cases, we have no choice, and others, perhaps we do. 

The value of coming to such a terrifying chapter in life is knowing that deep within, we have what it takes to survive. To not only survive, but to rebound far stronger than we were prior to the event transpiring. In the catharsis that takes place after such a trauma, we are faced with two choices: survive or die. In the choice to survive, we are ultimately going to have to reconcile ourselves to the events that brought us to such a moment in life. For me it was a year of post traumatic stress syndrome, waking up every night with horrific nightmares, screaming at full volume. Others find alternate solutions to get them through the pain, suffering and fatigue that arises out of a larger than life experience.

Life will either lift you up or destroy you. When it comes close to your own destruction, it is incumbent upon yourself to rise above those elements that were ready to take you out, and come back with EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT. Nothing short of that will suffice. The effort to ensure you thrive instead of die is that which empowers you to rise to a higher level. This has you even more prepared for when the next chapter of life opts for similar tough moments, and perhaps as a result of your previous empowerment, you will address those moments with greater ease and stronger resolve than you had at your disposal in the previous moment of stress.

Stay strong. You are going to need this in life.

Happy Friday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!