How to Win When Everything Seems Lost

Neil StraussNeil

This article was written by my team of Stylelife coaches at and I thought it would resonate with a lot of you as well. Enjoy…

During the weeks of January and the Stylelife Challenge we received a lot of emails from guys who were having a really hard time: they went through ugly break-ups, lost their jobs, ran into serious health problems, you name it. All reasons they thought that prevented them from moving forward with their lives. That made us think: how can you win when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place … and we took a long look at our students, us and the rest of the world.

Successful men who have seriously transformed their lives often have one thing in common: They’ve hit rock bottom and hit it hard. Hitting bottom is hard, but the good news is that if you view it properly, it can be the beginning of a new life — the life that you’ve always wanted. Indeed, rock bottom can be one of the most powerful experiences a man can have.


When you hit rock bottom you have nothing left to lose. This makes it the perfect time to remake yourself into whatever you want. There are many ways a man can hit rock bottom. It might be that you’ve lost your job or maxed out your credit and gone bankrupt. Maybe you’ve just gotten out of a bad relationship, and you’re now in a very tense living situation with your ex. If you’ve run into trouble with drugs and alcohol, you wouldn’t be the first.

The places that bring you to rock bottom can be very painful. To the man of wisdom, no experience is regrettable, however. Everything that happens to us gets us where we are. You can choose to be defeated by them, or you can choose to turn bad, even terrible, experiences into the catalyst for a new life.

Many people have hit bottom at one point in their lives, but they’re not sure where to go from there. While there’s no cut-and-paste guide that works for everyone, we came up with a guide for men who have hit bottom and want to turn things around.

Step One: Facing the Music

Before you can move anywhere, you have to understand and accept your situation. It’s all too tempting to try and blame other people and external factors for where we have fallen in life. Don’t. It’s the easiest way to short-circuit your new future. Accepting your situation is the first step on the path toward your new life. It’s not about beating yourself up: It’s about figuring out what in your life needs to change, what is within your power to change. This might sound scary at first, but in fact it can be very liberating. Rather than looking to other people to save you, acknowledge where you are in your life and that you are the only one in control of your own destiny, your own happiness. It’s not only about acknowledging things to yourself but also about making things right where it’s possible to do so. It’s difficult, to be sure. But it’s a great way to start moving your life in the right direction.

Not only is the difficult work of making amends a break with your past, it’s a break that starts to set your relationships right. While people you have wronged in the past might be reticent to give you another chance, making amends moves things towards that. It also helps you on your quest to become whole again. Remember the old adage that a good deed is its own reward: Accepting your situation and actively changing it acts as fuel for continued transformation. Even if nothing comes of it externally, you can rest well at night knowing that you’re doing the right thing.

Finally, a way to make sure that you keep moving in the right direction is to have someone whose job it is to mentor you and hold you accountable.

Step Two: Start Imaging Your New Life

Here comes the fun part: You get to start thinking about where you want to be. Here’s how you do it.

1. Get Some Peace and Quiet: Find a place where you can sit, undisturbed, for an hour or more. Shut off your phone and eliminate all distractions possible.

2. Center Yourself: Get some internal peace as well as external. Spend five or ten minutes sitting silently, breathing deeply, without thinking about anything.

3. Start Visualizing: What does your perfect life look like? What do you really want to get out of life? Don’t pull punches here: Dream like you mean it.

4. Look Under the Surface: Say that you decide you want to be a millionaire. Why? What does the money represent to you? What do you want to get out of it? Money is an excellent example of how when people want something, they often don’t want that thing, but rather what it represents or what it can get them. Pick your dreams apart and see what lies underneath.

5. Write It Down: Writing it down is great because it allows you to make final tweaks. It also stands as a record of where you were and where you want to be. You can look at it every day and see what you want to get out of life. It will serve as a reminder and encouragement on your path.

6. Set Goals: Dreams are one thing, but you need to move toward them in the real world. Come up with SMART goals — that is goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

7. Follow Through: Start moving toward your goals on a day-by-day basis.

But then how do you stay motivated? How do you stay on that path?

Step Three: Reward Yourself

Moving towards goals can be very rewarding in and of itself. However, even more rewarding than that are… rewards.

It can be something small like going out and getting a drink at the bar or something bit like spending money out of a special account set up just for this purpose. The point is that treating yourself when you make measurable strides toward your goals is a great way to keep yourself on the path.