One of the things that seems to help people going through an emotionally charged experience like a job search is to start a prayer list. It’s so simple it’s almost stupid, but we have found over the years that people who do this seem to have an easier emotional and psychological experience in difficult and tough situations.
My sense is that, even aside from being a “believer,” offering up spiritual thoughts and prayers for other people, one of the most important things this practice does is to help all of us focus on people who are less fortunate than we are. There is such a tendency toward self-pity the longer a job search goes on and the more difficult it becomes. No matter what anyone says, the experience is lonely and often loaded with fear.
Most of us will have a tendency to wallow in our own misery…until we encounter someone or hear about someone who is much worse off than we are. How often have all of us rocking along in our lives with ordinary challenges and difficulties and then all of a sudden find out that either a close friend or an acquaintance has been diagnosed with cancer or experienced deaths in their family, of their spouse, child or parent or more profoundly, dies. Just last month one of our candidates who had also been a client of ours for a number of years had a heart attack and died at 53 years old. This kind of thing sobers us up really quickly and all of a sudden we put all kinds of things in perspective. We realize that all this craziness of life with its normal ups and downs aren’t anywhere near as difficult as we think.
So, one of the ways of being more proactive with humility in our own struggles is to start a prayer list. Every time you hear about someone who has had a challenge in their life, be it small or large, write their name down on a list. You don’t even have to tell him that you’ve done this. And every day or two look at the list and offer up the words or thoughts of, “God bless them.”
Having practiced prayer all my life, I’m very aware that it is still a “p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e.” I will never perfect it. And probably wouldn’t even know the perfection of it if I did. I will admit that it is still a mystery to me and, truthfully, sometimes admit to myself a little bit of doubt in its efficacy. But, I and others keep praying because we do believe that it helps others.
If you’re not a believer, that’s all right too, you can adopt Pascal’s theory, that even if you aren’t sure, if there’s a chance that belief in prayer works, it’s certainly worth doing. It costs you absolutely nothing and, if nothing else, helps you focus on other people. You may not have to be a believer in goodwill to offer others goodwill.
Lest we get too philosophical here, start a prayer list. Offer up some positive spiritual thoughts for other people. You’ll be amazed at how much of that kind of gift will come back to you.