Life’s Crises Are Opportunities in Disguise!

There are times in my life when I feel swamped.  It feels like I’m hanging on to a thread of sanity while the world is imploding upon itself and I know that in part its my fault since I am reacting to things and not being proactive about decisions and my outlook.

I first learned about these Chinese characters in a book a few months ago.  The characters have a double meaning that translates roughly to “Crisis and Opportunity” or more figuratively that opportunity arises from crisis.  This has resounded in both my approach to my journey in seeking a healthy lifestyle (yes even as a personal trainer I am still walking the path and not at the final destination of a healthy lifestyle) and also in life.  I’ve had a whirlwind of a decade: from switching primary professions as a scientist in the field of immunology to co-founding Blitz Conditioning with Brettl I have had the privilege of being around new born babies juxtaposed with witnessing the loss of a child that was far too young to pass away.  I’m sure we all have similar stories, if anything more compelling than mine, so I think we can agree that life throws a lot of curve balls at us.

The one thing that resounds in my life is striving to become more Response-ABLE instead of being reactive.  Being Response-ABLE is this realization that our emotional output is truly controlled by  how we perceive a situation.  I have made this excuse and heard it from so many people as well: “I just don’t have the time for a workout!” or “I’m so drained from the work day that I can’t concentrate on what’s really important.”  Let’s take a step back from these statements and really analyse what’s going on.  A lot of times in life we choose to allow life to control us instead of controlling it.  We CHOOSE to fill our schedules with things that are immediate but not important, maybe it’s one too many parties, or too much time in the office and not enough time with loved ones. We CHOOSE to drop our emotional guard instead of ensuring that we stay true to ourselves in our interactions.  For the longest time, I CHOSE to wake up every morning feeling down about my choice in career until I CHOSE one day to make a change.

We are response-ABLE when we choose to be proactive mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We choose the emotional outcome by choosing what we get involved in and how we perceive the results.  Instead of saying to ourselves: “Oh look, I screwed up again” we realize that the sum of what we have achieved in life is greater than one instance and that the instance, whether good or bad, serves to enhance our lives.  Sometimes that means upsetting a few people in life and I’ve learned that ultimately that’s okay as long as that choice is at the benefit not only of myself but for my circle of influence.  I’ve been consistently asked this one questions in the past year:  “You seem crazy busy, how do you maintain all of this while still keeping a relatively healthy lifestyle and a relationship with friends and family?”  My response has always been that I choose what is a priority in my life.  Family, Friends, community and health are tops in my books. Although I’m flying around from meetings to training to hanging out to volunteering and all the while growing Blitz Conditioning and cross-mentoring other companies, I’ve kept in mind that I chose to do this so I’m at peace with all of this and more!

With that sense of inner peace, I also prioritize a few things:

1) Daily exercise:  Our Blitz Conditioning team has started a morning ritual at 7am.  We workout together.  We prioritize our health first and hold true to each other.  So five days a week, our team shows up and works out at this time.  We are actually opening this time up to you too!  So if you are in the Edmonton area and want to join a workout group at 7am send me an email.

2) Nutrition: NOT diets.  Proper eating is fundamental to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits are important, but also learn to indulge the palate within reason!

3) Relationships: I invest a lot of time in getting to know people and maintaining relationships with family, friends and our awesome team and community.  I make it a priority to be passionate about other people.  People walk into Blitz Conditioning and always note how close our whole team is and how much we are passionate about each other and our community.  If you start working out at Blitz Conditioning you’ll probably get to know our whole team and other Blitz members within the span of the week!  I’ve realized that quality, genuine, relationships with people are things that I cherish, and are vitally important to maintaining good health.

4) Emotional health:  I am one of the most emotionally open people you’ll meet.  I love talking about emotional health both others and mine because I think it’s a key point to a healthy lifestyle.  A response-ABLE emotionally healthy person takes in life’s circumstances and then analyses it and chooses the emotional output.  Yes I get frustrated and angry at times, but I know full well that I can choose to react this way or I can choose to find a solution.  The solution finding has become more of a priority now for myself.

So all these points and more have really allowed me to focus on this motto that I’ve adopted written in those awesome Chinese characters: opportunity arises from crisis.  I chose not to react in times of crises which in turn sidetracks everything from my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle to my emotional health.  I choose to be proactive, I know these times are coming, it’s life, and I set my lifestyle up in order to adapt to the circumstances like I outlined above.  In choosing to be response-ABLE I’m able to find some awesome opportunities within times of crisis to deepen relationships with others, reaffirm my calling, refine my lifestyle, or make changes and shift my personal views and goals!

Life is a journey that is meant to be taken one step at a time;  no matter what life’s circumstances are, we choose to place one foot in front of the other every day.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your comments below!

About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.


  1. This is a great post Chris. I agree, my greatest growth has happened through crises and the opportunities to rise up out of the ashes. It can be overwhelming and can test every ounce of our strength but when others share their experiences it can help motivate those struggling to make the choice to move on or be beaten. So thanks for sharing!

  2. Kasia Denham says:

    Such a great post Chris – it was exactly what I needed to read to give me a boost. My personal circumstances currently are difficult and I had already decided to put my self-care first and ‘refine my lifestyle’ as you so eloquently phrased it above. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Kasia! I’m always passionate about finding that little nugget in a situation that allows us to fully appreciate what we’ve been given and the opportunities that arise from them. I know things will go better for you and we’ll chat soon!

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