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Bouncing Back in Tough Times  18.03.2009

Can you remember a time when you had your heart set on something and it just didn’t work out the way you wanted it to? You might have:

·       Asked someone out and they said ‘no’’

·       Missed a crucial goal scoring opportunity that cost you the game

·       Lost an important sale that you thought was a certainty

·       Watched someone else get promoted when you felt you were more deserving

·       Wanted to retire but the financial crisis adversely affected your retirement fund

Things don’t always go as planned do they? Life isn’t always fair and you may not deserve poor treatment and lacklustre results. To compound the situation we often know of someone that seems to have ‘all the luck.’  Aaarrrgh. As frustrating as it seems, often lots of good can come from bad situations.

Let’s take Michael Jordan as an example. Many people might think that Michael was so incredibly gifted that he would just cruise into any basketball team lucky enough to find him. Whilst in the tenth grade, Michael Jordan came to crushing realisation that he had not been selected for the high school basketball team. Feeling distraught all day, he want home in the afternoon and cried well into the night, such was the bitter disappointment at not being picked. From what seemed bad at the time, became a defining moment for Jordan. He became more determined than ever before to succeed as a basketball player. He was always the first at training for the Junior Varsity team and worked harder than ‘everyone else.’ He want on to succeeding on the international stage and becoming arguably, the greatest basketball player of all time.

The key for Jordan was in the way he looked at his disappointing result. Others might have given up and focussed on another area that they were far less passionate about. He focussed on what he could do to turn the situation around. He focussed on making the best of a bad situation and got to experience the career of his dreams.

So now we come to you. What has not turned out the way you hoped or expected it would? And the critical question is: What did you do about it?

I believe that "we are only ever a failure in life if we fail to try or we fail to learn."

Life is a series of decisions we make on a daily basis. We can choose to be disempowered, upset, frustrated and disheartened by a less than ideal result. Alternatively, we can rise above the situation by changing our perspective and focus.

I am due to speak in Singapore in May alongside a gentleman by the name of W Mitchell. He had some tough times a number of years ago; a motorcycle accident caused him to have 70-80% burns to his body. If that wasn’t bad enough, a plane crash caused him to have his legs and hands amputated. So there he is in hospital with the horrific news about what had happened to him. Many people, under similar circumstances, would feel terrible and live out their days with bitter disappointment, frustration and sadness. Not W Mitchell though. His perspective was not ‘poor me’ or ‘how unlucky am I?’ His viewpoint was: ‘Gees I’m lucky to be alive – those 2 accidents should have killed me. I am going to make the most of what I do have.’ He is now a best selling author, international speaker and an all round good guy who continues to inspire the world.

We have all heard the comment ‘there is a light at the end of the tunnel.’ I believe this to be true – but we need to actually look for it. To actually see that light in a dark and long tunnel, sometimes we need to take positive action and move forward even if it is difficult at the time. Wallowing in self-pity is one of the recipes cooked up by underachievers everywhere.

It is natural to feel down when things don't go right, but it is a choice to stay down for any length of time. Bad things happen and its what we do about it that makes all the difference. Michael Jordan later realised that not making the high school basketball team was one of the best things that could have happened to him - it increased his desire and focus to be the best. Phil Kearns, who played 67 test matches for Australia in Rugby, failed to make the top team whilst at high school. This spurred him on to show the first's coach that he was far better than that.

I wish you well in making the best of  a bad situation. As W Mitchell says: 'its not what happens to you that makes the difference, its what you do about it.'


When something goes wrong, what do you choose to focus on?

Despite the difficulties you face, the challenges you encounter and the worries you experience one thing remains true…..you have a choice: You get to choose what you think and what you do on a daily basis, ultimately affecting how you feel. No matter what happens we all get the opportunity to make better choices. We therefore shape our future by the decisions we make each and every day.


Remember: “There is power in the moment if there is hope for the future.”


May your choices create a future that brings you all the joy and happiness that you deserve. Have a great day!


“Search your heart, open your mind, live the dream.”

Blake Beattie


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